Cube-shaped fruit and a whole lot more: Urban Horticulture field day Saturday at West Madison

Ever wish you could grow cube-shaped fruit? Here’s your chance to learn how.

Experts will be on hand at the Urban Horticultural Field Day on Aug. 21 to teach the art of coaxing watermelons, pumpkins and squash to grow in cubes. The free event, which features tours of the station’s specialty gardens, samples of fresh produce and lots of face-time with gardening experts, runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the UW-Madison’s West Madison Agricultural Research Station, 8502 Mineral Point Road, about a mile west of the beltline.

At the field day, visitors will be encouraged to explore the station’s numerous trial and demonstration gardens, which include vegetable gardens, annual flower gardens, native perennial garden and rain garden, as well as plots with organic apples, cover crops and wine and table grapes.

There will be UW-Extension specialists and master gardeners stationed throughout the grounds to answer questions about plant varieties, soil types, weeds, insects and plant diseases. To have specific insects or plant diseases identified, just bring along samples in plastic bags. Others will offer advice on attracting native pollinators, creating container gardens and building wheelchair accessible, raised-bed gardens.

During the day, be sure to stop by the sampling tent for bites of melons, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and fresh salsa. Pieces of solar dried fruits and vegetables will also be available for tasting, along with information about how to build a solar dehydrator.

For those hungry for more, cooking kits for salsa, tomato sauce, and gazpacho will be available for purchase, as well as peppers, and organic potatoes of various colors and sizes, garlic cloves for planting and cooking, and cut flowers.

Children will be able to take part in a plant scavenger hunt, create nature solar prints, make UV bead bracelets and more.

Free handouts will be available for most specialty gardens. Other garden guides and publications will be available for a donation. West Madison’s master gardeners will also be on-site selling “Garden to Table,” a gardening guide and recipe book they published.

The Urban Horticulture Field Day is a joint project of the West Madison Agricultural Research Station staff, University of Wisconsin-Extension specialists, Master Gardener Volunteers and researchers at the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
For more information, visit the station’s website or its blog.