July 13, 2010

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 22. Four concurrent tours-for vegetables, fruits, sustainable vegetables and fruits, and woody ornamentals and floriculture-will repeat two to three times 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 a tomato and pepper irrigation demonstration, a sweet potato cultivar trial, chitosan and other natural fungicides for controlling fungi, a downy mildew sentinel plot and greasy bean selections, a green bean variety trial, a specialty melon and muskmelon variety trial, an onion spacing trial, a winter squash variety trial and floral provisioning.

Stops on the sustainable vegetable and fruit tour include organic mixed vegetables for community supported agriculture, organic apple production, organic tillage implements, an organic production system using row cover timing, induction of resistance to bacterial wilt in melons, use of Reemay and soil treatments to control cucumber beetle in melons and squash, no-till fall squash and corn, cover crops, straw and hay mulch for weed control, and beneficial insect attraction.

The woody ornamental and floriculture tour stops will include propagation method and fertilizer rate effect on efficacy of plant growth regulators and plant quality during container production, UK nursery crops scouting program, a product trial: Root Trapper-in-pot inserts by RootMaker, cut stem production, a bioenergy crops field trial and a statewide bedding plant performance trial.

The fruit tour stops will include the Kentucky Mesonet weather station, raspberry and blueberry variety trials, grape varieties for Kentucky, grape training systems, a thornless blackberry pulsed drip irrigation demonstration and grape wine evaluation studies. Tours will start at the research center parking lot. Cold drinks and specialty melons 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 Strang at 859-257-5685 or Pam Compton at 859-257-2909 or 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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