Political Commentary

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

From the Garden Registrar: Workday Information; One More Summer Squash Recipe; Pick Your Tomatoes; Butterflies

Hello Gardeners,

WORKDAYS – The forecast for Saturday is rain, so we are planning a workday on Sunday, August 28, from 8am – 11am, at the Eagle Heights gardens. The task will be weeding wood-chipped areas. Here’s the link to sign up: http://doodle.com/poll/ewuuhw3akw6xr76i

Please remember – one gardener per plot is required to help with one workday during the gardening season. At this point, fewer than half of the gardeners have met their workday obligation for the year. We will continue to plan workdays well into the fall, depending on weather, but if you haven’t done your workday yet (or paid for the no-workday option, which can be done at any time), you really need to plan to do it as soon as possible before you forget about it altogether.

When you come to a workday, remember to bring water to drink, and protection from the sun, such as a hat and/or sunblock. Also bring garden gloves, if you have them or can borrow some. If you need to buy some, try a hardware store – the Ace Hardware on Midvale, near Hilldale, is probably the closest.

ONE MORE SUMMER SQUASH RECIPE, submitted by a long-time gardener and excellent cook:  http://damndelicious.net/2015/04/18/baked-zucchini-fries/

PICK YOUR TOMATOES – All over the garden, I am seeing luscious ripe tomatoes sitting and rotting. We seem to be having a particularly good year for tomatoes, and I know – if you have cherry tomatoes, you are getting literally thousands of them. Yes, it’s hard to keep up. But remember – you can put extras on the Share Shelf, or take them to a Food Pantry. 

Or find new ways to cook or preserve them: http://www.mamanatural.com/too-many-tomatoes/

SWALLOWTAIL BUTTERFLIES – We’re being visited by lots of the bigger butterflies lately, including Monarchs and Swallowtails. This is a very informative website if you'd like to try to identify the different insects: https://wisconsinbutterflies.org/butterfly Thank you to everybody who has flowers on their plots. The butterflies seem to especially like the zinnias.

Happy gardening, everyone.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

From the Garden Registrar: A Quote from Aldo Leopold, Composting on Your Plot, How to Freeze Tomatoes, and Attack of the Giant Zucchini

Hello Gardeners,

ALDO LEOPOLD, who was a professor at the University of Wisconsin, and one of the founders of the University Arboretum, wrote in his book, A Sand County Almanac, published in 1949,

“We abuse land because we see it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”

Although Leopold was not writing here about garden plots, this quote nevertheless describes the fundamental relationships in a community garden. We have relationships with our fellow-gardeners, with the vegetables we plant, with the plants we think of as weeds, with the animals that live in the garden, and with the soil in our plots. Our gardens were founded in the 1960’s – think of how many people have gardened in your plot before you. Think of how many people will (hopefully) garden in the same plot long after you are gone. We’re only here for a few years, but the land was here long before us and will be here long after us. Please take good care of your plot. 

COMPOSTING ON YOUR PLOT – If you get tired of hauling weeds to the weed pile (where you throw them into the middle of the weed pile, please, instead of dumping them on the edge), you might want to consider composting on your plot, as a number of experienced gardeners do. You can of course buy a compost bin or construct your own. But you can also use a heavy-duty black plastic bag to make compost in a spare corner of your plot. Here is some information on how to do that: http://www.plasticplace.com/blog/how-to-make-compost-in-a-garbage-bag

HOW TO FREEZE TOMATOES – Put your extra tomatoes in a plastic freezer bag or container and then put it in the freezer. That’s it. (Washing and drying your tomatoes first is not a bad idea.)  Freezing tomatoes is the fastest, easiest way to preserve them. You may be tired of looking at them now, but you’ll really appreciate them on a cold night in January, when you can use them to make soup, stew, casseroles, or sauce. If you want to peel them before you cook them, just hold each frozen tomato under running water, and you can slip the peel right off. 

ATTACK OF THE GIANT ZUCCHINI – More ideas for dealing with too many summer squash: http://ediblemadison.com/articles/view/attack-of-the-giant-zukes/c/full/

WORKDAYS – We are planning workdays this weekend at Eagle Heights on both Saturday and Sunday, 8am – 11am. The task will be working in public spaces, pulling out thistles and bindweed. Please bring gloves if you have them.

If you sign up for Saturday and it rains (which is the current forecast), that workday will be cancelled, but you’re welcome to come to work Sunday instead.

Happy gardening, everyone.