Overview of the Horticultural Science Department at NC State University

Pickling Cucumber Improvement Committee Meeting Abstract

Thomas J. Monaco

Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University

I would also like to welcome you to the 2001 Spring Pickle Packers meeting, hosted by NC State University, and give you a little overview of horticulture at NC State University. The Department of Horticultural Science has a large research and extension group working on cucumber, including weed control, postharvest physiology, low input/sustainable, crop production, and breeding and genetics.

Overview. The mission of the Department of Horticultural Science is to provide innovative teaching, research, and outreach in the art and science of horticulture. These programs encompass the basic biology, ecology, production, and utilization of horticultural products, including fruits, vegetables, flowers, and landscape plants. The major goal of the department is to meet the ever-changing challenges of a highly competitive and technological world through constant evaluation and adjustment of its programs and positions. The Department of Horticultural Science serves the people of the state, country and world within the concept of the Land Grant mission upon which NC State University was founded.

Faculty. There are 52 faculty and 61 staff in the department, making it one of the largest horticulture departments in the U.S.

Grad students and postdocs. We have 41 graduate students and about 10 postdoctoral research associates/visiting scientists in the department. They greatly increase the research ability of our faculty and, when they finish, will be sent out to industry, government and university positions in the U.S. and other countries to provide horticultural expertise.

Facilities. We make use of the offices, laboratories, classrooms, and greenhouses of Kilgore Hall, as well as greenhouses at Method Road, the Horticultural Field Laboratory on Beryl Road, and 16 experiment stations throughout the state.

Cucumber production. Jonathan Schultheis provides research and extension information to the industry on optimum production methods for the crop, which is one of the largest in the U.S., according to the USDA Production Statistics.

Cucumber extension. Extension bulletins and leaflets have been developed by faculty in the department for growers, field reps, processors, buyers, and others to use in managing the crop.

Cucumber physiology. Carbon metabolism and post-harvest physiology are some of the areas of research in the Department of Horticultural Science that have expanded our knowledge of cucumber and helped solve problems of fruit storage life and keeping ability.

Cucumber weeds. The department has a research and extension program on cucumber weed control which includes the IR-4 program.

Cucumber breeding. NC State University has the only university cucumber breeding program in the U.S. Its objectives are to provide improved germplasm, research information, and trained plant breeders for the four private breeding programs in the country. Those breeding programs (Harris-Moran, Seminis Vegetable Seeds, Sunseeds, and United Genetics) are the source of seeds for the industry.

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