Cucurbit educational meeting slated Dec. 9
Oklahoma vegetable growers and gardeners who want to learn more about cucurbit production should plan to attend the 2009 Oklahoma Cucurbit Vegetable Production and Marketing Meeting.
The event will take place Dec. 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., in Chickasha at the Grady County Fairgrounds. A $10 registration fee is required and it covers all meeting literature, lunch and refreshments. Registration deadline is Dec. 1. Mail checks payable to the Grady County Extension and mail to Grady County Extension Office, 828 West Choctaw, Chickasha, OK 73018.
Although wheat has long been one of the main crops grown in Oklahoma, the cucurbit market continues to have a significant impact on the Oklahoma agricultural industry, said Jim Shrefler, area horticulture specialist for the Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service.
"Cucurbits are a rather hearty crop and are extremely well suited to Oklahoma's summer growing conditions," Shrefler said. "This meeting will include a blend of topics that should be of interest to anyone who wants to learn about the new marketing trends and opportunities, as well as gain knowledge about the growing techniques that will be needed to meet the demands of various markets."
Cucurbits are a family of plants commonly known as melons or gourds and include crops such as cucumbers, squash, pumpkins and watermelons.
Shrefler said farmers markets are just one type of outlet in which a grower could establish a niche by offering a selection of different and unique varieties of cucurbits.
Merritt Taylor, an agricultural economist at the Wes Watkins Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Lane, Okla., will be on hand to share information he has learned from small scale vegetable growers about their cucurbit vegetable marketing experiences.
Angie Davis, a cucurbit geneticist at the USDA's South Central Agricultural Research Laboratory at Lane, Okla., has done considerable domestic and international work on cucurbit germplasm collection and study. She will present a talk "Demystifying Squash Types and Their Uses," in which she will discuss the many different types of squash and how they are used.
A number of other university and industry specialists will be on hand to share a wealth of information on topics ranging from food safety, hoop house production and cucurbits and youth opportunities to fertilizers, insect control and recognizing and preventing powdery mildew.
"This event should be of interest and value to anyone who grows or markets pumpkins, melons, cucumbers and other cucurbits," Shrefler said. "It's intended for all growers ranging from farmers markets to produce stand owners to shippers."
For more information about the upcoming meeting, registration information or to receive a meeting flier, contact Shrefler at 580-513-5544 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.