Earth-Kind® Herbaceous Perennial, Crape Myrtle and Vegetable Research
It was thought that the same concept with Earth-Kind® Roses could be possible with other types of plants, so an effort is under way to evaluate additional types of plants at Myers Park and Event Center near McKinney, Texas. In 2010, the first Earth-Kind® Perennial Research Garden was initiated with the planting of 69 herbaceous perennial plants. This year we have installed 24 additional plants in the second phase of testing. An additional 22 species of perennials will be added this spring. This major effort of evaluating 111 species or varieties of herbaceous perennials is the first of its kind in the world. The first year of testing has shown that the concepts of Earth-Kind® have real merit not just for roses but for other types of plants too.
Our success with the Earth-Kind® Perennial Research Garden has encouraged us to pursue other projects aimed at testing other types of ornamental plants, horticultural and agricultural crops. This May we completed the installation of the first Earth-Kind® Crape Myrtle Research Garden at Myers Park. The research garden is evaluating 25 varieties of crape myrtles replicated 4 times; resulting in a beautiful garden of 100 crape myrtles in an outstanding landscape design. In April 2011, we made the first steps toward developing an Earth-Kind® Vegetable Research Garden. This garden is uniquely designed to compare the production of vegetables with and without the use of a hoop house (an unheated greenhouse). The hoop house offers the benefits of storm protection and season extension that result in increased production and risk management. All these research efforts follow the same principles of Earth-Kind® Research, which excludes the use of synthetic, natural, organic fertilizers and pesticides, and limits the use of supplemental irrigation.
-Dr. Greg Church, County Extension Agent for Horticulture