Political Commentary

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

From the Gardens Registrar: Monarchs Rule, Garlic Workshop, Jumping Worm Workshop, 2017 Applications

Hello Gardeners,

MONARCH BUTTERFLIES – The monarch butterflies that have been adorning our gardens so beautifully the last few weeks are in the process of migrating to Mexico. This is why we’re seeing them in such large numbers – they migrate in large groups. Thanks again to everyone who plants flowers, which they depend on for nutrition as they fly hundreds of miles to reach their winter home.

GARLIC CLASS – Gary Kuzynski will host his annual garlic planting workshop this year on Saturday, September 24, 10am, near the Eagle Heights Shed. The class is entitled, “Why It’s Best to Wait Until October 16 or Later to Plant Garlic in the Fall.” The class will cover seed selection, soil preparation, planting information, best planting times this fall, and harvesting guidelines for next summer. Gary will also talk about compost tea.

WHAT TO DO WITH GARLIC? – In case you really don’t know what to do with garlic, here are more than 1110 recipes: http://allrecipes.com/recipes/1086/fruits-and-vegetables/vegetables/garlic/

JUMPING WORM WORKSHOP - Join the Lakeshore Nature Preserve at the Eagle Heights Community Garden for a Jumping Worm Workshop. Learn about Wisconsin's invasive earthworms, including how they impact our gardens and forests and how to find and identify them. The workshop takes place on Thursday, September 29th, from 4:30 - 6:00 pm. Meet at the garden shed. If you have any questions, contact the Preserve at (608)265-9275 or lakeshorepreserve@fpm.wisc.edu.

APPLICATIONS FOR NEXT YEAR – We are redesigning our application for next year, and if all goes according to the plan, gardeners will be able to complete and submit them on line. The applications will be available on our website in December. Payment will still be by check only, so checks will have to be mailed to us, or dropped off at the Community Center. (Applications may also be mailed or dropped off, if you prefer). The deadline for submitting applications and payments will be February 15.

2016 gardeners who are in good standing are guaranteed to be able to keep the same plot in 2017 as long as they get us both the application and payment by the deadline. You are in good standing if you have done your 2016 workday or else pay the “no workday” fee by December 1. After December 1, you can only regain Returning Gardener status by paying the “no workday” fee for 2016 as well as a late fee. 

WORKDAY – We may have a workday this weekend, if it ever stops raining. Date and time are still to be determined at this point. I’ll send out a separate message when I get the details. 

Happy gardening, everyone.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

From the Gardens Registrar: Fall Decisions; Curing Winter Squash; Tomato Soup, Workday Obligation
Hello Gardeners,

"Fall is not the end of the gardening year;
it is the start of next year's growing season."
— Thalassa Cruso

FALL DECISIONS – If this has been your first year gardening at Eagle Heights, this is a good time to think about whether or not you want to renew your plot for next year. If you don’t expect to be gardening next year, you can gradually pick your remaining crops, and then stop coming to the garden. But please, before you go, do the next gardener a big favor – put a little time into clearing the weeds and dead vegetable plants from the plot, and then cover it with a few loads of leaf mulch. This will make life much easier for the new gardener in the spring. When people start out with a messy plot, they have to work extra hard to get their gardens established. Some gardeners get so discouraged, they end up abandoning the plot. And then the cycle repeats itself. BREAK THE CYCLE! Hopefully, this little piece of land has given you some good vegetables – do something nice for it before you say goodbye. Oh, and if you’re quitting, please let the registrar know – there are some new gardeners applying for plots now, with an eye to getting a jump on spring.

If you do plan to renew your plot, keep picking your vegetables and pulling your weeds. If you have herbs, this is a good time to pick them and dry or freeze them for the winter. If you have perennial flowers, fall is a good time to dig them up and divide them. Fall is also a good time to plant perennial vegetables, such as rhubarb, asparagus, and horseradish.

CURING WINTER SQUASH – Many gardeners are growing beautiful winter squash. They can feed you and your family for many months, provided they are cured and stored properly. Here’s a website by a winter squash fanatic with a lot of experience:

TOMATO SOUP – Fast, delicious, healthy, good with any kind of spicing, and best of all, it uses up lots of tomatoes, including the ones that have split or need the bad spots trimmed off. Here’s a large collection of recipes: http://allrecipes.com/recipes/14731/soups-stews-and-chili/soup/vegetable-soup/tomato-soup/?page=2

WORKDAY – Many gardeners have not yet done their workdays for the season. Remember – you agreed when you filled out the plot application to do one three-hour workday session by the end of the year. (Unless you prefer to pay an extra $16 or $32 in lieu of the workday.) The weather is cooler now, and workdays are much more pleasant than they were in the summer. This is an excellent time to sign up and get it over with. This weekend’s workday will be Sunday, September 18, 8am – 11am, at UNIVERSITY HOUSES GARDEN. The task will be continuing path maintenance. Here’s the link to sign up: http://doodle.com/poll/gypky54tc6sd5tnr

Happy gardening, everyone.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

From the Gardens Registrar: University Houses Berm, Kindness to Fruit Trees, Remove Your Tomato Blossoms, Organic Field Day, Pickled Cabbage, and Pickled Cucumbers

Hello Gardeners,

THE UNIVERSITY HOUSES BERM – Last Saturday, our work party worked very hard to place wood-chip mulch on the berm around the weedpile. The mulch will compact over time to create a spongy substrate where we can plant small fruit plants, such as strawberries. We will follow up by installing drip irrigation lines in that space. The objective is to have a useful green area, behind the emerging blackberry hedge, to screen the weeds from the apartment houses.  

There is a separate pile of very highly-rotted wood chips nearby, at the south-east corner of the gardens, for the use of gardeners. Any gardeners who want woodchips for their plots should take mulch from that pile, and not from the berm. Also, please do not dump weeds on the berm.

FRUIT TREES – Our fruit trees at Eagle Heights and University Houses were planted for the gardeners, and you are welcome to help yourselves to the fruit. But recently, people have been seen attacking the trees, and we’ve found trees terribly damaged. If you see someone getting rough in their attempts to get all the fruit, please do what you can to stop them.

REMOVE YOUR TOMATO BLOSSOMS – Now that we’ve passed September 1, if your tomatoes are continuing to bloom, you should take off the new blossoms. There won’t be enough time for new tomatoes to ripen, and removing the blossoms will encourage your plants to put their energy into ripening the tomatoes you already have.

ORGANIC FIELD DAY - The UW’s West Madison Agricultural Research Station will be holding an Organic Field Day on Sunday, September 11, from 2pm – 5pm. The address is 8502 Mineral Point Road, in Verona. (It’s really just outside of Madison.) Come for an interactive field day on organic vegetable variety trials and production! Walk through ongoing trials and ask questions of plant breeders, pathologists, entomologists, seed company representatives and fellow farmers about current issues, management practices and varieties. http://westmadison.ars.wisc.edu/

SAUERKRAUT, KIMCHI, TSUKEMONO, CHINESE PICKLED CABBAGE – Do you make some kind of pickled cabbage? Would you like to share your recipe? Would you like to share some of the finished product? On September 24, we will have a garlic-planting class at Eagle Heights, starting at 10am. After the class, would any gardeners be interested in teaching or learning about preserving cabbage for the winter? Please let me know.

WORLD’S EASIEST CUCUMBER PICKLES – For you lucky gardeners who have more cucumbers than you know what to do with, here is a really easy recipe for refrigerator pickles: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/230227/monas-easy-refrigerator-pickles/

WORKDAY – We’re going to have another workday at University Houses Gardens, on Sunday, September 11, from 8am – 11am. The tasks will be clearing paths and continuing work on the (above-described) weedpile impoundment structure. Here’s the link to sign up: http://doodle.com/poll/3k397n8rnpcst7qv

Happy gardening, everyone.