Next Possible Florida Alternative Crop: Pomegranates

Read about the research into pomegranates as a possible new Florida alternative crop.

 

Florida is a hotbed of agriculture, and the next Florida alternative crop may just be pomegranates. assistant professor and Extension specialist at the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida, Ali Sarkhosh, is studying if pomegranates can be grown commercially in The Sunshine State, according to a Vegetable and Specialty Crop News (VSCNews) article. See details below.

Pomegranates: Possible New Florida Alternative Crop

 

Pomegranates originate from the Mediterranean, and that area’s dry, hot summers are obviously different from Florida’s wet, hot summers, and it’s a difference that may really matter, according to Sarkhosh. “One of the biggest problems is the diseases that develop during the hot/wet season, which reduces the quality of the fruit,” he said in the article. However, we are working to see how we can develop a training system that is good for Florida to have the circulation through the canopy to reduce diseases,” he explained.

Sarkhosh is also looking at how other factors, such as Florida’s soils, will affect the popular, vitamin-packed fruits. “We need to improve the knowledge of the grower in regards to the cultural practices,” Asrkhosh said. “The management is totally different from other tree fruit that has been growing in Florida, especially because the pomegranate naturally grows as a bush. In order to grow a pomegranate bush into a tree, this requires a lot of pruning and the right training system. Our research will be focusing on how we can produce high-quality fruit during the wet season. To overcome the issue, training of the grower would be the easiest way to transfer the cultural practices.”

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