I've been to the Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable Conference. Here's a few things I learned:
- Grafting tomatoes and/or melons may be profitable for some KY growers. Whoda thunk?
- Some onions can be fall planted, overwintered using straw, and then harvested before onions planted in the spring. You might get a full month earlier. And not all onions work. But it's interesting, nonetheless.
- There were SO MANY Farmers' Market producers at the meeting, it tells me there is a big shift away from wholesaling fruits and vegetables to retailing -- no doubt cash-money and retail price is nice, but marketing costs go way up as well. We have about 120 Farmers' Markets in KY (and we have 120 counties!).
- I heard a great presentation on soils, better than I've ever heard before. Soils and soil chemistry as a topic is not very sexy to people. This guy's presentation REALLY made it fun -- I'm sure the presenter had a lot to do with it. He was Joe Boggs with OSU Extension.
- I also learned that we should use more tropicals OUTSIDE!. The presenter was a fella named Irvin Etienne, who works up north of us at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (they have extensive gardens). I saw some pictures of really cool bananas with red veins, some wonderful Cannas (he likes the Futurity series for lots of blooms), Elephant ears, and papyrus. He thought coleus was wonderful. He told us how to overwinter some of these as well.
- There was a lot of sessions on design, which I can't get my mind around. So unfortunately, I really didn't take a lot of that home.