Plant trialing and marketing assistance programs have become popular in recent years with several state and some regional programs emerging. Successful implementation requires considerable labor, facilities, and monetary resources for evaluation of large numbers of taxa over several years to ensure that plants are well adapted to the region of interest. Research and development funds, dedicated facilities, and cooperator commitment to trialing programs can be limiting during the early years of the programs. Involvement in plant trialing programs allows students to be exposed to plot layout planning, statistical design, plant maintenance, data collection and analysis, and professional communication of trial results. Construction of facilities for conducting plant trials, growing plants for use in trials, trial installation, and maintenance of plants all provide practical hands-on horticultural training. Replicated plant trials provide the latest information on regionally adapted taxa for inclusion in classroom instruction and publications. Plant trialing programs benefit from labor assistance, development of dedicated facilities, and the opportunity to share equipment and supplies among teaching, trialing, and student research projects.
Michael A. Arnold, R. Daniel Lineberger, Tim D. Davis, Steven W. George, Wayne A. Mackay, Greg D. Grant, Jerry M. Parsons, and Larry A. Stein
Neil O. Anderson
A case study is presented for use as an active learning tool for students in a floriculture potted plant production class. This is the second case study developed for Floratech, a potted plant finisher. Students work together in small groups to solve the proposed problems; each student role-plays as a Potted Plant Production Specialist. A memorandum from the Board of Directors is delivered in their first month on the job at Floratech. Objectives of this case study are to determine the students' fluency in terminology and crop-specific cultural requirements for potted plant production of cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum) and primrose (Primula sp.) as well as their ability to setup a scientifically rigorous and unbiased cultivar trial for Floratech personnel and selected customers. Students research the latest commercial catalogs to determine which species, series, and cultivars are available, as well as their relative merits, prior to choosing the appropriate cultivars to include in the trial. The trial setup has a space limitation of 2,000 ft2 (186 m2). This case study was tested with 20 undergraduate students during Fall Semester 1999. The case study demonstrated the students' fluency with terminology and crop-specific cultural requirements for both crops. Their ability to set up a scientifically rigorous trial varied widely, often with an inadequate sampling of cultivars and excessive replications (56 ± 37 cyclamen to 132 ± 65 primrose). A mean ± sd of 4 ± 1 cyclamen and 7 ± 3 primrose series were chosen. The number of cultivars varied from 6 ± 2 cyclamen to 9 ± 4 primrose and the number of distributors was similar for the crops. Trial design and additional questions raised by the case study were discussed in class and applied in a cultivar trial in the lab. Unanswered questions were used as learning opportunities during class tours with local growers.
Neil O. Anderson
This paper presents a case study for use as an active learning tool with students in a floriculture potted plant production class. Students work together in small groups (three to four) to pose answers to a dilemma. With this case study, students quickly learn the names of their colleagues and work together outside-of-class to solve the assignment. Each student role-plays being hired on as a new potted plant production specialist. A memorandum from the Board of Directors is delivered on their first day of work at Floratech, a company specializing in potted plants. Floratech is a finisher company, purchasing plugs (vegetative or seed-propagated crops) from plug producers and rooting stations, and selling their final products to both wholesale and retail markets. Objectives of this case study are to determine 1) the students' fluency in terminology for potted plant production, 2) ideal production time/labor inputs for the Floratech potted crops, and 3) limiting factor(s) preventing each crop from reaching this goal. As the students progress through the course material, they refer to the memorandum for clarification of unknown terms. Unresolved questions are raised during the semester (in the classroom and during laboratory tours) to other players interacting in the memorandum, i.e., Floratech staff (growers, sales people, management), its suppliers (rooting stations, plug producers, distributors, breeders, producers, operations, quality control), and customers (wholesale, retail). This case study was tested with undergraduate students enrolled in HORT 4051, Floriculture Production and Management I (Potted Plants) at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, during Fall Semester 1999.
Elsa Sánchez and Richard Craig
course gained knowledge about plant families and were exposed to different teaching styles and methods. Benefits to the student instructors, as determined through the survey, included increased knowledge of plant families, new perspectives on teaching
Neil O. Anderson
The increasing number of crops being grown for the floriculture market has frustrated educators faced with limited classroom and laboratory time. Time constraints necessitate selection of crops to serve as examples of floral induction treatment(s) and provide an accurate scope of production requirements for all cultivated species. Since flowers are the primary reason for purchasing most floricultural products—with the notable exception of cut and potted foliage—the various treatments required for flower bud initiation and development were used to categorize potted plants. New and old crops (>70 species) are categorized for flower bud initiation and development requirements, including photoperiod (short, long day, day neutral; facultative/obligate responses), vernalization, temperature, autonomous, rest period, and dormancy. Crop-specific temperature, irradiance, and photoperiod interactions are noted, as well as temperature × photoperiod interactions. A course syllabus can be modified to ensure that at least one crop from each category is presented to serve as a model. It is recommended that the class focuses on example crop(s) from each floral induction category and then reviews other crops within each category for differences or similarities. This method allows coverage of floral induction categories without leaving information gaps in the students' understanding. This method was used with students in the Fall 1999, floriculture production class (Hort 4051) at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul.
Marci Spaw, Kimberly A. Williams, Laurie Hodges, Ellen T. Paparozzi, and Ingrid L. Mallberg
This universally accessible, Web-based decision case presents the challenge of determining the cause of foliar chlorosis in a crop of dicentra (Dicentra spectabilis) being forced as a cut flower for Valentine's Day sales. The case study serves as a tool to promote the development of diagnostic skills for production dilemmas, including nutritional disorders, disease problems, and evaluation of the appropriateness of cultural practices. Cut dicentra is a minor crop and standard production practices are not well established. Solving this case requires that students research production protocol, as well as nutritional and pest problems, and determine whether they have enough information to recommend a solution. In this case study, a grower at Flint's Flower Farm must determine the cause of foliar chlorosis that is slowly appearing on about half the plants of her cut dicentra crop. The condition could be related to a number of possible problems, including a nutritional disorder, disease infection, or production practices. Resources are provided to aid students in gathering background information. Data accumulated by the grower are presented to allow students to eliminate unlikely solutions logically. The solution, which is unique to this crop, is provided along with detailed objectives and discussion points in teaching notes. This case study is complex in nature and is intended for use with advanced students in upper-level undergraduate courses of floriculture production, nutrient management, and plant pathology who have been previously exposed to the diagnostic process.
Marci Spaw and Kimberly A. Williams
This decision case presents the issues a grower would face when deciding where to place and how to orient a high tunnel structure on a specific farm site. It provides a tool to teach site planning concepts on a small scale that are easily transferable to issues addressed when planning for construction of all sizes and types of protected-environment structures. In this case, the owner of Full Moon Farm must decide the placement of her high tunnels on a given farm site. Factors to consider include wind, snow, and ice loads as well as structural integrity, labor efficiency, and optimizing light levels. Ultimately, no one solution meets all recommended criteria, so the grower must prioritize the importance of various factors to come to a decision. This case study is intended for use in upper-level undergraduate horticulture courses, and although the principles are broadly applicable to site planning across geographic regions, it is most appropriate for climates above lat. 35°N. In particular, it may prove useful in courses such as greenhouse management and production courses for vegetables, cut flowers, and small fruits, where students assume the role of grower/farmer in the site planning process. This case study is supported by a website version with digital images, digital video, and maps that can be used both inside and outside of the classroom; all are downloadable from the website http://www.hightunnels.org/planningcasestudy.htm. The teaching notes present an unorthodox solution to the Full Moon Farm site planning dilemma.
Lauren C. Garner
Undergraduate students enrolled in the introductory pomology course at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA, from 2007 to 2010, participated in a service-learning project. Students helped the community organization, the California Rare Fruit Growers (CRFG), teach grafting skills to San Louis Obispo County high school students and community members. At the end of each quarter, pomology students completed evaluations of their experience. Results of these evaluations were used to improve teaching methodology and the experience in which the students participated. Self-reported and instructor evaluations of the service-learning project demonstrated that students increased their grafting knowledge and skills, their confidence in learning new skills, and their interest in fruit science and community involvement. The service-learning project enabled students to meet course learning objectives of understanding and becoming experienced in horticultural techniques, such as grafting, and to meet university learning objectives of developing critical thinking and communication skills and increasing community involvement.
Allan M. Armitage
A teaching methodology was employed to use gardeners in the community to help in the teaching of a Herbaceous Perennial Plant Identification class (8 weeks, about 160 taxa). Most universities do not have a diverse collection of herbaceous perennials planted on campus, nor do most campuses have horticultural or botanical gardens for students. Teaching plant materials with photos alone or trying to force materials in the greenhouse is not only a horticultural challenge but seldom provides students with the important identification characteristics (habit, fragrance, fruit) of the taxon. Approximately six gardeners in the community agreed to open their private gardens to the students. Plants are evaluated 2 days before class time, and a list of plants is published on WebCT each week All gardens chosen must be within 15 minutes driving time from campus. Students were able to drive to the gardens, meet the gardeners and were exposed to the plants in garden setting. Potential problems of being unable to drive to gardens, or not being able to return to the gardens to study were not realized. Gardeners embraced the program and students were enriched by studying plants in a natural garden environment. The final examination is conducted in one of the gardens visited by the class. The use of gardeners in the community has been an important part of the class for 10 years.
Alex X. Niemiera and Carol E. Leda
A survey to determine teaching methodologies for plant material courses was conducted. A total of 120 surveys was sent to horticulture programs at U.S. universities and colleges. Thirty-nine, 22, and 8 respondents taught a woody plant (W), a herbaceous perennial (HP)/annual (A) course, and a foliage plant course, respectively; 21 respondents taught a combination of theses courses. The following similarities were noted for W and HP/A: 1) about 190 species per Semester were presented usually in a taxonomic order using slides as the primary teaching medium for lecture, 2) the most common student complaint was too much work and memorization, 3) the most common student compliment was the practical and useful nature of the subject matter, 4) in order of importance, plant identification, landscape value, and plant cultural aspects were emphasized. For W and HP/A, 93% and 65% of plants, respectively, were presented as landscape and arboreta specimens. Seventy percent of W courses used Dirr's Manual of Woody Landscape Plants; 58% and 10% of HP/A courses used Still's Manual of Herbaceous Ornamental Plants and Taylor's Guides, respectively.