Master Gardener raising produce to benefit research, community

By Chris Swick
August 06, 2015

If you attended the McPherson County 4-H Fair, you may have noticed the garden on the north end.

Jonie James, McPherson County Agriculture and Natural Resource Extension Agent, says that the garden this year is being tended to by the Master Gardner and a few friends, as opposed to being looked over by non-extension related gardeners as in past years. James says this garden is helping provide K-State with research opportunities.

“We use that garden to pull research off of tomato varieties and pepper varieties for K-State and their affiliates,” James said. “These varieties are brought into the garden and we test them against the standard. So, if they are going to release a new tomato variety, they want to see if that variety does as least as well as what is considered the standard for that variety.”

James adds that, with the help of the Master Gardener, they are considering the extension garden a community one.

“It's not divided into plots,” James said. “The produce that is grown there, we have been able to get most of the seeds through donation or funds that we have raised here as master gardeners. And that produced is used throughout the community and is being donated throughout the community. At the food bank, Mt. Hope Sanctuary, different senior centers.”

James says they are looking for volunteers to help maintain the garden. If you are interested, even if you don't know much about gardening, contact the extension office at 241-1523.