Wisconsin Public Television’s Garden Expo, in its 24th year, was held February 10-12. The warm weather invited 10’s of 1000’s to attend. Horticulture staff who participated include Julie Dawson, Eileen Nelson, Madeline Wimmer, Amaya Atucha. Also participating: Ben Futa, Elin Meliska and Abby Granite of the Allen Centennial Garden, Johanna Oosterwyk from The DC Smith Greenhouse, Mike Maddox, Susan Mahr and Amy Freidig of the Master Gardener Program.
Tucked behind campus’ Walnut Street Greenhouses sits a nondescript brick building known colloquially as the “Carrot and Beet Lab.” It doesn’t look like much, but its exterior tells the story of an important campus legacy. Etched into its walls are various names, dates and symbols carved by UW-Madison faculty, staff and students who were—or are—involved in the university’s carrot and beet breeding research efforts.name.
The small building, built in 1910, originally functioned as a barn to house campus animals. In 1949, it was converted into a cooler to store carrot, beet and onion roots by Warren “Buck” Gabelman, who grew into an internationally respected plant breeder over the course of his 42 years with the Department of Horticulture. Ever since, the facility has functioned as a common space for campus’ various vegetable breeding labs.
Irwin Goldman, professor and chair of the horticulture department, recalls students and researchers nicknaming the building “The Clubhouse” which accurately portrays the building as a common ground used for lunch breaks, yard games, and conversation.
“Yes, it’s a campus building. Yes, it’s a place where we house our research materials, but it is also a gathering place, a place for people to play cards at lunch time and park their bikes,” says Goldman, who has been in charge of the Carrot and Beet Lab for the past 24 years.
From early on, as students and researchers moved on from the lab, they began carving their names on the south-facing wall to commemorate their time spent there. Thus, a new tradition was born.
One of the bricks bears the name of Robert Kane, who works as a plant breeder in the horticulture department. According to Kane, who has witnessed the evolution of the wall over time, the names are like a family tree of campus’ vegetable breeders. While each engraving represents a unique individual, the wall gives viewers a sense of the depth of the Lab’s alumni and current membership and the cumulative impact of their efforts.
“I’ve heard UW-Madison referred to as ‘the well’ of horticulture because of its variety and depth of talent,” says Kane. “If researchers needed anything—from someone with decades of professional experience to a fresh pair of eyes—they would go to ‘the well’ to recruit new team members.”
Upon close inspection, the wall contains the names of a number of veggie celebrities such as Warren Gabelman, Rodger Freeman, Fred Bliss and JF “Rick” Watson II. All trained at UW-Madison and carved their names before going on to make influential contributions to the world of agriculture.
“These are people in our field who are now legendary figures, but who all once trained there in the modest little place called the Carrot and Beet Lab,” says Goldman.
The carving tradition still lives on today. With the names of such famous predecessors written just to the left or the right of fresh signatures, one can’t help but wonder what incredible accomplishments these recent graduates might achieve.
Originally posted by: Gilliane Davison, student employee, CALS Office of External Relations in ecals newsletter Friday, August 5th, 2016
WASHINGTON, July 6, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Extension specialists and Master Gardeners from the Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Extension and the University of Wisconsin-Extension will partner with Agriculture is America (AgIsAmerica), a national communications initiative aimed at highlighting the nation’s land-grant institutions, to host a Twitter Town Hall on July 8 at 2 PM ET.
The “HortLegs and More” team participated in the CrazyLegs Classic race the eighth consecutive year.
1. It’s not a nut. Nutmeg is the seed kernel inside a yellow fruit of the nutmeg tree, an evergreen native to the Molucca Islands (sometimes called the Spice Islands) of Indonesia. Whole nutmeg seeds are oval, brown and about an inch long, with a nutty aroma and taste—but they don’t pose a risk to people with nut allergies.
2. This beloved holiday spice can be dangerous.But only in fairly large amounts. It takes two tablespoons or more to produce symptoms of nutmeg poisoning, toxicologists say. Those symptoms may include acute nausea, dry mouth, dizziness and a slowdown of brain function to the point where victims experience blackouts. Higher doses can cause shock and hallucinations.
3. That’s due to the nutmeg’s essential oil.Myristica, as the oil is called, contains myristicin, a narcotic that functions in the plant as a natural insecticide. Nutmeg also—as do its frequent recipe companions, cinnamon and clove—acts as an antibiotic.
4. Nutmeg has other medicinal properties as well. Consumed in small doses, nutmeg can serve as a digestive aid in reducing flatulence and indigestion, and can also help treat nausea and diarrhea as well as lower blood pressure. Applied topically, it can offer pain relief and has been used for rheumatism, mouth sores and toothache.
5. Nutmeg was more valuable than Manhattan. By the 16th century, nutmeg—coveted as a flavoring, hallucinogen, alleged aphrodisiac and deterrent to the plague—was being sold by European traders at a 6,000 percent markup. The Dutch soon wrested control of all the nutmeg-producing Moluccas except for a tiny island called Run, which was controlled by the British. At that time, Run seemed more valuable than Manhattan, then under Dutch control as New Amsterdam. In order to seal their nutmeg monopoly, the Dutch gave the British New Amsterdam in exchange for Run. It seemed like a good idea.
Johanna Oosterwyk, a faculty associate in the Department of Horticulture, is manager of the D.C. Smith Greenhouse, a facility that provides plant-growing space for the instructional needs of departments and programs of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
This story was originally published in the Fall 2015 issue of Grow magazine.
Not only does she need a deep understanding of plant care and cultivation, but she needs to know a thing or two about plumbing and mechanics—enough to keep the facility’s hoses, water filters, fertilizer injectors and other key pieces of equipment up and running. (For big problems she calls UW’s Physical Plant.)
“I’m a Jill-of-all trades,” explains Oosterwyk, who took the manager position in 2007.
Her primary responsibilities are keeping the plants healthy, supervising the greenhouse staff and consulting with UW faculty and staff on greenhouse space availability and scheduling. Oosterwyk also plans and runs a large number of outreach and extension activities to promote the greenhouse as a destination and resource for instruction in plant sciences. And she teaches classes for the Department of Horticulture—including lectures and labs—on greenhouse production, ornamental plants and other topics.
She credits her dedicated crew of student employees for making a great job even better. They help her water plants, host events and give tours.
“They are my extra eyes and ears in the greenhouse, letting me know when something needs attention,” she says.