Pollinators, heirlooms and high tunnels headline free Jefferson Garden tour

By Linda Geist

University of Missouri Extension

University of Missouri showcases its Jefferson Farm and Garden and nearby South Farm 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. July 12, with parking at Jefferson Farm and Garden, 4800 E. New Haven Road, Columbia.

The free afternoon tour includes a variety of vegetable and flower demonstrations, said Tim Reinbott, director of field operations and assistant director of MU’s Agricultural Experiment Station, a statewide network of research farms operated by the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

The tour includes something for everyone, including a movable high tunnel demonstration, said Reinbott. These wheeled tunnels allow intensive cropping rotation for longer growing seasons, increased yields and protection of crops from the elements.

Tourgoers also can learn about heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers, and grafting tomatoes. MU Extension state horticulturist David Trinklein will guide tours of vegetable and flower research plots. Demonstration gardens by MU Extension Master Gardeners give visitors an opportunity to learn about new varieties. State turfgrass specialist Lee Miller and his team of researchers will show their work also.

MU researchers will talk about pollinator preservation efforts, including the butterfly house and a monarch butterfly way station.

With Japanese beetles nearing their peak in mid-Missouri, tourgoers will hear ways to control this pest that damages landscape plants and bushes as well as trees, gardens and row crops.

The event is free, but visitors are asked to RSVP to Kate at 573-882-4450.