Favorites — WI 55, King of the North, Wisconsin Lakes, Pride of Wisconsin, Sheboygan, and Beaver Dam — will be sold
GREEN BAY – Spring must surely be here because it is nearly time for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s annual Heirloom Vegetable Plant Sale.
UW-Green Bay’s Natural and Applied Sciences (NAS) program is holding this year’s event Saturday, May 12, 2018 at the Lab Sciences Greenhouse located on campus at 2350 Lab Sciences Drive (off Nicolet Drive, Green Bay). Doors open at 9 a.m. with numbers passed out starting at 7 a.m. for those who don’t want to stand in line. 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 may want to arrive early, but there is always an excellent selection of tomatoes, herbs, and vegetables for those who want to wait until after the rush. The sale ends at 3 p.m.
Unlike other vegetable sales, the UWGB 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 and 50 varieties of peppers, including several bell peppers, as well as mild, medium, hot and scorching hot peppers. There is also a variety of vegetables, lettuce, several different basils, and a collection of flowers. Lists of plants offered and links to descriptions can be found, here.
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 source those varieties best adapted to our northern growing conditions. The sale also offers varieties that you aren’t likely to find elsewhere, including unique vegetables, “old timey” flowers, and, of course, lots of tomatoes and peppers for salsa crafters, home canners, and sandwich and salad artists.
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 raised more than $10,000 and supported research on the genetics of wild rice and invasive Phragmites, a study of local aquifer composition and water quality, a survey of the emerald ash borer on the Cofrin Arboretum, collection and analysis of microplastics in the Bay of Green Bay, migration ecology of Lake Whitefish, and development of a website to understand fish diversity in relation to aquatic invasive species. The funds also allow students to travel to scientific meetings and brought internationally recognized scholars to UW-Green Bay for our seminar series.