From Issue  Spring 2015

Truck Crops Experiment Station

Crystal Springs, Mississippi was once considered the tomato capital of the world, and was even nicknamed “Tomatopolis”. It’s fitting that the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station’s Truck Crops Branch, one of the 16 branch stations, is located just south of a town known for its tomatoes. The Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station focuses on horticulture.

2014 Fall Flower and Garden Fest at the Truck Crops Experiment Station.


The station, which was established in 1938, encompasses 175 acres, the most acreage dedicated to horticulture in the MSU system. There are two laboratories, shop facilities, nine greenhouses and seven high tunnels onsite.

Researchers focus on vegetables, ornamental crops, fruits and pecans, conducting variety trials for commercial growers and the gardening public as well. Researchers evaluate how well certain plants grow under various conditions in the field, in the greenhouses, in the high tunnels and in various containers. Three of the high tunnels are dedicated to researching organic fruits and vegetables. Beginning this year, the station has created an online database of all of the plants included in their annual variety trials so growers have quick and easy access to learning about the performance of a new variety.

mato Short Course, held in March, is a national conference for commercial growers interested in learning about greenhouse tomatoes and other greenhouse vegetables. Over the years, the course has drawn growers and exhibitors from more than 25 states and several other countries. In October, the station hosts the Fall Flower and Garden Fest, considered the largest home gardening show in the Southeast. More than 400 different cultivars are on display during the two day fest, which includes tours of the grounds and gardens along with educational seminars. Plant, yard art, garden supply and food vendors round out the event, which draws more than 5000 people each year.



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