KC Gardens

Annual K-State Horticulture Center Field Day is July 30

By Dennis Patton

A past Field Day at the K-State Research and Extension center in Olathe.
A past Field Day at the K-State Research and Extension center in Olathe. Submitted.

Come see the hottest and newest plants while enjoying cool classes in

air-conditioned comfort with 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 30, from 8 a.m. to 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.

This year we are celebrating 20 years of the research center in its current location.

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

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. This year 600 cultivars have been planted for evaluation. 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.

Year of the Begonia: See 45 varieties growing in containers or the soil. There are many new cool introductions.

Dwarf Cannas and Coleus: Bigger is not always better. These hot new introductions are great for in-ground gardens but also shine in containers. Pollinator Friendly: More annuals are being introduced for attracting butterflies and pollinators. See what’s new with Salvia, Agastache, and Lantana cultivars.

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

KoolKat Mobile Produce Cooler

Growing Growers: Training first-generation farmers in the KC/Lawrence area

Extension Master Gardeners Backyard Garden Demonstration Garden:

Vegetable gardening is as popular as ever. Join the craze of “foodscaping.” That is incorporating vegetables into the landscape. This Extension Master Gardener’s project demonstrates various methods of growing vegetables from raised beds, vertical gardening and a new spin on the square foot concept. The garden also features a wide variety of herbs, a colorful flowering cutting garden and extensive fruit plantings.

Free soil tests

Johnson County residents can bring their soil and get one free soil test per Johnson County address, compliments 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.k-state.edu 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.k-state.edu.

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