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.
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.
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 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.
Follow this link to the 2011 Vegetable Evaluations: 2011 Vegetable Evaluations
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.
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.
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
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.
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.