Eggplants, tomatillos, cucumbers, kohlrabi, basil and 35 varieties of flowers
GREEN BAY – On your mark, get set, let’s garden! Organizers are busy growing thousands of plants in the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Lab Sciences Greenhouse to be ready in time for the annual Heirloom Vegetable Plant Sale. Proceeds benefit student research opportunities and activities such as habitat restoration, while bringing in scholars to UW-Green Bay.
Doors open at 9 a.m., Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 2350 Lab Sciences Drive, UW-Green Bay, with numbers passed out beginning at 7:00 a.m. for those who don’t want to stand in line. The sale ends at 3 p.m.
Most plants are $1.75, with some larger or specialty plants up to $3. Those looking for a specific variety of peppers, herbs or flowers might want to be there early, but there is always a great selection of tomatoes, herbs and vegetables for those who want to wait until after the rush.
Unlike other vegetable sales, the UW-Green Bay sale features unique and rare heirloom varieties. One of the goals of the sale is to introduce local gardeners to new varieties and protect agricultural biodiversity. This year the sale features 65 different varieties of tomatoes (4000+ plants), and 60 varieties of peppers (2000+ plants), including eight different bell peppers, as well as mild, medium, hot and scorching hot peppers. Eggplants, tomatillos, cucumbers, kohlrabi, lettuce, six kinds of basil and 35 varieties of flowers will also be for sale. Lists of plants offered and links to descriptions can be found at http://www.uwgb.edu/biodiversity/.
The sale offers only open pollinated “heirloom” varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers that were developed by gardeners over the last 200 years to satisfy the needs of Wisconsin gardeners. The names of some favorite varieties include WI 55, King of the North, Wisconsin Lakes, Pride of Wisconsin, Sheboygan and Beaver Dam, reflecting the dedication to sourcing those varieties best adapted to our northern growing conditions.
There are tomatoes to suit every garden and several new cherry tomatoes: Chocolate Cherry, Coyote, Galina, and Sweet Aperitif, as well as Minibel and Red Robin, two new tiny tabletop tomatoes. Another new variety, Longkeeper, can be stored fresh for 6-12 weeks or more, allowing gardeners to have garden fresh tomatoes well past Thanksgiving.
Among the old favorites is a Polish bell pepper variety called Marta Polka Pepper that is ideal for tough growing conditions. Trinidad Perfume is a sweet Habanaro spice pepper with lots of sweet flavor and a trace of heat. Hot Paper Lantern is a newer habanero that is fiery hot, but has been selected for northern gardens and is more productive than other Habanero peppers with fruits ripening up to 2 weeks earlier. Also stalked are the Carolina Reaper and a new Golden Ghost Pepper.
More varieties of Amaranths have been added for those who are smitten, including a beautiful coral weeping variety and two seed production varieties. All parts of the plant are edible. The small seeds are high in protein and can be used as grain, or cooked like rice or made into porridge, or popped like popcorn. The leaves are high in protein and vitamins and can be used in any recipe that calls for spinach.
The annual sale, sponsored by the Natural and Applied Sciences academic unit, began in 1997 with 300 plants for sale. Students benefit from the proceeds that are used to bring in scientists and other speakers that students otherwise would not be able to meet, and to support student research projects as well as travel to conferences where they can present results of their research and meet scientists in their fields. Last year’s sale supported habitat restoration in the Bay of Green Bay, population studies on federally endangered Piping Plovers, mapping 500 million year-old rock layers in Northeast Wisconsin and conservation biology of the federally threatened Dwarf Lake Iris (Iris lacustris).
About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs to 7,030 students. The University transforms lives and communities through exceptional and award-winning teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities and a problem-solving approach to education. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.