Learn about growing garlic at Yard, Garden Area at Penn State's Ag Progress Days

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- New at the Yard and Garden area at Penn State's Ag Progress Days, Aug. 16-18, visitors can learn about growing garlic, as well as flower arranging, growing herbs, square-foot gardening, hydroponics, pollinators and creating habitat for bees and butterflies, high-tunnels, potato varieties -- and have their questions about gardening answered by experts.

The Yard and Garden area this year will include information on garlic, an easy-to-grow crop that is planted during the cooler temperatures of October. Penn State Master Gardeners will provide tips on selection, planting and harvesting. Guests may also enjoy sampling different varieties of garlic.

A presentation on herbs, slated for Wednesday, was very popular when it debuted last year at Ag Progress Days. It includes a discussion about simple harvesting and preserving methods so you can grow your own herbs for year-round enjoyment. Visitors will be urged to imagine how special their dishes will taste this winter with their own herbs enhancing the flavor of culinary creations.

Again this year, the benefits of creating pollinator-friendly landscapes will be a focus of the Yard and Garden area.

The demonstration plots at the Yard and Garden area are now seven years old, and their flowers and plantings are attracting and nourishing huge numbers of native bees, butterflies and other pollinators. As pollinators continue to be in jeopardy, Penn State Master Gardeners teamed with horticulture faculty members to create and nurture the gardens -- located at the end of 11th Street at the show site -- to demonstrate that supplying pollinators with food and habitat can be beautiful.

The demonstration plots serve as living proof that the average gardener can do something to attract and help pollinators. Planting these flowers and other host plants is well within the average Pennsylvania gardener's ability.

To help support and propagate these beneficial insects, Penn State Master Gardeners offer the Pollinator Friendly Garden Certification program, which teaches homeowners and gardeners to certify their landscapes as pollinator-friendly.

The certification includes such steps as planting a year-round native garden of diverse and abundant plants, maintaining a parcel of wild and undisturbed vegetation, installing bee nests and minimizing pesticide use.

Visitors who sign up to complete the four-step certification process (which carries a $10 fee) will be eligible to purchase a pollinator-friendly sign for their property.

Honeybee demonstrations also will be conducted. Located adjacent to the raised garden beds will be an observation beehive. Experts from the Pennsylvania State Beekeeper's Association and Penn State Extension will be on hand to provide guidance and answer questions. Information will be available on Penn State Extension's innovative online course, Beekeeping 101.

For more curious and adventurous visitors who'd like to gain a deeper understanding of beekeeping, a small bee yard from which they can watch a beekeeper open hives and talk about the honey bees' daily activities will be located up the hill from the honey bee demonstration area.

Master Gardeners will be on hand in the Yard and Garden Tent to answer any general questions about horticulture and gardening. In addition, experts from Penn State's departments of plant science, plant pathology and entomology will offer advice and help solve visitors' plant and pest problems. They will field questions and identify insects brought by visitors.

The Yard and Garden area also will highlight the benefits of growing plants in high tunnels and backyard high tunnels, which are greenhouse-like structures that often enable growers to fine-tune the growth environment and extend the growing season.

Finally, the area will feature potato crops, offering multiple potato varieties growing in the soil and freshly dug tubers. Visitors can see some of the potato varieties grown in Pennsylvania as well as some new varieties. Freshly harvested potato samples will be on display.

The following one-hour presentations are scheduled at the Yard and Garden Area:

Monday, Aug. 16

1 p.m. -- Flower-Arranging Demonstration

2 p.m. -- Pollinator Gardening Presentation

Wednesday, Aug. 17

10 a.m. -- Harvesting & Preserving Wild Herbs

11 a.m. -- Flower-Arranging Demonstration

2 p.m. -- Flower-Arranging Demonstration

6 p.m. -- Pollinator Gardening Presentation

Thursday, Aug. 18

11 a.m. -- Flower-Arranging Demonstration

2 p.m. -- Flower-Arranging Demonstration                                   

Sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 16; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 17; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 18. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website at http://apd.psu.edu. Twitter users can find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogressdays, and Facebook users can find the event here.

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Last Updated July 27, 2016