July 11, 2008

From traditional to organic fruit and vegetable production, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture Twilight Horticulture Tour will have something to interest just about anyone.

The UK Horticultural Research Farm in south Lexington is home to dozens of projects and variety trials, many of which the tour will showcase July 31. Four concurrent tours - one for vegetables, one for fruits, one for sustainable vegetables and fruits and one for woody ornamentals and floriculture - will repeat from 5 p.m. until dark.

"We will be able to show growers our latest research and hopefully give them some ideas of things they can do themselves," said John Strang, UK extension horticulture specialist. "We're planning to have concurrent wagon tours, and visitors will be able to go back and talk to the speakers at the stops that they are most interested in."

Strang said tour participants will have a chance to learn about research involving traditional and sustainable/organic growing practices.

Vegetable tour stops include pumpkin, fresh market tomato, specialty and muskmelon and All American Vegetable variety trials. Participants can also learn about a tomato pulsed irrigation study, vegetable integrated pest management and get information about Ubatuba peppers, watermelon gummy stem blight and squash disease.

Stops on the sustainable vegetable and fruit tour include organic mixed vegetables and small fruit for Community Supported Agriculture programs, organic apple production, organic pest control, equipment and high tunnel production, sustainable agriculture curriculum and portable cool rooms.

The woody ornamental and floriculture tour stops will include All American Flower varieties, hydrangea field and tunnel production, induction of branching in woody ornamentals, IPM scouting, greenhouse operation and IR-4 plant growth regulator trials on Winter Red Holly and Oak Leaf Hydrangea.

The fruit tour stops will include grape, raspberry and blueberry variety trials, grape training systems, Japanese beetle and green June beetle studies, grape wine evaluation studies, thornless blackberry pulsed drip irrigation and strawberry slug studies.

Strang said tours will start at the research center parking lot. Cold drinks and specialty melons, if they mature in time, will be provided for participants.

The Twilight Tour is open to the public but is aimed at fruit and vegetable growers. For more information, contact your local county extension office or call Strang at 859-257-5685 or Pam Compton at 859-257-2909. You can also send an e-mail to pscomp1@uky.edu.

The UK Horticultural 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, Emmert Farm Lane, is off Man O' War Boulevard at the traffic light opposite the entrance to Lowe's and Wal-Mart.

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