OLATHE, Kans. — Come see the hottest, newest plants while enjoying cool classes in air conditioned comfort and icy cold water while wandering the field trials. Learn about the latest and greatest before it ever hits the garden centers. It’s all here at the K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Center’s Field Day, Saturday, July 27, from 8 a.m. – 3 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 grass, 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. The research trials show which flowers can withstand the Kansas City climate. The trials illustrate that not all varieties are created equal.
* Container Garden Trials – New plants for patio planters and front porch use.  Performance in a planter is much different than in the ground. See which flowers are best for pots and which ones are best planted in the ground.
* Crepe Myrtle Trials – this southern plant is finding its place in the KC landscape.  Compare a number of varieties and find the one for you.
Highlights – Vegetable Area
* Vegetables in Containers – Don’t have space for a garden? Come find out about growing vegetables in pots. International vegetable breeders are now busy breeding a whole new array of vegetable varieties specifically for growing in pots. In the past our only choice was to use a field or garden variety and try to control its growth in a pot. We now have choices in varieties bred to have the specific growth habit characteristics for pots on the patio or balcony of a loft apartment.
* Grafted Tomatoes – This latest trend is breathing new-life into heirloom tomatoes. Learn more about this process see how they compare.
* Backyard Garden Demonstration Garden – People are becoming more health conscious. They are moving towards a more vegetarian diet and reducing their consumption of meat. Come talk with Extension Master Gardeners and see what you can grow in your garden to provide plant-based protein in your diet.
* Beans! – They’re high in fiber, antioxidants and protein. Studies show they can help you trim your waistline. No matter what time of year, beans are always an appropriate dish on any table. Extension Master Food Volunteers will offer exciting recipes that you can incorporate into your everyday meal plans.
Free soil tests
Johnson County residents can bring their soil and get one free soil test per Johnson County address, complements of 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.