Political Commentary

Wednesday, November 22, 2017



From the Gardens Registrar: Mandarin Translation Needed; End of Season; Tool and Cart Put-Away; 2017 in Review; Many Thanks; A Repeat Listing of Upcoming Dates; NO WORKDAY THIS WEEKEND – WE’RE ALL DONE WITH WORKDAYS FOR THE SEASON

Hello Gardeners,

MANDARIN TRANSLATION NEEDED – We have revised our garden application and list of rules for next year, and need to update our Mandarin version. If you are fluent in Mandarin and English, and are willing to translate for us, please contact me. You will get workday credit for doing this.
END OF SEASON – December 3 is Closing Day for the gardens. This will be my last regular email for this year, although I will send an announcement on December 15 to confirm that our 2018 application is available. (Please don’t email me at 8am to tell me it isn’t on-line yet – it probably won’t be there until later in the day.)

PUTTING AWAY THE TOOLS AND CARTS – A reminder that on Sunday, December 3, we will be putting away most of the tools and carts at both gardens, and would appreciate some help. No, it does not count as a workday. The Put-Away Event will be 10am – Noon at Eagle Heights, and 12:30 – 1:30 at University Houses. Yes, we will leave a few carts and tools out of storage for the winter at both gardens.

THE YEAR IN REVIEW – 2017 was a difficult year for gardeners. In the spring, it rained and rained. Our vegetables and flowers grew fast, but so did the weeds. I know it was hard on people who had limited time to work on their plots - every time they had a spare half hour to weed, it was raining yet again. Meanwhile, at University Houses Gardens, there was no leaf mulch for months, due to the constant rain. Gardeners could clear their plots of weeds, but couldn’t mulch to keep the weeds from coming back. Then, in the summer and well into the fall, Eagle Heights Drive was being reconstructed, so EH gardeners had to park some distance away and walk farther to get to their plots. Again, this particularly made trouble for gardeners with limited time. Oh, and then a big tree came down on several plots.

All of these difficult conditions were beyond our control. But now that the street is finished, U Houses has lots of mulch, and our very nice new concrete pad at the EH weed pile is in place, next year has got to be better.

THANK YOU! – Thank you to everybody who had a garden plot this year and was part of our community. I would especially like to thank everybody who did a workday. (The new chipped paths look great.) I would also like to thank our garden workers, Will and Michaiah, for keeping the paths mowed and the elderly and quirky plumbing functioning, plus everything else they do to keep the gardens running. A big thank you to the volunteers who did special jobs – the members of the weed juries, the gardeners who took care of the beautiful plantings at the Arbor, the people who organized seeds and staffed the seed fair, the people who searched for missing corner and plot markers, our webmaster, our two Garden Committee Co-Chairs, and all those who attended our terrible, I mean terribly interesting, meetings.

UPCOMING DATES TO REMEMBER –
December 1      Deadline for paying the no-workday fee if you have not done a workday. ($32, payable to Division of University Housing, and mailed to or dropped off at EH Community Center, 611 Eagle Heights, Madison, WI, 53705. Be sure to include your plot number and write on the envelope that it’s for the Gardens.)
December 3      Closing Day for both gardens.
December 15    2018 Application will be available on our website, and also in paper form at the Community Center
February 15      Deadline for returning gardeners to renew their plots
March 24         Opening Day for 2018 (or around that date, anyway.)
April 7             Seed Fair at Eagle Heights Community Center

NO MORE WORKDAYS – We are done with workdays for this season.

Have a good winter,
Kathryn.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017



From the Gardens Registrar: Coffee Grounds; Planting Garlic; Closing Day for the Gardens and Other Dates to Remember; This Weekend’sWorkday

Hello Gardeners,

COFFEE GROUNDS – One of our gardeners has started making deliveries of coffee grounds to both gardens, and he will continue to do so for the next few weeks, until the weather becomes too nasty. Coffee grounds are a nice soil amendment, so please take some for your plots while the supply lasts. (This is strictly first come-first served.) He’ll be leaving them in old cart beds, near the garden sheds. Coffee grounds contain nitrogen and useful minerals. You can add them to your own compost pile, or to your soil, make “tea” with them to use as a liquid fertilizer, or sprinkle them around plants that are subject to damage from slugs.

IS IT TOO LATE TO PLANT GARLIC? – In case you wanted to plant garlic this fall, and never got around to it, it’s not too late to try it. You can actually plant bulbs up until the ground freezes. The ideal is to plant early enough that the bulbs sprout and grow roots, but not so early that there’s any growth above the soil. Depending on what the weather does from here, there’s still a good chance that your garlic will produce some roots before winter. Once the ground freezes, the garlic will go dormant. And then in spring, as soon as the ground starts to thaw, the garlic will resume growing. Once you’ve planted, it’s a good idea to mulch the garlic bed.

CLOSING DAY -– Closing Day for the Gardens this year will be Sunday, December 3. On that date, we could really use a few warmly-dressed volunteers to help our staff members put away the carts and tools for the winter.  No, it does not count as a workday. The Put-Away Event will be 10am – Noon at Eagle Heights, and 12:30 – 1:30 at University Houses. Please drop by and help, even for just a few minutes. Yes, we will leave a few carts and tools out of storage for the winter at both gardens, for the few people who still have work left to do in their plots.

UPCOMING DATES TO REMEMBER –

December 1      Deadline for paying the no-workday fee if you have not done a workday.
December 3      Closing Day for both gardens.
December 15    2018 Application will be available on our website, and also at the Community Center
February 15      Deadline for returning gardeners to renew their plots
March 24         Opening Day for 2018 (or around that date, anyway.)
April 7             Seed Fair at Eagle Heights Community Center

I will send out reminder emails about these dates and deadlines.

WORKDAY – This weekend’s workday will be at Eagle Heights on Sunday, November 19, from 1pm – 4pm. The task will be finishing up the fruit tree maintenance for the season. The crew may be hauling dead trees to where they can be chipped, and they will also be filling tree tubes with gravel, and mulching as needed. Here’s the link to sign up:  https://doodle.com/poll/sdmvuz9hqemh4sni  The forecast at this point is for cool temperatures, but no precipitation. Please dress warmly, and bring gloves and drinking water. If weather permits, we will schedule one final workday next weekend.

Happy gardening,
Kathryn

Wednesday, November 8, 2017



From the Gardens Registrar: Low Temperatures Forecast; Reminder About Workdays and the No Workday Fee; A Few Words About Dogs; No Workday this Weekend

Hello Gardeners,

IT’S REALLY FREEZING – Tomorrow night, the forecast is for a low of 16 degrees. Night temperatures are expected to continue under freezing until Monday, when a slight warm-up is forecast. If you have cold-weather vegetables that you hope to grow a little longer, you might want to protect them for the next few nights – row cover, sheets, blankets, buckets, whatever you’ve got. Or you may just want to give up and pick your last vegetables tomorrow.

A SLIGHTLY FRIENDLY REMINDER – Our final workday for the season will be at the end of this month. A number of recent workdays have been rained out, and I can’t guarantee we’ll be able to have any more. Please remember that when you filled out the application for a garden plot, you agreed to either do a workday, or else pay the “no workday” fee. So if you haven’t made it to a workday yet, it’s probably time to pay the fee. The deadline is December 1. Make your check, for $32, payable to Division of University Housing. You can mail it to Eagle Heights Community Center c/o Gardens, 611 Eagle Heights, Madison, WI, 53705. Or you can drop it off in person at the Community Center. Please include a note with your name and plot number (or write the plot number on your check.)

(Note to residents of Eagle Heights and University Houses – if you drop off your check, please make sure you put it in a green envelope, so the office staff knows it goes to the gardens. Last year, several resident gardeners sent in their no-workday payments, but the money ended up at the Housing Accounting office, and was deposited as rent payments.)

If you are not sure whether or not you performed a workday, or possibly paid the “no workday” with your plot fees, please email me to ask. We still have over 200 gardeners who have not either done the workday or paid the fee. Are you one of them????

And, to keep harping on the subject, if you plan to renew your plot next year, you won’t be able to if you haven’t taken care of this obligation. After December 1, the only way to reinstate yourself is to pay the $32 fee, plus a $20 late fee. So don’t put off dealing with this, okay?

But what if you’re not coming back next year? Even if you’re not coming back, you still owe either a workday or the fee for this year.

DOGS – I received a complaint from a gardener in University Houses Gardens about dogs frequently running loose in the gardens and in the Nature Preserve. If you bring your dog to the gardens, you must have him or her on a leash. If you are gardening and see a dog running loose, you are welcome to call the UW Police, or the Housing Office to alert them. Dogs are wonderful animals, but they do not belong either in the Nature Preserve or in other people’s garden plots, particularly if they are leaving urine or droppings behind. Thank you for your attention to this matter. Good Dog!

WORKDAY – Due to current weather forecasts, we are not scheduling a workday this weekend.

Happy gardening,
Kathryn