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tomato trial 2014 web.jpg
by Julie Weisenhorn, University of Minnesota Extension educator, horticulture


This year, one crop being trialed by Extension Master Gardeners is patio tomatoes. These are tomatoes developed to be grown in containers - smaller, more compact and prolific producers. Extension Master Gardener volunteers Clarie Kari, Lynn Meyer, and Anita Hoaglund, along with Extension educator Julie Weisenhorn, planted the trial tomatoes in large containers in the outdoor classroom of the Hort Science Display Garden on the St. Paul campus. The team is asking the public to rate the tomatoes via an online survey. Visitors can click on a QR Code with their smart phone or type in the survey link. The Extension Master Gardener campus trials team is looking forward to seeing how using this technology in the garden might help gather the public's taste preferences for the patio tomatoes.

 

The Variety of Broccoli You Eat May Make a Difference

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Thumbnail image for RROC_Brassica_Trials.jpgMaster Gardeners don't just experiment with plant varieties on their own, they assist University of Minnesota faculty with research. Beginning in 2009, Master Gardeners in Dakota County aided Extension horticulturist Dr. Vince Fritz on a Brassica research project. The project set out to evaluate variety performance and to characterize each variety's relative health benefit based on the variety's phytonutrient concentration. Vegetables with high phytonutrient concentrations are thought to have preventative benefits against some forms of cancer. The research is directly connected to a collaborative study Dr. Fritz is conducting with the U's Masonic Cancer Center.

Master Gardeners helped to plant and maintain the trial plots at the University of Minnesota's Rosemount Research and Outreach Center (RROC). They also assisted with data collection and as co-educators about the research during annual open house events at the RROC. Later this year a variety trial report will be published. The report will include relative phytonutrient concentrations in each of the varieties trialed.

Dr. Fritz says of the Master Gardener volunteers, "I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the Master Gardeners in Dakota County over the years. Their enthusiasm, desire to learn, and desire to 'pass it on' is contagious."

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