Published on 06/13/13

UGA to host expanded Twilight Tour at the UGA organic research farm on July 11

By Merritt Melancon

UGA organic and sustainable agriculture experts will host the second annual Organic Twilight Tour on July 11 at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences organic research farm in Watkinsville.

Last year’s inaugural Organic Twilight Tour attracted more than 100 visitors to the Durham Horticulture Farm, where the college’s organic research farm is located.

“Due to overwhelming interest last year, we have decided to make the Organic Twilight Tour an annual event,” said Kate Munden-Dixon, program assistant with Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, or SARE.

“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 for anyone interested to come learn directly from the researchers and see the plots,” she said.

The Durham Horticulture Farm, at 1221 Hog Mountain Road in Watkinsville, will be open for tours of the organic growing operation from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on July 11. Admission is free to the public.

The open house will also be a chance for farmers and gardeners to learn about some of the newest research being conducted at the farm.

Researchers and students will give talks and describe demonstration plots, where the latest organic cultivation practices are tested.

This year’s demonstration topics include:

  • Apple Variety Trials – Many small farmers and home gardeners are interested in growing fruit on a small scale for local production. Researchers here are evaluating three older Southern apple varieties for fruit quality and disease and insect resistance.
  • Micro-irrigation – Just because the drought is over doesn’t mean gardeners don’t need efficient irrigation to keep their gardens healthy. Come learn how to set up a drip or micro-irrigation system for your farm or garden plot.
  • Squash Diseases – Cucurbit yellow vine disease (CYVD) 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.
  • Summer Vegetable Production – A solid primer on the best practices for summer vegetable production.
  • Cool Season Vegetables – Can organic lettuce, broccoli, onions and strawberries be profitable? Researchers will show off the latest information about cultivating these crops in the Southeast and share best practices.
  • Summer Cover Crops – Learn about a wide variety of summer cover crops and when and why they should be used.
  • 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 largest impact.

    Admission to the tour will be free and preregistration is not required. This year’s tour is sponsored by Southern SARE, the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the Piedmont Beginning Farmers Development Partnership.

    For more information about sustainable agriculture at UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, visit For more information about the tour, contact UGA Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator Julia Gaskin at .

Merritt Melancon is a public relations manager with UGA's Terry College of Business and previously served as a public relations coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Extension.

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