Garden Expo/Wisconsin Grape Growers Association – Table Grape and Pruning Program

Dormant season pruning, summer vine management and trellising, and summer pruning are three of the most important techniques a grower needs to master if he or she is to grow healthy and productive grapes.

09Sept1SomersetPortions of the presentation below were presented at the Wisconsin Commercial Fruit and Vegetable Conference and modified for the Wisconsin Garden Expo program.

The second presentation is the first section of the Wisconsin Garden Expo program and focuses on Seedless Table Grape production at the UW-Madison, West Madison Ag. Research Station.

garden Expo.Beginning Pruning 6

Garden Expo Seedless Table Grapes 7

Seedless Table Grape Report


Trollhaugen Seedless Table Grape

The seedless table grape trial at the station, in the garden, began in 2007.  Fifteen varieties were planted in early June.  We were all optimistic and had great hopes that at least four or five of the varieties would over-winter and produce a great crop of seedless table grapes.  The hardiness zones for the grape varieties ranged from Zone 6 to Zone 4.   Only one selection was rated at Zone 4.  Most fell in the range of 5a or 5b.


Sommerset Seedless Table Grapes

Now five years later, we know that 12 of those original 15 varieties have over-wintered, and produced abundant fruit that ripens in our climate, and each has a unique and unusual taste.

Our annual seedless table grape report for 2012 has a detailed account of the varieties that have over-wintered, and a description of each variety.   Please check the link below for the annual report.


Vanessa Seedless Table Grapes

Vanessa Seedless Table Grapes

Food Bank Harvests

Food Bank Donation – Sept 2012

Each year we conduct trials and research on various fruits and vegetables. After data and seasonal evaluations are completed we donate our produce to local food banks. This year we gave our produce to two local pantries Middleton Outreach Ministry and the Lussier Center-Food from Friends program. In total we gave over 3000lbs of produce over a 5 week period. We are proud to work with volunteers and the organizations to provide the community with healthy food.

Agriculture 101-Wisconsin Army National Guard

Soldiers receive instruction on growing root crops from garden manager Brian Emerson

On July 26 soldiers from the Wisconsin Army National Guard received training at the University Display Gardens. The instruction focused on growing techniques for grapes, apples, and vegetable crops. The training was part of a week long series ‘Agriculture 101’ that was coordinated by the UW Babcock institute. The soldiers were given an overview of many agricultural topics to help prepare them for their service dealing with civilian farmers abroad.

Insects in the Garden


The heat of the year is starting to drive some populations of insects. We are starting to see increased populations of japanese beetles and large numbers of cucumber beetles  and western corn rootworm adults  The beetles are severely attacking the blooms and even the vegetative growth of the vine crops.

The cucumber beetle can be devastating in particular. Besides destroying blossoms they also transmit bacterial wilt(, which will ultimately lead to the death of infected plants. In our garden we have not seen the numbers like we have this year. Especially this early in the season. Because we manage our vegetables organically we have sprayed for the beetle using a certified organic compound Pyganic. This pesticide effectively knocks down the population. It does not have a long-term persistence in the environment.

Berries Ripening

Garden staff evaluating sugar content of Raspberries.

The mild winter and now the recent heat has led to a very early season for our berry crops. The Raspberries are ahead about 3 weeks from last season with the berries being of a smaller size. Varieties currently at or just past peak include Prelude, Encore, and Boyne.

Evaluating fruit set.

The blueberries are 2-3weeks ahead with what looks to be a good crop. Sugar content and flavor are developing nicely. ‘Duke’ is our earliest variety and has some of the largest berries. So far ‘Ka Bluey’ is the favorite of evaluators. Sugar content on the varieties currently range from 11-18%.

‘Duke’ blueberries.

The Best Vegetables for 2010

Each year we evaluate a large selection of vegetables varieties in our trial gardens.  A Power Point presentation has been developed that was given at Garden Expo in Madison.  The presentation covers most vegetables you might wish to grow in your gardens.

Savoy Cabbage

Savoy Cabbage

This presentation is attached below so that you may review the selections and choose those that are of interest to you. Descriptions and seed sources can be found on-line for the majority of the seeds, or check your local garden center for plants.

Mars onion

Mars Onion

Those varieties that are in bold and underlined are ones we either new to the trial this year and found to be outstanding performers, or are varieties that we have trialed for several years and found to be the best overall selections.

Varieties that are not in bold or underlined are very good performers from past years trials and will perform well in Wisconsin gardens.

Have fun, good luck growing the varieties we have listed if you so choose, and have fun eating these great treats.


2011 Best Vegetables Power Point

Best Peppers of 2010

Odessa Market - Sweet Pepper

Odessa Market - Sweet Pepper

We trialed ten sweet peppers and nine hot peppers this past summer.  Evaluations were completed on each variety.   The document attached contains descriptions of those we chose as the best performers.

Artis - Sweet Pepper

Atris - Sweet Pepper

Evaluations are based on weather tolerance, production rates and time to harvest, fruit taste, cooking quality, and disease resistance.

A few of the vegetables on the report have been trialed for several years.  An extremely productive plant will be trialed for more than one year to evaluate the selection during changing weather conditions.

Wisconsin Lakes - Sweet Pepper

Wisconsin Lakes - Sweet Pepper

Sweet/Hot Pepper Report 2010