Natalie Ruth Bumgarner, Ph.D.

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Assistant Professor
  Plant Sciences
Phone: (865) 974-7308

Biographical sketch

Dr. Natalie Bumgarner is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in the Plant Sciences Department. She received her undergraduate and Master’s degrees from West Virginia University and her PhD from Ohio State University. Before coming to University of Tennessee in 2014, Natalie worked with CropKing, Inc. where she did applied research and provided technical support to greenhouse vegetable growers. Natalie’s current responsibilities include developing outreach and teaching materials as well as conducting applied research that together support the success of the many citizens of Tennessee who grow vegetables, fruits, turfgrass and ornamental plants. She also conducts many training programs for citizens and agents throughout the year and serves as the statewide coordinator for the Tennessee Extension Master Gardener program that engages nearly 2,500 active volunteers to support horticulture outreach within county Extension programs across the state.

Her current areas of emphasis include developing new training materials to support the Master Gardener program as well as vegetable garden and sustainable landscape educational resources. In terms of applied research, Natalie conducts vegetable production research in Knoxville and co-leads a statewide citizen science home garden variety trial program. She is also currently leading a curriculum development grant for secondary teachers to support instruction in controlled environment food production.

Although officially stationed at UTIA in Knoxville, Natalie has a statewide Extension appointment and collaborates with regional and county staff along with volunteers across Tennessee as well as several national consumer horticulture efforts. It is these collaborations that are the best part of the job for her. In fact, a description of her favorite day on the job would always include “volunteers, vegetables (or ornamentals) and the opportunity to work with county agents to support local horticulture outreach in Tennessee”.

Recent Publications


B.S., West Virginia University
M.S., West Virginia University
Ph.D., Ohio State University


Microgreens are tiny plants that add zest to salads and main dishes, and are popular with chefs and customers at high-end restaurants.  
Home Tomato Production
UT Extension shares tips that can enhance the quality of the tomatoes you grow in your garden.