2012 – Field Conditions and Vegetable Review

Ruby King-Sweet Bell Pepper

The 2013 season will soon be upon us and looking back on last years field trials I am hoping for moisture. We have taken some time to review last years field conditions and the outcome of the Vegetable Trials. Please visit the following link which includes a review of the 2012 season and an overview of top performing veggies.

2012 Site Conditions and Vegetable Review

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.

Beneficial Insects

Tachinid fly on spearmint

In the past two weeks we have noticed a large populations of many insects in the garden. Along with all the destructive pests, we have also been lucky to have attracted many beneficials. Pictured above is a Tachinid fly. This beneficial insect is  parasitic toward caterpillars and larvae of some other pest species including various cabbage worms. We have seen huge populations particularly on perennial herb plants. Spearmint and Oregano seem to be highly attractant to these flies.  We are very glad to have attracted these insects to the garden. Even if they provide a minimal degree of pest control we feel that there presence is important to managing our garden sustainably. See link http://www.entomology.wisc.edu/mbcn/kyf409.html

The garden is planted!

The Verbena, Lantana, and Geraniums in this picture are a few of the 388 cultivars of flowers being trialed this year.

The University Display Garden is planted and freshly mulched. This year we are trialing a total of 388 cultivars of annual flowers and approximately 127 varieties of vegetables and other food crops. With the help of irrigation the plants are settling in nicely. We continue to hope for rain.

Please come and see our selections grow throughout the summer.

Lasagna garden planting 5/31/12

Lasagna Garden Installation 5/3/12 -Roger Reynolds and volunteer

On May 3, 2012 garden staff assisted in the creation of a Lasagna Garden at the University Display Gardens. This demonstration garden will showcase a new and popular method for homeowners to convert existing lawn or overrun garden area into a productive garden space.

The process starts by laying a layer of cardboard on the ground and covering with 18in of clean alfalfa hay. In total about 3300lbs of hay was added on top of our 16 x 40 ft bed. We applied the hay on May 3, 2012 and in the past three weeks we have kept it wet to encourage the decomposition process. On May 31, 2012 the garden will be planted by project coordinator Roger Reynolds. Roger has done many of these gardens around the state and will be  planting the bed in a mix of vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers. It is intended to demonstrate that a garden can be both decorative and functional.

Join Roger on May 31, 2012 as he plants his Frank Loyd Wright inspired design. He will be in the garden from 2-6pm to answer questions and give advice on this system of gardening.

Family Horticulture Day

You might want to grab a notebook, camera and tote bag before you head to Family Horticulture Day on May 14 at the University of Wisconsin’s West Madison Agricultural Research Station.
You’ll be bringing home a bounty of ideas and samples, provided by research station staff, Extension specialists, Master Gardener volunteers and UW students.
Those experts will be staffing a variety of outdoor and indoor displays and demonstrations, all geared toward helping you grow your greatest garden ever—and the most colorful.
A Beauty and the Beet display will show an underappreciated vegetable in unexpected hues and offer samples of organic golden beet seed.
The Popcorn Challenge will let you compare the textures of red, yellow and black kernels. You’ll also have a chance to sample red, white and yellow carrots, and afterwards, you can clear you palate with ice cream made with Wisconsin strawberries and raspberries.
You can also learn how to grow purple, red and yellow potatoes in a pot or garbage can—one of several demonstrations focused on planting and maintaining a kitchen garden in a small space—and take home seeds and seedlings to grow the potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, squash and pumpkins.
Experts will also show how to create inexpensive, attractive  “island gardens” to attract native pollinators that can give a big boost to vegetables, flowers, and fruit trees.
Late blight-resistant tomatoes seedlings and unique peppers will be available for sale. And the Wisconsin Hardy Plant Society will be holding their annual sale during the field day.
The event is for all ages. Kids can take home herbs to plant a “fragrance garden,” get close to hissing cockroaches and other intriguing bugs in the Wisconsin Insect Ambassadors collection, extract DNA glop from wheat and create a seed-filled shaken drum.
Admission and parking are free. A small donation will be requested for plants and seeds . There’s roadwork going on near the station, it’s easy to get through.
Family Horticulture Day runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The West Madison Agricultural Research Station is located about a mile west of the Beltline at 8502 Mineral Point Road. More information and directions to the gardens are available   http://universitydisplaygardens
You may also down load the flier for more information.  Family Hort Day flier2011
Questions call: 608-262-2257 and check out our listings on the phone or talk to Judy or Theresa.

Evening Walk – Vegetables – New and Old

An evening garden walk showcasing a multitude of vegetable cultivars will be held from 6:00-7:30 p.m. on August 4th at the West Madison Agricultural Research Station. Come learn about new vegetables on the market, as well as some much-loved heirloom varieties. If you have questions about growing, harvesting, or storing vegetables, this is your chance to find out how! This tour will be led by Assistant Superintendent Judith Reith-Rozelle, and is open to the public (donation requested).  For complete details about this and other garden walks, please visit www.cals.wisc.edu/westmad/garden/.