Alan Walters | College of Agricultural Sciences | SIU

Southern Illinois University



Alan Walters, Ph.D.

Professor, Plant, Soil and Agricultural Systems

Alan Walters

Office Phone: 618 | 453-3446
Building Location: Agriculture Building, Room 145-A

Dr. Alan Walters is Professor of Vegetable Science and Breeding in the Department of Plant, Soil and Agricultural Systems at Southern Illinois University - Carbondale.  He is also a prestigious Fulbright Research Scholar.  He grew up in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains in North Georgia and attended the University of Georgia, where he obtained a B.S.A in Agronomy (1986) and M.P.P.P.M. in Plant Pathology (1988).  He then attended North Carolina State University and completed MS and PhD degrees in Horticultural Science in 1991 and 1997, respectively.  He has been at Southern Illinois University since 1998 and is responsible for teaching several classes including Home Gardening, Commercial Vegetable Production, Crop Physiology, World Crops, Organic Gardening, and Plants for the Ecological Landscape.  His research activities has focused on many different applied cultural management issues in vegetable production, with more than 60 referred publications resulting from this research.  Most of his research has focused on areas such as pollination ecology of cucurbit vegetables, reduced tillage practices for vegetables, vermicomposts as alternative fertilizers, fertility management in vegetable crops, vegetable disease and weed management, local-sustainable vegetable production, and horseradish production and breeding.  His successful research program has led to the education and training of more than 25 graduate students working directly under his direction.  Dr. Walters also has more than 100 edited professional publications, written numerous book chapters, as well as a book on Home Gardening Practices, and has delivered well over 150 outreach or extension-type presentations for his career.


Dr. Walters’ area of focus is on applied aspects to improve vegetable production systems throughout the world (e.g., pest control, fertility and water management).  The applied research conducted is not only directly applicable for vegetable growers in Illinois but throughout the U.S as well as in many other parts of the world.  So, most of the research conducted is to help growers have a better understanding of how to produce vegetable crops more efficiently with greater quality and yields.  However, the two vegetable crops that Dr. Walters focuses on are pumpkins and horseradish, as these are two of the most important specialty crops grown in Illinois. 


  • HORT 238: Home Gardening
  • CSEM 408: World Crops
  • CSEM/PSAS 409: Crop Physiology and Ecology
  • HORT/PSAS 437: Commercial Vegetable Production
  • HORT 463 / PSAS 563: Plants for the Ecological Landscape
  • HORT 469: Organic Gardening


  • PhD, 1997, North Carolina State University
  • Major: Horticultural Science
  • Minor: Plant Breeding/Genetics
  • MS, 1991, North Carolina State University
  • Major: Horticultural Science
  • Minor: Plant Breeding/Genetics
  • MPPPM, 1988, University of Georgia
  • Major: Plant Pathology
  • BSA, 1986, University of Georgia 
  • Major: Plant Science

Recent Publications and Awards

  • SIU COAS Elkins Excellence in Education Award, 2011
  • SIU COAS Outstanding Researcher Award, 2006
  • Published more than 50 refereed publications in career and helped to bring in more than $5 million in grant monies to SIUC
  • Delivered more than 50 abstracts at national/international meetings and approximately 50 edited professional publications on original research during career.
  • Delivered well over 100 outreach or extension-type presentations for career with most presentations in Illinois or other Midwestern States.
  • INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES include a sabbatical in 2007 at the Agricultural University Athens; Afghanistan since 2008 through a USAID project and USDA-FAS project; and, Austria since 2009 through my activities in horseradish research.

Extension Publications