West Madison Hort Day: flute music, sauerkraut, flowers, fruits and veggies

Learn how to make sauerkraut while listening to the Madison Flute Club perform their spring concert during the annual Urban Horticultural Field Day set for Saturday, Aug. 20 at UW-Madison’s West Madison Agricultural Research Station. The Madison Flute Club plays at 10:30 in the garden, while visitors are welcome to take in a wide range of demonstrations and activities from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., including tips on growing fruits, vegetables and flowers, as well as opportunities to visit with horticultural experts with various specialties.

Early arrivers can join David Drake, UW-Madison Extension Wildlife Specialist, and Marsha Lisitza, a local bird expert, for the First Annual Bird Count and the Beginners Bird Walk and Bird Survey 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. Bring your binoculars and meet in the parking lot next to the garden.

Youth of all ages may enjoy “Silly Soil and Crazy Caterpillar” Sundaes, a treasure hunt and UV bead making among other amusements at the field day. An entire tent is devoted to children’s activities, including a plant scavenger hunt, nature solar prints, vegetable art and face painting. Children’s T-shirts with “Mama and Baby Tomato” will be sold for $5.00. All proceeds from sales will be used to support the station’s trial garden.

Visitors can also see a large collection of the newest annual flowers and vegetables, a large native perennial garden and a home-size rain garden. Handouts on all of the specialty gardens will be available and are free. Garden guides and other publications will be available for a donation. A cookbook and garden resource guide “Garden to Table,” written by West Madison’s Master Gardener volunteers, will be for sale. The authors will be present to discuss the guide and recipes.

UW—Extension specialists will be on-site to consult on insects and plant diseases, so bring your questions, as well as your insects and plant diseases samples in plastic bags for identification. Visitors can also talk to organic gardening student interns and learn first-hand the techniques for growing their own vegetables organically. And just for fun, visitor can learn how to grow square-shaped watermelon, and squash.

There will also be demonstrations on how to attract native bees to pollinate the fruits, vegetables and flowers in your yard; how to build a solar food dehydrator; and how to set up a container garden. A raised, accessible garden bed will be installed, and a raised bed expert will be on hand to answer questions about it.
The field day runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is sponsored by UW—West Madison Agricultural Research Station staff, researchers at the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin—Extension staff, and Master Gardener volunteers.

The West Madison Agricultural Research Station is located at 8502 Mineral Point Road, about a mile west of the beltline. Entrance and Parking are free, but donations are encouraged to support the continuation of the station’s research and outreach programs.

Check the station’s web site or blog for more information and a map: and