Organic and sustainable agriculture experts from the University of Georgia will host their fifth annual Organic Twilight Tour on Thursday, July 14 from 6-8 p.m. at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Durham Horticulture Farm at 1221 Hog Mountain Road in Watkinsville, Georgia.
Admission is free and open to the public. Watermelon will be served.
The open house is 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 trial plots are located. Researchers and students will give talks and describe demonstration plots where the latest organic cultivation practices are tested.
"The event is a wonderful way to visit with faculty and students working with organic production and to actually see their work. There isn't a set tour, so you can come and see what you want. Even if you've come before, there is always something new," said Julia Gaskin, sustainable agriculture coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Past Organic Twilight Tours have attracted more than 100 visitors to the Durham Horticulture Farm.
This year's demonstration topics include:
- Small farm equipment — Learn about the kinds of irrigation and different types of equipment used on UGA's organic production plots.
- High tunnels — High tunnels can help extend the growing season and improve the quality of many crops, but they aren't a panacea. Researchers will share their experiences with organic high tunnel production and answer questions about growing under plastic.
- Nitrogen from cover crops — Cover crops have many benefits, including providing nitrogen. Refer to UGA Extension's Nitrogen Availability Calculator, which helps farmers know how much nitrogen is provided by different cover crops.
- Squash diseases — Squash is a favorite for farmers market and farm-to-table growers. Researchers are testing several varieties and techniques to help farmers maximize the yields of this farmer’s market favorite.
- Organic watermelon production — Watermelons are about a $134 million business Georgia but very little of that production is sustainable. Researchers are developing cultivars, growing practices and marketing strategies that could help interested melon farmers grow organically.
- Apple management — Fruit experts from around Georgia offer strategies for organic production from apple trees.
The 2016 Organic Twilight Tour is sponsored by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Georgia Organics and Southern SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education).
For more information about sustainable agriculture from the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, see sustainagga.org. For more information about the tour, contact Jessica Cudnik at firstname.lastname@example.org or 706-542-8084.
(Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)