From Dennis Patton:
Come see the hottest and newest plants while enjoying cool classes in air-conditioned comfort and ice cold water while wandering the field trials. Learn about the latest and greatest before it ever hits the garden centers. It's all at the K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Center’s Field Day, Saturday, July 25, from 8 a.m.–2 p.m. It's your chance to peek behind the scenes, talk with the experts and learn about the latest varieties and methods for achieving growing success.
Admission is $5 per person, which includes ice cold bottled water, seminars, classes and demonstrations. K-State Research and Extension horticulture research develops its list of recommended grasses, flowers or vegetable varieties through university research conducted in Olathe to determine what grows best in our Kansas City landscapes.
What you'll see
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The Center conducts research in flowers and vegetables. Visitors can speak with university professors heading up the research and Johnson County Extension Master Gardener volunteers.
Highlights – Flower Area
- Annual flower trials - Companies from around the world submit their newest developments. The research trials show which flowers can withstand the Kansas City climate. The trials illustrate that not all varieties are created equal. Check out the container plantings as some annuals are only meant for use in pots.
- New annual introductions – ‘Monarch Promise’ Milkweed is an ornamental with variegated foliage that enhances butterfly habitat. New to the market is Echibeckias are a cross between Echinacea (Coneflower) and Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan) — two prairie natives which make it an appealing plant for Kansas gardeners.
- Cut Your Own flower bouquet area – a cutting garden is a fun way to bring the garden inside. Learn which plants work for providing summer enjoyment.
- Impatiens Downy Mildew – this disease is continuing its spread into Kansas City. See what’s new in impatiens to help fight this disease.
- Year of the Coleus – come see 21 varieties, including 3 terra-cotta colored cultivars, and the Under the Sea® varieties with wildly serrated leaves. Foliage is hot.
Highlights – Vegetable Area – Growing Local Food
Come and find out what K-State Research and Extension is doing to assist local farmers support the growing local food movement. While at the research center, you will learn about many of the innovative things that local farmers are doing. Projects include:
· High tunnel production systems with tomato, pepper, spinach, strawberries, blueberries, and brambles.
· Vegetable grafting
· Soil health and microbiology studies using cover crops and no-till systems
· All America Selections Variety Trial program
· “Pack n’ Cool” Mobile Produce Cooler
· Growing Growers: Training first-generation farmers in the KC/Lawrence area
· Off season strawberry production system: during the day sample berries as part of the research effort to expand the fresh season of strawberries
Extension Master Gardeners Backyard Garden Demonstration Garden
Vegetable gardening is as popular as ever. This Extension Master Gardener’s project demonstrates various methods of growing vegetables. Raised beds, trellises, and different planting methods are demonstrated along with a fruit garden. Featured displays include:
· Incorporating native plants into the landscape
· Perennial “border wars” purple and white verses red and blue
· Basil, over 10 varieties.
Free soil tests
Johnson County residents can bring their soil and get one free soil test per Johnson County address, complements of Johnson County Stormwater Management. A soil test determines the nutrients in the soil. It is important to know the nutrient levels to grow healthy plants. Go to www.johnson.ksu.edu/soiltest to learn how to take a soil sample. At least 2 cups of dry soil are needed for a proper test.
How to get there
The Research Center is located at 35230 West 135th Street, Olathe. The entrance is approximately nine miles west of Highway 7 on 135th Street. Admission is $5 at the gate. Lunch will be available for purchase during the event. For information call (913) 715-7000, or visit www.johnson.ksu.edu.