UGA organic research farm to host expanded Twilight Tour July 10

Organic Twilight Tour 2012-h.photo
Attendees discuss growing practices at the University of Georgia's organic research farm during the 2012 Organic Twilight Tour in Watkinsville. The tour will return this July after being canceled due to soggy fields in 2013.

Third annual tour to feature demonstrations on high tunnels, apple varieties, cool season vegetables and micro-irrigation

Athens, Ga. – Organic and sustainable agriculture experts with the University of Georgia will host their third annual Organic Twilight Tour July 10 from 6-8 p.m. at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ Durham Horticulture Farm, 1221 Hog Mountain Road, Watkinsville.

Admission is free, and a rain date has been set for July 17 from 6-8 p.m.

The open house will be a chance for farmers and gardeners to learn about some of the newest research being conducted on the 90-acre farm, where the college’s organic research plots are located. Researchers and students will give talks and describe demonstration plots where the latest organic cultivation practices are tested.

“There’s always new research at the horticulture farm that farmers, gardeners and the community will be interested in, so this is a great chance to come learn directly from the researchers and see the plots,” said Kate Munden-Dixon, a program assistant with Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education housed in the college’s department of crop and soil sciences.

Past Organic Twilight Tours have attracted more than 100 visitors to the Durham Horticulture Farm.

This year’s demonstration topics include:
Summer vegetable production: This primer covers best practices.
Summer cover crops: Learn about a wide variety of summer cover crops and when and why they should be used.
Organic sweet corn production: Researchers will share the latest research on supplying nitrogen for good growth.
High tunnels: High tunnels can help extend the growing season for many crops, but they aren’t a panacea. Researchers will cover the proper use of high tunnels and when they have the greatest impact.
Organic watermelon production: Georgia ranks third in watermelon production in the U.S. with an annual crop valued at more than $159 million. Researchers will discuss strategies and best practices for producing a healthy, profitable crop of organically grown melons.
Organic tomato variety trials: These tomato varieties best resist common diseases.
Squash diseases: Cucurbit yellow vine disease is an insect-transmitted bacterial disease that has caused significant problems for organic squash growers. Researchers are examining the effectiveness of using row covers to manage the problem and will offer insight into when plants are most susceptible to infection.
Small farm and irrigation equipment: Learn the basics of the micro-irrigation and cultivation equipment used on UGA’s organic production plots.

The 2014 Organic Twilight Tour is sponsored by Southern SARE, the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Georgia Organics and the Piedmont Beginning Farmers Development Partnership. Refreshments will be provided thanks to Georgia Organics.

For more information about sustainable agriculture in College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, see SustainAgGA.org. For more information about the tour, contact UGA sustainable agriculture coordinator Julia Gaskin at jgaskin@uga.edu or 706-542-1401.