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Digging Deeper with Backyard Farmer| UNL Horticulture Research


>>Kim: WELCOME TO “DIGGING DEEPER” WITH “BACKYARD FARMER.” I’M YOUR HOST KIM TODD ORNDOFF WEAPON IN-DEPTH DISCUSSIONS WITH EXPERT ABOUT IMPORTANT LANDSCAPE TOPICS. TONIGHT WE’RE GOING TO BE DISCUSSING HORTICULTURE AT UNL. * THE UNIVERSITY IS OFTEN IN THE HOT SEAT WHEN IT COMES TO ANSWERING QUESTIONS ABOUT RESEARCH. WHO’S DOING WHAT AND WHAT YOU TRYING GET OUT OF IT, WHAT IS REALLY THE VALUE OF THAT RESEARCH AND LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T UNDERSTAND THAT. SAM AND ROHANNA ARE GOING TO BE TALKING ABOUT JUST EXACTLY WHAT IS GOING ON FOR RESEARCH IN AGRONOMY AND HORT. TAKE IT AWAY.>>SURE. I CAN KIND OF SET THE STAGE AND I’LL LET ROHANNA TALK ABOUT HER RESEARCH. MY RESEARCH PROGRAM IS ON SUSTAINABLE HORTICULTURE. WE FOCUS ON URBAN ENVIRONMENTS AS WELL AS COMMERCIAL RURAL PRODUCTION SYSTEMS. LARGELY ON SPECIALTY CRAFTS. LARGELY VEGETABLES AND HOPS. I’M PARTICULARLY INTERESTED IN BIOBASED APPROACHES TO CROP MANAGEMENT. COMING UP WITH WAYS TO REUSE AGRICULTURAL BY-PRODUCTS, FOR EXAMPLE. TO CREATE KIND OF INNOVATIVE APPROACHES TO MANAGING WEEDS AND NITROGEN ALL WITH THE GOALS TO ADDRESS GRAND CHALLENGES THAT WE HEAR ABOUT NITRATE POLLUTION IN GROUND WATER. WE TRY TO USE CORN GLUTEN MILL, SOYBEAN MILL, TO TRY TO REPLACE SOME OF OUR NITROGEN FERTILIZER AND CONTROL WEEDS AT THE SAME TIME. THAT’S ONE EXAMPLE SOME OF THE RESEARCH THAT WE DO. ANOTHER APPROACH THAT WE USE TO REDUCE INPUTS AND ADDRESS THINGS LIKE NITRATE POLLUTION IS FOOD AND RESEARCH ON TOMATO DRAFTED. WE STARTED A PROJECT ABOUT THREE YEARS AGO WHEN ROHANNA WAS RESEARCH ASSISTANT. SHE CAME FROM FRUIT TREES. SHE WAS WORKING STARTED WORKING IN VEGETABLE CROPS. SHE SAID HOW AM I GOING IT TAKE MY KNOWLEDGE OF TRUITT TREES — FRUIT TREES AND MAKE IT WORK.>>Kim: TOMATOES ARE NOT — THEY ARE A FRUIT. THAT’S PERFECT.>>SHE STARTED THIS PROJECT AND SHE GOT A JOB BECAUSE SHE WAS GREAT. ROHANNA PICKED UP THE PROJECT FROM THERE.>>WELL, I START WORKING WITH DRAFTING TOMATO WHEN I WAS UNDERGRAD. FROM THERE I WAS LIKE I NEEDED A SUMMER JOB. SINCE THEN I JUST KIND OF LOVE IT. I GUESS LIKE IT’S KIND OF INTERESTING ON HOW GRAFTING CAN HELPS YOU THROUGH INCREASING YIELD AND REDUCE WHAT SAM TOLD YOU JUST NOW LIKE NITRATE. WE HAVE LIKE THREE DIFFERENT LOCATIONS. WE HAVE ONE ON EACH CAMPUS MY SIGN HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR TWO YEARS. MY FOCUS IS ON NUTRIENT UPTICKS. I KNOW — WE CAN HAVE MORE YIELD WITH GRAFTED TOMATOES. WE CAN DEFINITELY TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NON-GRAFTED YIELD AND GRAFTED TOMATO YIELD.>>Kim: WE THINK OF TOMATOES AS WEEDS ANYWAYS. SORT OF MAKE SENSE. YOU HAVE A PILE OF TOMATOES SITTING HERE. PUT THOSE ON YOUR LAP AND TALK ABOUT THEM.>>WE HARVEST THEM THIS MORNING. RIGHT HERE, I HAVE 589. THIS IS FROM THE GRAFTED ONE. I HAVE HEIRLOOM VARIETY. I THINK THIS ONE I’M NOT REALLY SURE. WE MIX IT UP. HEIRLOOM, WE DID GRAFT THEM — THERE’S NON-GRAFTED TOO. I’M NOT SURE WHICH ONE IS WHICH. YOU CAN TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THESE TWO. THIS IS LIKE THE RIPEST VERSION OF IT. IT’S NOT GOING TO TURN RED. IT’S GOING TO BE YELLOW. LOT OF PEOPLE PRODUCE IT. FOR EXAMPLE, YOU DID A FIELD STUDY, HE PRODUCED SOME 5 AT 39. IT’S LIKE A VERY HIGH YIELD HYBRID OF TOMATOES.>>Kim: IS IT WORTH IT? GRAFTED TOMATOES WERE ALL THE RAGE 5 OR 10 YEARS AGO. PEOPLE WERE PAYING 10 OR $20 FOR A SINGLE GRAFTED TOMATO PLANT. IS IT WORTH IT?>>YEAH. I WILL PUT HER ON THE HOT SEAT AND SHE WHAT SHE THINKS.>>I WOULD SAY IF YOU HAVE LIKE A LOW — GRAFTED TOMATOES WILL BE THE BEST OPTION. WE SEE DIFFERENT YIELD AND YES, I NEVER SAW TOMATO BEFORE, BUT DEFINITELY WORTH IT TO SPEND MONEY ON GRAFTED COMPARE TO BUYING LIKE A NORMAL TOMATO. IF YOU WANT TO EXPERIMENT ON LIKE DIFFERENT VARIETIES FOR EXAMPLE YOU WANT THIS VARIETY, YOU KNOW FOR SURE, IT’S NOT GOING TO SURVIVE.>>Kim: YOU THINK THAT MAKES MORE SENSE THAN JUST CHANGING THE SOIL FERTILITY?>>WE’VE DONE THAT. THE BIG PICTURE IS KIND OF — SHE’S GOT A HIGH FERTILITY TREATMENT AND LOW FERTILITY TREATMENT. BOTH CASES THE GRAFTED TOMATOES ARE GENERALLY DOING WELL. THE PROBLEM THAT WE SEE IN THE EAST, WE GET THESE MASSIVE VEGETATIVE PLANTS. MOST HOME GARDENERS KNOW YOU GET TOO MUCH NITROGEN IN FOOD AND CROP, YOU GET THOSE OVERLY VEGETABLE TAKE, — VEGETATIVE PLANTS UP. GET THESE BEAUTIFUL TALL PLANTS AND THERE’S NOT A LOT OF FLOWERS HAPPENING.>>Kim: WE HAD LOT OF QUESTIONS ON “BACKYARD FARMER” THIS YEAR ABOUT THAT. PEOPLE ARE SAYING, WHERE IS THE FRUIT? ALL THAT WATER WITH ALL THAT FERTILITY. SAM, YOU MENTIONED KIND OF AROUND THE EDGES LOT OF YOUR OTHER RESEARCH. TALK LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THAT?>>WE’RE WRAPPING UP ANOTHER PROJECT THAT — WE DID A “BACKYARD FARMER” SEGMENT LAST YEAR ON BIODEGRADABLE MULCHES. FINISHING UP THAT PROJECT. THAT’S BEEN A LOT OF FUN. THAT PROJECT WE WENT EXPLORING THE DEGRADATION OF BIOMULCH IN SOIL IN TWO-YEAR PERIOD. IT’S AN ALTERNATIVE TO PLASTIC FILMS. YOU MAY THINK LIKE A LANDSCAPE FABRIC FOR WEED CONTROL. WHEREAS, HOME GARDENER MIGHT USE LANDSCAPE FABRIC. WE RIGHT TO COME UP WITH ALTERNATIVES ON HOME GARDEN SCALE THAT IS 100% BIOBASED. DERIVED FROM ORGANIC MATERIALS AND 100% BIODEGRADABLE IN SOIL. THERE’S A LEGAL DEFINITION FOR BIODEGRADABLABILITY THERE’S INTERNATIONAL STANDARD. IT’S MORE CHALLENGING THAN IT SOUNDS LIKE. ESPECIALLY IF IT’S 100% BIOBASE AND IT ACTUALLY GOING TO BE FUNCTIONAL FOR THE FIRST GROWING SEASON. WE WERE LOOKING AT KIND OF ASSESSING TRADE-OFFS BETWEEN THE FUNCTIONALITY AND OTHER THINGS WE CAN DO TO GET IT GRADE FASTER ONCE WE INCORPORATE IT IN THE SOIL. BY DOING THINGS THAT LOT OF PEOPLE DO ANYWAY, THINGS TO ENHANCE SOIL FERTILITY THAT ENHANCES MICROABLE ACTIVITY TO GET THE MICROBES BE MORE ACTIVE SO WE CAN MEET THAT DEFINITION OF BIODEGRADABILITY. GENERALLY PEOPLE DON’T WANT THAT TRASH TO ACCUMULATE IN THEIR SOIL. WE KIND OF WRAPPING THAT UP AND FINDING IT’S PRETTY TOUGH TO MANAGE YOUR WAY OUT OF RESIDUE ISSUE. IT’S REALLY DRIVEN BY YOUR LOCATION, THE HABITAT THAT YOU HAVE FOR MICROBES AND JUST THE TYPE OF MULCH THAT YOU PUT IN THE SOIL. WE SEE HUGE DIFFERENCES IN THE TYPE OF MULCH. THERE’S OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH ENGINEERING TO CHANGE THE TYPE OF MULCH AND WE’VE GOT SOME COLLABORATIONS WHERE WE’RE DOING THAT TO TRY TO CHANGE THE COMPOSITION OF MULCHES WITHOUT SACRIFICING FUNCTION. BUT, IT’S PRETTY TOUGH TO MANAGE YOURWAYOUR WAY OUT OF THESE ISSUES.>>Kim: PEOPLE ARE RIGHT NOW, AS A MATTER OF FACT, THANK GOD I NEED THE MULCH FOR THE WINTER OR BECAUSE OF THE WEED COVER OR JUST BECAUSE STUDENTS ARE BACK ON CAMPUS, WE DON’T WANT YOU WALKING THROUGH THE MUD. YOU’RE NOT REALLY TALKING ABOUT MULCH THAT IS SITTING EVERY THERE IN THE CHIP PILE RIGHT?>>RIGHT. YEAH. WHICH DEFINITELY HAS A PLACE AND TIME FOR SURE. THESE ARE MORE COMMERCIAL PRODUCTS THAT ARE TYPICALLY ON A ROLL. THEY ARE THE MOST COMMON BIODEGRADABLE MULCHES. THEY LIKE CARD STOCK LIKE A THICK PAPER. WHAT WE WORK WITH IS A POLYLACTIC BASE. LIKE A 3D PRINTER, THAT’S THE SOMETIME TYPE OFLY T TYPE OF POLYMER THEY USE FOR THAT. IT’S BIODEGRADABLE.>>Kim: IT IS WHAT IT IS. WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT ALL OF YOU WHO ARE WATCHING US ON FACEBOOK GIVE US A THUMBS UP, THUMBS DOWN. WE WANT YOUR COMMENTS BECAUSE “DIGGING DEEPER” IS A LOT OF FUN FOR US. WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE GIVING YOU THE INFORMATION THAT YOU NEED. ROHANNA, SAM MENTIONED MULCH. WE’RE WEARING RED. ONE OF THE THINGS IN THE GARDEN CENTERS AND MAGAZINES YOU’LL SEE RED MULCH. RED PLASTIC MULCH FOR TOMATOES. HAVE YOU EVER WORKED WITH THAT OR IS THAT — IT SUPPOSED TO HELP RIPEN. ANY IDEAS ON THAT ONE?>>WELL, I NEVER GOT CHANCE TO WORK TO RED MULCH. I WILL BE INTERESTED TO. IN THE FUTURE.>>WE TEACH A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT IN SOME OF OUR CLASSES ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE. WHAT’S INTERESTING ABOUT THE DIFFERENT COLORS OF MULCHES IT’S INTERACTION WITH INSECTS. THERE’S NOT A LOT OF RESEARCH ON YELLOW, BLUE AND RED MULCHES IN TERMS OF REFLECTS AND FAR RED LIGHT AND PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECTS IT HAS ON THE PLANTS. WE HAVEN’T GOTTEN IN THE COLORS. WITH THE COLOR MULCHES IS ABOUT WEED SUPPRESSION. WE PLAYED WITH WHITE AND CLEAR MULCHES AND CHANGED SOIL TEMPERATURE BUT THEY TRANSMIT LIGHT.>>Kim: HOMEOWNERS, OF COURSE, LOT OF OUR AUDIENCE REALLY, THEY’RE INTERESTED IF GROWING THEIR OWN FOOD. I KNOW — WE IN OUR DEPARTMENT, GET TO REAP THE BENEFIT OF ALL OF THOSE VEGETABLES THAT ARE COMING OUT. CABBAGE, THERE WAS QUITE A BIT OF CABBAGE FOR A LONG TIME. ANYBODY GROWS CABBAGE KNOWS THAT CABBAGE GOES DOWN.>>I HAVE SOME IN MY FRIDGE.>>Kim: TALK. THOSE CROPS AND IF YOU’RE WORKING WITH OTHER THINGS LIKE THAT. HOW YOU AS A STUDENT, SPER ACT WITH THE OTHER STUDENTS THE KINDS OF COLLABORATIVE THINGS THAT YOU DO OR THE FUN THINGS YOU DO. SAM IS YOUR MAIN GUY.>>WELL, I GET TO WORK IN THE FIELD AND PRODUCE MY OWN ESPECIALLY TOMATOES AND CABBAGE. HARVESTING IS ALWAYS FUN. I TOLD MY FRIENDS LIKE, HEY, WE HAVE CABBAGE TODAY OR TOMATOES. THEY WERE LIKE MAKE SURE YOU DON’T ANYTHING FROM WAL-MART OR HYVEE. I WOULD LOVE YOU GUYS TO HAVE MY PRODUCE INSTEAD OF SPENDING MONEY ON IT.>>IT’S KIND OF THE COOL THING ABOUT THE DIVERSITY OF THINGS THAT WE WORK ON. TODAY, WE WERE HARVESTING HOPS. JUST WEEK PRIOR, CABBAGE.>>WE JUST — LAST MONTH WE WENT TO HARVEST CABBAGE. WE HAVE TONS OF CABBAGE. BUT IT WAS GONE WITHIN A DAY EVERYONE JUST CAME TO VISIT US AND GRABBED SOME. I REALLY LIKE THE PEOPLE TO HAVE IT AND IT’S FREE. YOU DON’T HAVE TO SPEND MONEY ON IT. IT’S FRESH.>>Kim: WE WERE TALKING LITTLE BIT OFF AIR ABOUT YOUR INTEREST IN RESILIENCY, SUSTAINABILITY AND BEST PRACTICES. WHICH WE TRY TO DO LEAST HARM, BEST PRACTICES FIST. I ASSUME WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT, LET’S SEEM HOW MANY PESTICIDES AND INSECTICIDES WE CAN WASH OFF?>>YEAH. WE GENERALLY TAKE THE MANAGEMENT APPROACH. WE GOT ONE STUDENT WHO DID A SEGMENT LAST WEEK, WHO’S IN THE HEALTH PROGRAM. THAT’S A DIAGNOSTIC PROGRAM, SCOUTING FIRST. HE’S BEEN A GOOD INFLUENCE ON THE TEAM. WE DO LOT OF SCOUTING IN OUR FIELDS TO GET AHEAD OF THINGS AND ONLY TREAT IF WE HAVE TO. WITHIN THE THEME OF RESEARCH WE DO, IT’S LOT OF BIOLOGICAL TREATMENT, LOT OF B.T. LOT OF CONTROL, SWASH BUGS EARLIER TODAY. IT’S UPHILL BATTLE SOMETIMES. WE ONLY TREAT IF WE HAVE TO.>>Kim: AGAIN, YOU CAN FEEL BETTER ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE OFFERING TO YOUR FRIEND OR PUTTING IN YOUR OWN PARTICULAR BODY SYSTEM. WHETHER IT’S IN THE RUN OF PACKAGES OR NOT. [LAUGHTER] WE WERE TALKING BEFORE, WE STARTED ABOUT A FEW OF THE CHALLENGES BECAUSE OF COURSE, TO DO THE RESEARCH CORRECTLY, YOU HAVE REPLICATIONS AND WE WERE TALKING HOPS AND SCOTT’S BLUFF. JUST EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED? YOU DIDN’T GET ANY HOPS.>>RIGHT. THE INTERESTING THING ABOUT SCOTT’S BLUFF IT’S REALLY A GREAT CLIMATE FOR SPECIALTY CROPS. THE HOPS THAT WE’VE GROWN OUT THERE IN THE PAST FEW YEARS WITH STACY, HAVE BEEN BEAUTIFUL. OUR VEGETABLES HAVE LOOKED GREAT THERE. THEY’RE IN TALKING WITH SOME OF THE PEOPLE OUT THERE. IT USED TO BE COMMERCIAL VEGETABLE INDUSTRY. IN THE FIRST COUPLE OF YEARS, WHY WOULD THEY STOP GROWING VEGETABLES HERE? IT’S A PERFECT NICE SOIL, GREAT FOR VEGETABLES AND APPARENTLY HOPS. WE FOUND OUT IN THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS MAYBE WHY THAT INDUSTRY LEFT AND THE SEVERE WEATHER IS REALLY DETRIMENTAL. THEY GOT ABOUT THREE HAILSTORMS IN ABOUT FIVE DAYS. STRIPPED PROBABLY 90% OF THE CONES OFF SOME OF THE HOP PLANTS. SURPRISINGLY, CABBAGE IS A RESILIENT BUGGER. THEY KIND OF PROTECTED DOWN THERE NEAR THE GROUND. MOST OF THOSE ARE PROBABLY STILL MARKETABLE. CABBAGE WILL BE HERE AFTER THE APOCALYPSE I THINK. [LAUGHTER]>>Kim: LOTS OF SAW KRAU SOUR KRAUT. HOW ABOUT OTHER CHALLENGES. FUNDING OR FINDING STUDENTS OR SPACE OR FACILITIES. ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH WHERE YOU ARE? IS THERE ALWAYS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT?>>YES. I GUESS I’LL GIVE A SHOT OUT FOR SOME OF OUR FUNDERS HERE. BECAUSE IT’S SO IMPORTANT TO BE ABLE TO FUND GRADUATE RESEARCH ASSISTANTS FOR PEOPLE LIKE ROHANNA AND CHRIS. LOT OF THAT FUNDING FOR TOMATO GRAFTING RESEARCH AND HERBICIDE RESEARCH COMES THROUGH THE SPECIALTY CROP BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM THAT COME THROUGH THE USDA AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE. SPECIFICALLY EARMARKED FOR SPECIALTY CROP RESEARCH. THAT PASSES THROUGH THE NEBRASKA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. REALLY DOES A LOT TO SUPPORT SPECIALTY CROPS AND LANDSCAPE PLANT RESEARCH IN NEBRASKA FROM EVERYTHING FROM DRY BEANS AND THE PANHANDLED TO GRAFTED TOMATOES AND YEAST. WITHOUT THAT, IT WILL BE CHALLENGING TO DO SPECIALTY CROPS AND HORTICULTURE RESEARCH IN NEBRASKA.>>Kim: SOME OF OUR VIEWERS MAY NOT NOW WHAT SPECIALTY CROPS MEAN. DIFFERENTIATE WHEN SPECIALTY AND NONSPECIALTY?>>THE USDA HAS A DEFINITION FOR WHAT SPECIALTY CROPS ARE. IT’S PRETTY MUCH THAT USDA DOESN’T CALL A COMMODITY CROP THERE’S ABOUT EIGHT COMMODITY CROPS. SPECIALTY CROPS ARE EDIBLE IN NATURE. FRUITS, VEGETABLE, NUTS, LANDSCAPE PLANTS ARE CONSIDERED SPECIALTY CROPS BY THE USDA. THAT’S FAIR GAME.>>Kim: THERE ARE WHOLE LOT OF THOSE PLANTS.>>YES, THE LIST IS LONG.>>Kim: OKAY, ROHANNA, YOU HAVE A HUGE AMOUNT OF ENTHUSIASM. GREAT SMILE ON YOUR FACE FOR TALKING ABOUT THIS. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO BE DOING THIS YEAR?>>WELL, FOR CROPPING, THIS SUMMER IS ALMOST DONE. WE’RE JUST GETTING READY FOR HARVEST SEASON. HOPEFULLY AFTER THAT, I’M GOING TO START WRITING MY THESIS AND HOPEFULLY BE DONE BY NEXT AUGUST. I WAS PLANNING ON — MY PLAN AFTERWARDS, SINCE I’M AN INTERNATIONAL STUDENT, KIND OF HAVE LIKE OPTION. PI CAN’T REALLY BE HERE LIKE UNTIL I GET A VISA. MY PLAN IS TO TRAVEL THE WORLD AND THERE’S LIKE THIS PROGRAM WHERE YOU CAN WORK IN A FARM, GET PAID AND THEN YOU MOVE ON TO DIFFERENT FARMS THEN YOU TRAVEL AS YOU GO. THAT’S MY PLAN SO FAR.>>Kim: GOOD TO BE YOUNG AND FREE. [LAUGHTER]>>HOPEFULLY IT WORKS THAT WAY. I NEVER KNOW.>>Kim: LIFE IS LIFE. THAT’S PERFECT. THANKS FOR COMING IN YOU GUYS. THAT IS ALL THE TIME WE HAVE FOR “DIGGING DEEPER” WITH “BACKYARD FARMER.” YOU CAN WATCH A NEW “DIGGING DEEPER” ON FACEBOOK EVERY SUNDAY NIGHT AT 6:30 P.M. CENTRAL. DO NOT MISS “BACKYARD FARMER” LIVE EVERY THURSDAY AT 7:00 P.M. CENTRAL ON NET. THANKS FOR “DIGGING DEEPER” ON

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