The Training Of Research Workers

The diverse character of experimentation in horticulture as set forth indicates somewhat the training that investigators in this field should have. It follows from the importance attached to science in horticulture, that thorough training in the sciences is imperative, but the distinctions here made indicate just as clearly that a person trained in the sciences and not in the art and business of horticulture is sadly handicapped. We may put down as the first essential in the mental equipment of the research worker, a broad and severe scientific training. The second essential is, perfect familiarity with garden, orchard and greenhouse plants and methods of handling their products. It is not sufficient that the horticultural experimenter know but the industry in which he may specialize. Knowledge of what is done in the greenhouse, for example, is indispensable to the experimenter with fruits, offering him suggestions at every turn. Whatever knowledge a man may possess of the needs and care of plants in any field of agriculture will be helpful in a specialized field.

Perhaps the ability to correlate science and art should be put down as a third essential.

But at present chief emphasis must be laid on the scientific training. The art of horticulture is sufficiently well taught in agricultural colleges, and the money-earning value of an education is in most institutions over-emphasized. The atmosphere of practicums and money-making which prevails in most of our colleges is not one in which investigators are born and bred. Instead, for the proper training of a horticulturist there should be an atmosphere of investigation for investigation's sake, of sound learning, of appreciation of science not only in its applications but as pure science and for its disciplinary value. It is desirable, almost imperative, that one training to become a horticulturist should take a post-graduate course in which special attention may be devoted to the sciences and the problems of horticulture.

Equipment For Research

Less need be said about the material equipment for horticultural research than the mental make-up of the worker. The nation and the states have been free in the expenditure of money for experimental work. Not a few horticultural departments in the experiment stations of the country are over-equipped with land, buildings and laboratories - the things that money can buy. Certain it is that the output from the institutions conducting research is not in proportion to the money spent or to the number of men on the staff. The fact that equipment and materials do not create, needs emphasis everywhere in horticultural experimentation. The custom of obtaining money to build up a department without specific work to be done is a vicious one from which there must in time be a reaction. Opportunity, equipment and problem should go together, and all these are valueless without a man with initiative, ideas, and training to use them. There are probably more over-equipped departments in horticulture than under-equipped ones.

Large experimenting is sometimes small experimenting and small experimenting large experimenting.

In one particular, however, the horticultural departments of the country are sadly under-equipped. There are no comprehensive plantations of economic plants in the experiment stations of the United States. The amelioration of plants is the chief work in horticulture and it would seem that the establishment of economic gardens is imperative, since material to be used advantageously must be near at hand. At least one station in every distinct agricultural region in the country should have an economic garden where may be found the food plants of the world suitable for the region. This should be an agricultural garden, not a plant museum to show the curious and the ornamental; in it agriculture must be dominant, not recessive.