Tobacco, corn and peanut plants are not exactly what visitors to downtown Raleigh might expect to see in planters near the State Capitol, but these and other field crops are offering many visitors a unique opportunity to see some of North Carolina’s top agricultural crops up close.
The plants, which are in large, permanent concrete planters lining the mall outside the N.C. Museum of History, are attracting a lot of attention from visitors. Signs in the planters give details about the crops and the history behind how some of the plants are grouped together. It is not uncommon to see folks gathered around the signs talking about the different plants.
The first-time display is a way for the museum to take a history lesson outside and also show some of the crops grown in North Carolina.
Cotton, soybeans, peanuts, beans, corn, sorghum and tobacco replaced root-bound maple trees and azaleas in the planters. The trees and bushes were dying in the less-than-ideal environment, so curators with the museum thought it would be a good location to showcase some of North Carolina’s agricultural crops. The museum already features examples of North Carolina’s agricultural history and even displays a restored 1943 LA John Deere tractor owned by Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.
To ensure the crops got off to a good start and remained productive, agonomist Don Nicholson with the department’s Agronomic Division collected soil samples to test for nutrient content and soil structure. The proper nutrients were applied and the plants went into the ground.
Check out this video with assistant curator Jeff Currie and Nicholson about the outdoor gardens.