July 5, 2018 | By: Carol Lea Spence

LEXINGTON, Ky., — Significant, applied research is ongoing at the University of Kentucky’s Horticulture Research Farm in Lexington. With projects and trials covering traditional and organic vegetable production, high tunnel production, fruit production, variety trials for disease and pest resistance, cover crops and hops, Central Kentucky producers can learn a lot by attending the free 2018 Horticulture Research Farm Twilight Tour July 26.

Concurrent tours covering vegetables, sustainable vegetable agriculture and fruit will begin at 6 p.m. on the research farm located at 4320 Emmert Farm Lane. Tours will continue until dark, and participants should have time to take two of the three tours offered.

“They’ll get a concept of our latest research, get some new ideas and also have a chance to ask questions about their own operations,” said John Strang, UK extension horticulture specialist in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “There are not too many places where you’ll find all these extension specialists in one spot to get all your questions answered.”

High tunnels will be featured on several of the tours.

“We’ve got 800 high tunnels in the state now, so there are a lot of people interested in that type of production,” Strang said.

He said fruit growers will be interested in hearing about the new threat to blackberries and blueberries from the spotted wing drosophila, an invasive species from Asia.

Participants will also be able to see a modern, high-density trellised orchard and learn about new varieties of apple that are particularly good for making hard cider.

Vegetable tour stops include:

  • High tunnel ground cherry and squash production. Ground cherries are related to tomatoes, but the small, bright orange fruit is contained within a tomatillo-like husk, which protects the ripe fruit when it falls to the ground.
  • Uba Tuba pepper breeding
  • Bacterial spot resistant bell pepper variety trial
  • Cover crops
  • Sweet sorghum
  • Tomato and squash production using soil amendments
  • Tomato breeding for mite resistance
  • Hop production

Tour stops on the Sustainable Agriculture Vegetable tour include:

  • Acquired resistance for sustainable agriculture
  • Controlling cucumber beetles in muskmelons with meso tunnels and ground cover treatments
  • Organic hemp production
  • Trap crops for stink bugs
  • Heirloom corn
  • Moveable high tunnels
  • High tunnel tomatoes
  • The UK Sustainable Agriculture’s CSA project

Fruit tour stops include:

  • Matted row strawberry and Haskap variety trials
  • Apple bagging and bitter rot in apples
  • Hard cider apple cultivars
  • Spotted wing drosophila in blackberries
  • Grape production
  • Kentucky wine

The UK Horticulture Research Farm is located on the south side of Lexington, approximately one block west of the intersection of Man O’ War Boulevard and Nicholasville Road (U.S. 27). The entrance to the farm is off Man O’ War at the traffic light opposite the entrance to Lowe’s. For more information, contact Pam Compton, 859-257-2909 or pscomp1@uky.edu.


Rachel Rudolph, 859-257-3374, rachel.rudolph@uky.edu