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UGA to host 2015 Organic Twilight Tour on June 23 in Watkinsville By Merritt Melancon

Organic and sustainable agriculture experts from the University of Georgia will host their fourth annual Organic Twilight Tour on Tuesday, June 23 from 6-8 p.m. at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences' Durham Horticulture Farm, 1221 Hog Mountain Road, Watkinsville, Georgia.

Admission is free, and a rain date has been set for Wednesday, June 24 from 6-8 p.m.

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 and irrigation 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. Learn about UGA Extension’s Nitrogen Availability Calculator website, which helps farmers know how much nitrogen is provided by different cover crops.
  • Watermelons - Georgia ranks third nationally in watermelon production. Researchers will discuss weed management and best practices for producing a healthy, profitable crop of organically grown watermelons.
  • Winter squash disease trial - Growing winter squash in Georgia can be a challenge. Researchers are testing several heirloom and new varieties to see which performs best.
  • Apple and muscadine management - Fruit experts from around Georgia offer strategies for organic production from apple trees and muscadine vines.
  • Sunn hemp variety trial - Sunn hemp is a summer legume cover crop that can provide up to 100 pounds of nitrogen per acre. UGA researchers are studying which varieties work best for small farms.
  • Prepping for market - Good post-harvest handling practices extend shelf life and keep produce safe. UGA Extension specialists offer practical strategies for keeping your customers safe and satisfied.

The 2015 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 UGA sustainable agriculture coordinator Julia Gaskin at jgaskin@uga.edu or 706-542-1401 or Jessica Cudnik at sustainag@uga.edu or 706-542-8084.

(Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

Twilight Tour 2014
Twilight Tour 2014

Two women tour the organic production plots at UGA's Durham Horticulture Farm during UGA's 2014 Organic Twilight Tour.

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Two women tour the organic production plots at UGA's Durham Horticulture Farm during UGA's 2014 Organic Twilight Tour. Download Image
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