New manager set to lead Texas Tech University Greenhouse and Gardens
By: Norman Martin
An experienced horticulturist with a strong background at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has been named the new greenhouse manager in Texas Tech University Greenhouse and Gardens, according to officials within the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Vikram Baliga officially stepped into his new post on April 2.
CASNR's greenhouses and gardens are considered by many on the sprawling campus to be a showplace for the department and a destination for university activities. The complex includes eight greenhouses of which three are used for undergraduate courses and four are used to support graduate teaching and research.
The final house is used for the grounds maintenance interior plant program. The greenhouse also includes two classrooms used to support the horticulture laboratory classes and a floral design studio for use in the floral design program.
In addition, the facility includes the university gardens, which are used for plant identification classes and as demonstration gardens for the community. The gardens, currently under renovation, provide plant materials with identification tags to allow the community to observe how different plants perform in our environment.
The garden has the traditional design of individual garden rooms. The garden rooms currently include a perennials collection, annuals squares, herb garden, rose collection, arboretum, vegetable garden and xeriscape. Research is conducted in the trial bed area where new plant releases are reviewed for performance in this environment.
One of Baliga's primary goals here at Tech is to be the liaison for research and teaching faculty to support their greenhouse activities. He will be responsible for the cultural management of the display gardens and teach sections of the principles of horticulture labs, as well as maintain the greenhouse facilities and help facilitate garden renovation.
Prior to taking his present position at Tech, Baliga served as instructor-facilitator with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, and a teaching assistant with Tech's Department of Plant and Soil Science. In addition, he was a county extension agent (horticulture) with Lubbock County's Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, a consultant-farm manger with Noble Farms in Lubbock, and owner-operator with Thrive Gardens & Landscapes in Lubbock.
Baliga received his bachelor's degree in horticulture with a landscape design emphasis from Texas A&M University, and his master's degree in horticulture from Texas Tech. He is currently completing his doctorate in plant and soil science from Texas Tech. He is a member of the Crop Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America and the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association.
CASNR's Department of Plant and Soil Science includes 26 faculty members, along with 130 undergraduate and 120 graduate students. Degrees offered include bachelor, masters and doctorate degrees in plant and soil science, along with four post-graduate certificate programs (crop protection, fibers and biopolymers, horticulture landscape management and soil management).
According to university officials, the department's three-year research expenditures exceed $4.1 million per year. Its faculty conduct research from the cellular level through whole plants to large-scale ecosystems and post-production, value-added processes.
CONTACT: Eric Hequet, Department Chair, Department of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2838 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Editor: Norman Martin
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