Master Gardener: Vegetable Trial Garden
This Vegetable Trail Garden is located at the Kansas State Agricultural Research Center – Hays, formerly called the Experiment Station. It is located just south of Hays Frontier Park, south of the US Highway 183 Alternate (bypass). If you head south on Main, continue south across the Alternate, then take the first drive on your left (east off of 240th Ave). The drive curves. When the road takes a right turn, you are at a place to park to view not just the Trial Garden but the Backyard Demonstration Garden as well.
This vegetable garden serves as a trial garden for vegetable varieties being tested by K-State horticulture specialists to help update the list of KSRE recommended vegetable varieties. The Hays garden has typically tested tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers. Other plants such as zucchini and yellow squash are also sometimes grown.
The vegetables are planted, maintained and harvested by the Ellis County Master Gardeners. The actual number of new varieties tested varies year by year. Trial cultivars are planted side by side and include cultivars of the same species that are accepted standards currently in the trade.
Evaluations of each plant are done throughout the growing season. Quantitative and qualitative data is carefully collected for each variety, recorded and then reported to K-State at the end of the season. After harvesting and documenting the performance information, the fruit can be used by the Master Gardener who is doing the data collection. When quantities allow, produce is often shared with all Master Gardeners and/or provided to local food banks.
Master Gardeners of Ellis County, Cottonwood District. More information available at www.cottonwood.ksu.edu or call 785-628-9430