This blog reviews the latest products, plants and innovations in gardening. It also provides a link for my many gardening friends who are members of the GardenMessenger and Seedmessenger Yahoo groups and their sub-groups that I moderate.

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Location: Australia

I am a semi-retired UK botanical garden curator and former international horticultural consultant, who has worked extensively in Europe, the Middle East, North America and Australia. I spend part of the year in Australia and part in Europe, mainly due to family and work commitments. I earn my living from writing and editing Internet copy, articles and books. I have written over fifty books on gardening and have been translated into twenty-four different languages. I am a former UK Garden Writer of the Year and a previous Quill & Trowel Award Winner from the Garden Writer’s Association of America. I am interested in developing gardening communities on the Internet and I manage the popular GardenMessenger Yahoo group, along with its various sub-groups like PondMessenger and SeedMessenger. I also edit International Water Gardener and its associated regional web-sites.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Lingonberry Research

Vaccinium vitis-idaea

The Lingonberry*, Vaccinium vitis-idaea, is one of the lesser-known fruit crops being studied by United States Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists who hope to make these fruits more popular with consumers and gardeners. At the ARS National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Corvallis, Oregon, the research team are studying what are called "minor crops", that is fruits that may be popular in other countries, to see if they can successfully grow them in the United States. Another example is the edible-fruited honeysuckle, which looks somewhat like a blueberry and has its own unique flavour, very different from the more popular ornamental honeysuckles with orange or red fruits.

There are more than 600 minor crops in the United States. While any crop that is grown on fewer than 300,000 acres nationally is considered a minor crop, many of the crops studied in Corvallis are grown on only a few hundred acres. In some cases, such as with kiwifruit, the fruit may start off as a minor crop but eventually become a market staple. The scientists also are studying hardy kiwifruit, which is related to the fuzzy kiwifruit found in supermarket produce sections. The hardy kiwifruit has a smooth skin and is the size of a large grape, but has green flesh and black seeds similar to the traditional kiwi.

*GardenMessenger is ahead of the researchers, its cultivation under the Scottish name Mountain Cranberry is described in the Fruit Growing Guides on the GardenMessenger web-site click here.

Happy Gardening



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