Sweet Homegrown Alabama
June 8 - September 30
State Symbol Scavenger Hunt
Do you know why Alabama is called the “Yellowhammer State?” Do you know what our state mineral is? What about our state wildflower? As you explore the Garden this summer and fall, be sure to check out our State Symbol Scavenger Hunt! We’ve posted informative signs throughout the Garden that offer fun facts about many of our state symbols.
View a replica of George Washington Carver’s Jesup Wagon
The Jesup Agricultural Wagon was the first vehicle used in Tuskegee Institute’s Movable School, an outreach effort of the Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) aimed at bringing modern agricultural tools and methods to rural areas and people in Alabama. Named for Morris K. Jesup, who funded the initial construction and acquisition of mules, rigging, and instructional materials, the wagon was designed by George Washington Carver.
Fully equipped, the Jesup Wagon carried a revolving churn, butter mold, diverse cultivator, planters, a cotton chopper, plows, different kinds of fertilizers, seeds, foodstuffs, a milk tester, and a cream separator, as well as a number of charts and demonstration materials. Recommended breeds of cows and chickens, well-developed ears of corn, stalks of cotton, bundles of oats and seeds, and garden products were included, all based on the locality visited and the season of the year.
Learn more at encyclopediaofalabama.org.
Learn about heirloom plants and traditional crops
The Herb Garden has collections of culinary, medicinal, and dye herbs which all played an important role in the development of our state. We’ll also highlight native plants that were traditionally used for medicinal purposes along the Mathews Nature Trail. The Demonstration Vegetable Garden and Children’s Garden will also feature heirloom plants and traditional crops.
THE THREE SISTERS: CORN, BEANS, AND SQUASH
Corn, beans, and squash are called the “three sisters.” Native Americans inter-planted this trio because they thrive together:
- The cornstalk provides support for the bean plant
- The bean plant pulls nitrogen from the air and brings it to the soil
- The large leaves of the squash plant create a living mulch that shades the soil, keeping it cool and moist and preventing weeds
- Approximately half of the peanuts grown in the United States are grown within a 100-mile radius of Dothan, Alabama
- The peanut is unusual because it flowers above the ground, but fruits below the ground
- 20% of the world’s peanut production is used in candy
- Peanuts may be a favorite food, but we’ve found many uses for their shells too! You might find peanut shells in kitty litter, wallboard, fireplace logs, paper, animal feed and sometimes as fuel for power plants!
Learn more fun facts at the Alabama Peanut Producers Association website.