Archive | July, 2012

USDA SCEP—P.R.China trip

26 Jul

The first one, sponsored by USDA SCEP—P.R.China, was officially over when my teammates flied back to US on the 2nd. During this trip, we met students, entrepreneurs, officials and professors, among many others, from

China Ministry of Ag.,

China Academy of Agricultural Sciences,

China Agriculture University,

Shanghai and Zhejiang Department of Ag,

Shanghai and Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences,

Zhejiang University Experiment Station and Extension Service,

China Academy of Sciences Chenshang Botanical Garden in Shanghai,

Horticulture crops production enterprises in Beijing, Shanghai and Zhejiang.

We took LOTS of pictures—-plants and food, which I will share with y’all in the future.

What did we learn from this trip?

There’s huge development in China. Many places that we visited were newly-built with the newest being 1 month old.

Huge investment in agriculture. The government has many incentives to encourage agriculture. For instance, one of the local agriculture service center has ‘high tunnel’ cost share program (20% cost share for multi-bays), which is similar to the NRCS high tunnel cost share program. Another thing worth mentioning is that any farm-related income, retail or wholesale, on- or off-farm, is tax free.

Miles of high tunnels (used as rain shelters) when we drive around Kunming, Yunnan Province. All sort of horticulture crops (mainly vegetables and cut flowers) are grown in high tunnels.

Huge development in ag-tourism in major cities (like Beijing, Shanghai or Hangzhou), which is enjoyed by both city and country folks.

Jinyuan Flower in Kunming, Yunnan Province—-Cut flower provider for the 2010 Shanghai Expo—-is an enterprise established in 2008 with an investment of RMB700M, total area of 7,000mu (1 acre = 6 mu) and annual gross income of RMB400M.

Huge improvement potential in ornamental production and landscape service, among many other things.

Bagged pears for better quality from Wanjiahuan—-an ag-tourism enterprise featuring mountain view landscape, restaurant cooking with local produce and pick-your-own orchards (cherry, blueberry, nectarine, plum, peach, apricot, pears, apple, and Myrica rubra).

 

Blueberry growers be aware: 3rd year blueberry plants in Wangjiahuan.

Ornamental research @Huazhong Ag. Univ.

24 Jul

College of Horticulture and Forestry Sciences, HAU at Wuhan, Hebei Province.

Dr. Caiyun Wang was our host during our visit in Wuhan, Hubei Province (July 5-8, 2012). She’s my ‘big school sister’ (Chinese way of saying ‘alumnus’) from Beijing Forestry University, working as the principal investigator of the Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Horticultural Plant Biology in the College of Horticulture and Forestry Sciences at Huazhong Agriculture University.

Dr. Caiyun Wang and her group.

Dr. Wang was a great host during my first visit in 2010, which was part of the reason that Wuhan was part of this year’s itinerary. So what’s a principal investigator of the Ministry of Education Key Laboratory in China? First, count how many graduate students working in the lab. These are not only her graduate students—-they’re her kids too. From the way they interact with each other, you could tell that they LOVE her.

Her research covers many areas of many ornamental crops.

Molecular and cytological breeding technology for Chrysanthemum and Pyrethrum.

In-vitro regeneration and transformation of hydrangea and hypericum; Research on the dendrobium’s key technology for safe and efficient production.

Postharvest physiology and molecular biology of Osmanthus fragrans.

Photoperiod control & drought resistance.

“Mr. Yang Rose” in Kunming

24 Jul

Our first trip in Yunnan was a visit on 12th to Kunming Yang Chinese Rose Gardening Co., Ltd., a private (remember China is a ‘communist country’?) company owned by Mr. Yang Yuyong, who specialized in rose cut flowers and got himself a nick name ‘Yang (say it like ‘young’) Rose’. We saw many cool roses—500 introduced cultivars and 700 from his own breeding program.

‘Bing Qing”—-one of Mr. Yang Rose’s own cultivar

‘Friendship’—-nice color contrast of two sides of petals.

Due to more and more competition in cut rose production, he started a new adventure in 2009—production of cut flower and foliage of Proteaceae plants (protea, banksia, waxflower, leucospermum, etc.), which is about 3 hr from Kunming. He is probably the first person doing this in China, and you could tell that he’s very proud of it, and probably the profit coming with it.

1st proteaceae cut flower and foliage grower in China. His farm has great view of the mountains.

Although roses have LONG vase life, it won’t be as long as these guys, which last forever, almost. Mr. Yang Rose has many ways to add value to his new products, even for those he can’t sell fresh, which has not been a problem.

Mr. Yang told me a story about his ‘new’ plants. Somebody asked him whether he charged a lot for the foliage of Banksia speciosa because it surely cost a lot of man power to manually cut the foliage like that.

I’m 100% sure it’ll cost a lot of manual labor to ‘carve’ leaves like this. Fortunately, Mother Nature has done it for us.

Use tea plant as hedge

13 Jul

Experimental tea farm of Huazhong Agricultural University

When we visited the experimental tea farm of Huazhong Agricultural University in Wuhan, the capitol of Hubei Province, a thought came into my mind—–why can’t we use tea plants in the landscape as hedge plants? They are almost perfect for that, and grown for thousands of years in hedges with nice ‘hedge’ shape and pruning tolerant (at least to the ‘tea picking’). Wouldn’t it be nice to pick your own tea from your front/back yard?

My research indicated that the only tea farm in the continental US was in South Carolina. And then there’s Hawaii. So wanna be the first and only tea hedge plant liner provider or user?

So how to make tea? First, you gotta pick the tea leaves.

One of our USDA ISE group members put on a bamboo container at her waist and started practicing picking tea leaves.

Did you know that there are 6 major tea categories in China—–green, black, oolong, yellow, white and green black/brick tea? What’s more interesting is that different tea could be made from the leaves from the same plant provided that you pick different size and then process them differently.

Making green uses only the tenderest tip and the size goes up for black, yellow&white, oolong and green white tea, also called brick tea. (Did you know that?)

For instance, this machine is used for making black and oolong tea. Oops, gotta go. It’s time for the tea ceremony.

Machine for making black and oolong tea at Huazhong Agricultural University

1st Hort trip in 2012 ends today

1 Jul

I can’t believe that it’s been 10 days since my first post on June 20 about my hort trip in 2012. The first one, sponsored by USDA SCEP—P.R.China, will be officially over when my team mate flied back to US tomorrow morning. During this trip, we met officials and professors, among many others, from

China Ministry of Ag.,

China Academy of Agricultural Sciences,

China Agriculture University,

Shanghai and Zhejiang Department of Ag,

Shanghai and Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences,

Zhejiang University Experiment Station and Extension Service,

China Academy of Sciences Chenshang Botanical Garden (with the biggest greenhouse in Asia) in Shanghai,

Horticulture crops production enterprises in Beijing, Shanghai and Zhejiang.

We took LOTS of pictures—-plants and food, which I will share with y’all in the future.

What did we learn?

Huge development in China. Many places that we visited were newly-built with the newest being 1 month old.

Huge investment in agriculture. The government has many incentives to encourage agriculture. For instance, one of the local agriculture service center has ‘high tunnel’ cost share program (20% cost share for multi-bays), which is similar to the NRCS high tunnel cost share program. Another thing worth mentioning is that any farm-related income, retail or wholesale, on- or off-farm, is tax free.

Huge development in ag-tourism in major cities (like Beijing, Shanghai or Hangzhou), which is enjoyed by both city and country folks.

Huge improvement potential in ornamental production and landscape service, among many other things.