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

2012 Vegetable Evaluations

‘Polar Bear Pumpkins’

Each year we trial annual fruits and vegetables. We evaluate new and old varieties side by side. During the season we make careful notation of flowering dates, fruit set dates, and first ripe fruits. In addition we evaluate plant habit, health, insect pressure, and taste. Our goal is to find out what varieties do best under our weather conditions here in Wisconsin.
Our data is used by both the home and market gardener to determine what to grow.

This years evaluations include a brief summary of weather conditions here at the station.

2012 UW-WMARS Vegetable Evaluations

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 http://learningstore.uwex.edu/Cucumber-Beetles-P557.aspx  and western corn rootworm adults http://hort.uwex.edu/articles/corn-rootworms.  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(http://hort.uwex.edu/articles/vine-crops-disorder-bacterial-wilt-0), 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.

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.

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

Vegetable Evaluations – Summer 2010

Vegetable trials at the station were a real trial this year.  Rain totals for the summer were over 37 inches.   The heat and humidity were conducive to a range of diseases and strange physiological problems.  Tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers were prone to many undiagnosed spots, lesions, and steaks, not including those identified diseases

'Speckled Hound'  Winter Squash

'Speckled Hound' Winter Squash

This is the first year we have ever seen so much rust in sweet corn, that when we picked the corn we were covered with rust “dust”.  One of our volunteers was walking around with a rusty, red nose.

'Mars' Onion

'Mars' Onion

However, we did find many of the vegetables we were trialing performed quite well, the fruit was very flavorful, and productive.   We did need a machete to cut our way through the cucumber, squash, and pumpkin vines, but the insects seemed to be fewer than in past years.

'Sugarsnax 54'

'Sugarsnax 54'

The link below will include over 100 different selections of vegetables that we trialed in 2010.   We will be trailing as many vegetables again in 2011 and look forward to many new selections.

Vegetable Evaluation 2010