NDSU schedules garden tours, local foods event

North Dakota State University Extension

The North Dakota State University Department of Plant Sciences will host a public event called Plants, Local Foods and Outdoor Spaces on Tuesday, Aug. 9, from 3 to 7 p.m. in the NDSU Horticulture Research and Demonstration Gardens.

The gardens are on the NDSU campus at the corner of 18th Street and 12th Avenue North in Fargo.

The event will feature tours of the annual and perennial flower gardens. The gardens are an official All-America Selections bedding plant display garden.

Each year, the NDSU Department of Plant Sciences evaluates the performance of more than 200 varieties of annual bedding plants under harsh North Dakota growing conditions. Plants are rated for vigor, bloom and uniformity.

“New this year, we will have the general public vote on their favorite annual bedding plants,” said Esther McGinnis, NDSU Extension horticulturist and associate professor. “This is an example of how the public can help us with our research.”

A key feature of the event will be tours of the American Daylily Society Historic Collection, as NDSU has more daylily cultivars than any other public institution in the country.

A key feature of the event will be tours of the American Daylily Society Historic Collection. Lisa Schmidt from the Central North Dakota Daylily Society will give a special presentation on daylilies at 3:30 p.m.   

“We have scheduled this event earlier in the season than in previous years to celebrate our American Daylily Society Historic Collection as NDSU has more daylily cultivars than any other public institution in the country,” McGinnis said. “The collection is a virtual history of daylily breeding.”

In addition to garden tours, Don Kinzler, Extension horticulture agent for Cass County, will give a talk under the big tent. He will present at 4 p.m. on preparing the yard and garden for fall.

Children’s activities at 4 and 5 p.m. will include a special pollinator scavenger hunt.

Plant Sciences faculty, Alan Zuk and Deying Li, will give educational demonstrations on selecting the best turfgrass species and mixes, and on home irrigation at 5 and 5:30 p.m., respectively.

At 6 p.m., NDSU faculty will lead a special riding tour of fruit, vegetable and organic research projects. Faculty conduct research so growing fruits and vegetables in home gardens is easier to do.

Extension Master Gardeners will be on site to accept donations of fresh garden produce and canned goods to benefit the Fargo Emergency Food Pantry as part of their Veggies for the Pantry initiative.

“Bring your excess cucumbers, zucchinis and other fresh produce to the event to fight hunger,” McGinnis said. “We will also accept canned goods to benefit our local food pantries.”

Extension Master Gardeners also will be on hand to answer plant questions with Peg Skaflen presenting on uncommon uses for herbs at 5:30 p.m. under the big tent.

For more information, visit https://www.ndsu.edu/agriculture/academics/events/plants-local-foods-outdoor-spaces, or contact McGinnis at 701-231-7971 or esther.mcginnis@ndsu.edu.