Monday, November 24, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
This week, we celebrate Thanksgiving, a harvest festival but also a time for reflection and gratitude. We've had a good season and I hope you will be celebrating with dinner that includes some produce from the gardens. The tundra swans are in town (check out the big white birds that are often in University Bay between the Natatorium and Picnic Point) and that means that the season is coming to a close. We had a good year that ended a bit abruptly with the early cold temperatures and this is the last email message for the year.
Applications for next year will be on the website in mid-December. The due date for prioritization of plots is February 15, 2015 but getting applications in early is always a better idea. Every gardener needs to apply each year. After Feb. 15, we assign plots to on-time applications and start a waiting list for any that come in later. Every year, someone is disappointed to be reassigned a different plot or need to wait for a plot later in the year. Put the reminder in your calender and be sure you get the best chances for getting the plot you want.
If you have a small plot and want to get a second small plot or move to a larger plot, please just make a note on your application about your preferences. I follow the prioritization listed in the application, but within those rules, I try to meet gardener requests if I can.
The deadline for workday completion is Dec. 1 and we have no plans for workdays this week, so it would be best to send a check for the "no workday option" if you haven't completed your workday for 2014 ($32 for a large plot; $16 for a small plot). Please check with me if you have any questions. Checks can be made out to Division of University Housing and mailed/dropped off at Eagle Heights Community Center, ATTN: Gardens, 611 Eagle Heights, Madison, WI 53711. If the workday is not settled by Dec. 1, there is a $10 late fee for large plot and $5 late fee for small plots. Additionally, your priority for getting a plot is lowered so please take care of any outstanding workday obligations before Dec. 1.
The gardens were a source of good food, exercise, nature and friends all season. If you enjoyed the experience, please consider being a more active partner in the next year. The gardens only function because so many people contribute time and effort to keeping things going. The garden committee is only one way to contribute, but it is open to everyone and a good way to help provide suggestions and assistance in the future.
In this time to be grateful, I thank everyone who contributed so much this year. We have a more than 50 year history in the gardens, but each year brings new challenges and opportunities. Your efforts to pitch in and make the gardens a better place are really appreciated. I am often moved by the breadth of support and effort that make the gardens such a bountiful and healing place.
I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration with good food, family and friends and hope to see you all in the spring.
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
I've seen lots of activity in the gardens as we look at the weather forecast and realize that winter is setting in early. With temperatures in the teens, all the crops will die or go dormant, but there is still time to clean up and add leaves to prevent the ground heaving in the cold. The geese have been very active and the lake is filling with migrating waterfowl. Time to clean the garden beds and tools. Please don't leave piles of sticks or buckets turned over since these are favorite winter homes for rodents. The hawks have been around hunting but they can only do so much.
There are good tips on our website for winter preparation of the gardens. Check out page 17 in the manual at
Sunday, November 16, we'll have a workday from 1 pm to 4 pm at Eagle Heights to prepare the trees for winter by putting on plastic tubes to prevent the rodents from eating the bark. Please reply if you would like to work this opportunity. We don't know if the weather will allow further workdays so get one in if you can. The weather shows cold temperatures but little snow at this point for Sunday.
If you want to pay the "no workday option" fee, please make the check out to Division of University Housing and send or drop off at the Eagle Heights Community Center, ATTN: Gardens, 611 Eagle Heights, Madison, WI 53705.
Just a reminder, every year some gardeners are disappointed to lose their plots by forgetting to apply. Every gardener, new or returning, must reapply each year. The new applications will be on the website in mid-December and accepted for prioritization of plot assignments until Feb. 15, 2015. After Feb. 15, applications are accepted in the order received and a waiting list is started. Put a reminder on the calender and apply early to get the best chance at getting the plot you desire.
I've been pulling out the thermal underwear and hats and gloves as the temperatures seem more like late December. Hoping we get some warmer weather in a little bit but the plants appear to have decided the growing season is over. This was a good season with less pests and better rainfall than some years and a good harvest still to be enjoyed.
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
The frost has set in for real and the winds have been quite cold. Some hardy kale and brussel sprouts keep producing and get sweeter for the cold temperatures. We have a lot of moles and other rodents so cleaning up your plot will be very important. Don't leave piles of sticks or plants in the gardens to provide them homes. Cleaning up now means that the rodents won't be nearly so bad in the spring.
We have some two-legged varmits causing some problems as well. There have been several reports of some older boys (maybe around 12) ripping out posts, harassing the wildlife and running through plots and fruit trees causing damage. If you have any information on these children, would you please email me so that we can discuss the situation with their parents and stop the destructive activities? We welcome children into the gardens and enjoy their working in their own plots or using the sandboxes, paths and picnic areas, but we need to protect the crops and wildlife and do some education.
We will have a workday this Sunday, Nov. 9,  from 9 am to noon at Eagle Heights. We have several chores to install our sign, move chips for mulch and prepare some of the flowering perennials for winter. Please email me if you would like to work this opportunity. We are getting to the end of workday weather and the obligation needs to be met by Dec. 1 by working or paying the "no workday" fee. We can use a large workcrew if you want to volunteer this time.
The geese are actively flocking up overhead although the cranes have been around (and helping with the rodents). The little arctic ducks are appearing on the lake with the last wind blowing them down from the north. The garden committee is  actively planning for the Opening Day and Seed Fair for next year and looking forward to the next season as I hope you are.
Collect some seeds from the plants as you clear and you will have them for flowers and vegetables next year!
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Friday, October 31, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
Brrr! The wind off the lake is bringing in a hard frost tonight. Some hardy plants will survive, but this is the end for many. The water is off now but we will be leaving out the carts and tools for clean-up and soil preparation. It has been a good season with many fine fall days, but the days are shorter and the temperatures now falling.
We will have a workday this Saturday, Nov. 1, from 2 pm to 5 pm. It will be chilly but hauling wood chips will keep volunteers warm. Due to the late notice, please just come if you would like to work. Bring gloves and water to drink. Meet at the Eagle Heights shed by 2 pm and be sure to sign in on the workday sheet for credit for your plot. The weather is going to get chancy now so get in a workday while you can.
We have had a number of complaints about dogs in the gardens and the Lakeshore Nature Preserve has also had some problems. Mostly, the owners who allow the dogs to get into mischief are the problems but the Preserve is concerned about how to address this.  The Preserve committee is conducting a survey of gardeners to help them formulate a policy for dogs and would like your feedback. Please take this survey and give us your opinions. There are only a few questions and everything is completely voluntary and anonymous. The results are important for us since there are so many users of the Preserve in the gardens and we have special concerns with the food we are growing. Feel free to answer or not answer questions as you wish, but please respond so that we get a good picture of the situation and gardener opinions for a meeting next week considering alternatives.
Survey here:
It will be a cold night for being out to celebrate Halloween. Stay warm and cook some soup to celebrate the fall vegetables.
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
We are having a lovely fall with great colors and very pleasant weather. It has been wonderful working in the gardens and the pair of cranes are still around enjoying it with us. There are lots of chores to do with cleaning beds, planting over-wintering crops and mulching. The kinglets (small, fast-moving birds with little yellow "crowns") are in the bushes around the gardens, stopping by on their way south. Check out the coots on the lake (small clownish duck-like birds that are grey/black with white bills).
We have chores to do for the workdays as well and want to get as much done now as we can. Soon, the weather will make workdays more uncertain. Sunday, October 25, we'll have a workday in Eagle Heights starting at 2 pm. We can use a lot of workers so if you haven't gotten your workday in or you just want to come enjoy the weather with fellow gardeners, reply to this message and I'll get you more information.
If you haven't gotten in your workday, you can always fulfill the obligation by paying the "no workday" optional fee ($32 for a large plot;$16 for a small). Be sure to work or pay the fee before December 1 to avoid the late fees and insure your priority to return to a plot. Make the check out to Division of University Housing and mail or drop off at Eagle Heights Community Center, ATTN: Gardens, 611 Eagle Heights, Madison, WI 53705.
We have a new application that is coming together for next year and it will be available on the website in mid-December. Please mark your calenders now to send in the application. Due date for prioritization is Feb. 15 and I start assigning plots then. We always develop a waiting list after all the plots are assigned and getting your application in early will maximize the chance to get a plot or return to your old one. Every year, some gardeners are disappointed when they forget to apply and their plots are reassigned to others.
A few changes are in the works for the new application although most of the rules stay the same. We are not going to offer tilling for a fee next year. With some weeds, tilling will make the problem worse and we think hand-digging (and removing the roots) is a much better approach. We also worry that new gardeners mistakenly think tilling will solve their weed problems or that they don't need to prepare for planting beyond tilling.  We also worry that private tillers and string mowers are being used in an unsafe manner so we are not allowing private power equipment except small battery operated hand tools (like drills for assembling wood supports). We will be raising the late fees for not meeting the workday requirement by Dec. 1 to encourage people to get this straightened out before we are into the next season.
Be sure to make a note of where you planted crops this year and varieties that you particularly liked. One of the fun winter chores will be planning the garden for next year. There is still time to save some seed from beans or flowers so that you can plant them next spring. I see garlic going in all over now and plenty of greens to enjoy this fall.
Make some squash soup and prepare for Halloween,
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
We have had word back on the crane chick that was hit by a car on University Bay Drive. He (probably, sex not certain) has bonded with a foster dad and is recovering better than expected, but still not flying. See photos and more info on the Garden Blog on our website at
We'll have two workdays this weekend, both at Eagle Heights gardens. We are working on a buffer area project and will be moving wood chips for that Saturday and Sunday afternoons starting at 2 pm and going to 5 pm. Please reply if you would like to work and I'll get you more details and on the list.
The colors are spectacular this year but leaves are coming down fast with the rain this week. Still time to get in some overwintering crops, mulch the perennials, clean up debris, harvest greens and make notes for next year. Rotating your areas for vegetables can help with disease and pest management so make a little sketch of where things were this year so you don't plant the same things in the same spots next year.
We have some students who would like to do some soil testing for lead in garden plots at Eagle Heights. They would need to take two samples from any volunteers who would allow sampling. If you would be willing to let them sample, it might provide useful information for the Gardens. Please reply to me with your plot number and any instructions (where you planted garlic for instance). I will accompany them during sampling to ensure they are aware of your plantings that might not be obvious. The probe is very small diameter and shouldn't be intrusive.
Check out the loons on Lake Mendota (some just off Memorial Union or in the bay between Second Point and Picnic Point). They are coming down from up North but will stay for a while as long as there is open water for fishing.
Enjoy one of the best times of the year,
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
It is bright and sunny as I write, but fall is a time for changing weather. We haven't had frost yet, but anytime now we will. Less of the birds are around and many have taken off for winter homes. There are still lots of fall vegetables to be had in the gardens and a good time to clean up the summer vines that have wilted. With the rodent problem, cleaning up in the fall will prevent voles from overwintering in the remains from this summer's plants. Disease and insect problems can also be partially avoided by a good fall clean-up.
We'll have two workdays this weekend. On Saturday, Oct. 11, there will be an opportunity for working in the common plantings at University Houses; On Sunday, Oct. 12 there are chips to be moved for mulch around plantings at Eagle Heights. Both workdays will be 1 pm to 4 pm in the afternoon. Please reply if you would like to work and I'll get you more information.
The workday obligation needs to be settled by Dec. 1 and it is uncertain how many more workdays will be possible given the weather. We plan on projects into November, but sometimes we cannot do some of them in snow. There are weekday opportunities to work on plot marking for a couple of people. Let me know if you would be available for any of those and I will see if we can get a schedule for that. If you want to pay the "no workday" option, it is $32 for a large plot and $16 for a small plot. Checks can be made out to the Division of University Housing and mailed or dropped off at the Eagle Heights Community Center, ATTN: Gardens, 611 Eagle Heights, Madison, 53705. After Dec. 1, there is a late fee and a drop in priority ranking to request a plot for next year. If you have any questions about your completion of the workday obligation, please let me know.
Soon there will be time to plant garlic and shallots. Sometimes late-planted spinach and other greens will survive the winter to make some welcome eating early in the spring. Some of you have perennial flowers, fruit or herbs that can be prepared for snow so that they will survive into next season. Fall is a lovely time in the gardens (no mosquitoes!). Consider planting some bulbs for spring to welcome us all back after the snows.
Hoping you saw the lunar eclipse and spectacular cloud formations this week,
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
What lovely fall days we are having. The tomatoes and peppers are still producing some and the fall crops of lettuce and cilantro are ready to eat. The sumac and maples are just starting to put on their red colors and the fall asters are in full bloom.
If you are applying for next year, consider putting in some overwintering crops. We'll have a Garlic Planting Workshop put on by Gary, one of our gardeners on Saturday, Oct. 4 at the Eagle Heights Garden Shed at 10 am. Learn about garlic varieties and how to plant them for harvest next year.
Be sure to get your workday obligation done by Dec. 1 and avoid paying a late fee or losing your priority to apply for your plot. Everyone needs to apply but new applications are not accepted until the 2014 obligations are met. The "no workday" option is $32 for a large plot and $16 for a small plot. Make the checks payable to Division of University Housing and send or drop off at the Eagle Heights Community Center, ATTN: Gardens, 611 Eagle Heights, Madison, WI 53705.
Of course there are still upcoming opportunities to do a workday. This Sunday, Sept. 28, we'll have a workday at Eagle Heights from 1 pm to 4 pm to spread wood chips and work on common areas. If you would like to work this opportunity, please reply and I'll get you more information.
We have unfortunately had some thefts recently in the gardens. Please remember that you should not be entering anyone else's plot, even if you think it is abandoned. Thefts are taken seriously and could result in your losing your plot and the right to reapply. Please keep an eye out to protect your garden neighbors as well since we all need to help prevent these incidents.
Now is a great time to think about next year's gardens. Making notes of where things were planted this year (to help rotate crops) and what varieties you particularly enjoyed (or those to avoid) will help you make next year a success as well. Hoping you are having many happy meals with family and friends.
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
The trees are just starting to turn colors and some of the migrating birds are back through the gardens and on the lake. Look for the warblers returning from the north in the bushes and the ducks and coots on the lake. We missed the frost and hope to have a couple of months of cool and enjoyable gardening weather.
We seem to have quite a rodent problem this year, so please check for hideouts for them over winter. Turn plant debris under the soil or take it to the weed pile rather than allowing it to host voles and mice over winter. Don't leave piles of sticks or buckets where they can house. Turning the soil and putting down leaf mulch will help with getting spring planting in early.
Now is a great time to mark your calenders to reapply for your plot for 2015. Each year, some gardeners are very disappointed to miss applying and not be able to get their plot back. New applications will be on the website in mid-December and applying before holiday break would be very helpful. If there are any glitches with the application or fees, you could correct them and still meet the Feb. 15 deadline for prioritization.
Remember that you need to do a workday or pay the "no workday option" fee by Dec. 1. You can pay by writing a check to Division of University Housing ($32 for a large plot; 16 for a small plot) and dropping it off or sending to Eagle Heights Community Center, ATTN: Gardens, 611 Eagle Heights, Madison, WI 53705.
We will have two workdays this weekend. On Saturday, Sept. 20, we'll be working at the University Houses gardens doing mulching and plot work from 8 am to 11 am. On Sunday, September 21, we'll be at Eagle Heights Gardens from 1 pm to 4 pm working to move wood chips and prepare for some more plantings. Please reply if you would like to work either of these opportunities and I'll get you more information.
Be sure to save a little garlic for fall planting (shallots too!). If you want to get some for planting, the gardens stores will have some, but the Farmer's Market will have a wider variety of types. One of our gardeners has offered to give a garlic planting workshop in early October so be sure to put Oct. 4 on your calenders for that (not sure of time yet). October is also a good time to plant spring bulbs such as daffodils or tulips and to move perennials before the ground freezes.
What a wonderful time to work in the gardens with cooler temperatures and no mosquitoes!
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
It appears that cooler weather is coming. The geese have been gathering up in small flocks and the warblers are starting to come through from more northern regions. We still have a lot of gardening to accomplish including all the fall crops and clean-up in preparation for next year.
I thought you might be interested in knowing some of the facts about our gardens. We have about 580 plots, some with more than one family gardening so we are a very large community. We believe we are the oldest and largest community garden in Wisconsin, perhaps in the country with over 50 years of history. We have 3 part-time employees (all paid by garden fees) but together we only make up about a .65 position and hours worked vary by season. Many volunteers contribute to keeping everything running on our limited budget.  Our committee structure includes two volunteer co-chairs at the moment and meets once a month. Every current gardener is a member of the committee and welcome to come our meetings and vote. We start with a potluck of great food and keep the meetings limited to an hour. Please consider contributing to the Gardens by coming to meetings and helping make decisions about policies and projects.
We have a workday planned at University Houses this Sunday, Sept. 14 from 8 am to 11 am. There are chips to be moved and abandoned plots to be worked on. Please reply if you would like to work this opportunity and I'll get you more details. We will have workdays (weather permitting) into November, but remember that the workday obligation (work or payment) must be completed by Dec. 1. After that date, a late fee is assessed on top of the "no workday" fee and your priority for getting a plot next year is lowered to the "new" status.
If you have decided not to return next year, please let me know since it helps in getting plots assigned if we know which are coming open.
Enjoy the taste of fall coming this week and the asters that are coming into bloom.
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
Whew! We seem to be getting more than enough rain. I don't think I've watered in weeks. Good for the new seedlings for the fall crops but the tomatoes are starting to look tough since the fungal diseases like this weather. We have also seen a lot more hummingbirds. They are starting to arrive from further north and feeding up for the long migration. You see them fighting with the local hummers and everyone is getting fat bellies to store up energy. I have also seen a lot of "hummingbird" moths this year. They hover and feed at flowers but are actually insects. More on this type of sphinx moth at
We will have workdays this week on Saturday and Sunday morning from 8 am to 11 am. It is supposed to cool off and will be good days for moving chips and mulching. Both workdays are at Eagle Heights. Please reply if you would like to work this opportunity and I'll get you more information.
Still time to put in lettuce, arugula and radishes. Hope you are enjoying the good eating that summer brings.
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
Lots of rain and warm weather and the summer harvest is really underway. Please consider giving extra produce to the Food Pantry on Wednesdays (before 8 am ) or Saturdays (before 10 am). Other days, leave extra produce on the share shelves for other gardeners. There are lots of ways to preserve vegetables for later: consider freezing, canning, pickling, dehydrating and fermenting. Some resources here:
and our website (bottom of the page):
This weekend is a holiday weekend with many people having Monday off. There will be workdays Sunday, 8/31, at University Houses (8 am to 11 am) and Monday, 9/1, at Eagle Heights (8 am to 11 am). Please reply if you would like to work one of these opportunities and I will get you more details.
Two reminders:
Workday obligations (to work a three-hour shift or pay the "no workday" optional fee) must be met by December 1 of each year. Only one workay is required per plot by one person. The fee if you want to pay is $32 for a large plot and $16 for a small plot. Make checks payable to Division of University Housing and send to Eagle Heights Community Center, 611 Eagle Heights, Madison, WI 53705. We will be scheduling workdays into the fall and usually continue into November if you want to work your shift.
IMPORTANT: Every gardener, returning or new, must reapply each year for the gardens. Every year, some people forget to apply and are disappointed when they can't get the plot they want and must go on the waiting lists. Applications for next year will be available in mid-December and due by Feb. 15, 2015 for prioritization. After Feb. 15, applicants are taken in the order they apply, but we may have a waiting list by then. Put a reminder on your calender now and don't miss applying. The garden committee is discussing the application changes now so participate in those discussions at our garden meetings or email me with suggestions.
Basil downy mildew is taking a lot of the basil with this wet weather. More information is available here including varieties that are more resistant:
The gardens are a busy place now with gardeners carrying home their produce, birds starting to flock up and feed for the fall migration, lots of caterpillars and butterflies and many fall flowers starting to bloom. Enjoy the warm weather and the vegetables!
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
There is some encouraging news on the crane chick that was hit by a car. Apparently, animal control came and took the chick for medical treatment and rehabilitation. It was hurt but is recovering and I'm trying to find out more information. The parents have been frantically looking for it, and I wish that I could tell them that someone is caring for it.
Saturday, August 23 we will have a workday at University Houses from 8 am to 11 am to spread wood chips on the common plantings and paths. Sunday, August 24, we will have a workday from 8 am to 11 am at Eagle Heights to work in the buffer area getting it ready for more planting. If you would like to work either of these opportunities, please reply and let me know which one. I will get you more details.
The tomatoes are coming in fine and the rain last night has really helped since it was getting pretty dry. The weeds continue to grow, but at least the rain makes them easier to pull.  There is still time to put in some lettuce or other fall greens as well as cilantro and dill and carrots/beets. We are hoping for a long and beautiful fall in the gardens.
Stay cool in the warm weather expected this week,
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
I'm wishing for a little rain, but the gardens look great. There are many goldfinches (little yellow and black birds) at the sunflowers enjoying the seeds and blending in with their bright colors. There have also been many butterflies and moths throughout the gardens.
We'll have a workday on Saturday, August 16 at Eagle Heights from 8 am to 11 am. We need to do some chores with moving chips, working on common areas and clean-up around the shed. Reply to this message if you would like to work and I'll get you more information.
Just are reminder that every plot owes one workday for the season (or the "no workday" optional fee). This obligation needs to be met by December 1 in order to stay in good standing with the gardens. We will have workdays into the fall but there are lots of plots that still owe workdays so consider signing up soon before classes and fall activities start up again.
There is going to be construction on Lake Mendota Drive near the low spot in the road by the gardens. Campus is putting in a safer crossing at this point for gardeners coming across the road away from the corner and in the narrow sections. Please be aware of a new crosswalk going in and that the road may be one-way at times while construction progresses.
We have had a report of  tomato spotted wilt in the gardens. The tomatoes have "warty" spots with rings from a virus. This virus doesn't seem to overwinter here, but can be spread from plants purchased from nurseries. More information and pictures here:
Do you know that a recent study by a UW agricultural economics student showed that the average net value of produce from a plot was over $800 for a large plot similar to ours and over $400 from a small plot? We were part of that study along with other community gardens in Madison. Some gardeners were able to raise twice that much in their plots by careful management for crops and planting one crop after another is done. I see so many people taking home produce now and I hope you are enjoying all the good meals. Please remember the Food Pantry program if you have extra (Wed. pickups at 8 am; Saturday pickups at 10 am.).
Happy eating,
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
The gardens looked beautiful this morning with the rain really perking things up. One of our gardeners captured some pictures of the new crane family and you can see them and get garden tips on the garden blog that Jenn puts together here:
This weekend on Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm, the UW West Madison Research station (just outside the Beltline off Mineral Point Rd). will be putting on their free field day. There will be lots of garden information and you can see many varieties of fruits and vegetables, talk with campus experts and also bring the children for many activities. See the announcement here:
This Saturday, from 8 am to 11 am, we'll have a workday at Eagle Heights moving wood chips and doing cleanup in the common areas. Please reply if you would like to work this opportunity and I'll get you more information and details.
We have now worked our way down the waiting list so if you have a small plot and are looking for more space to garden, consider putting in an application for a second small plot. We have a rule that each principal gardener can only have one large plot but two small plots count as a single large plot. There is only one workday requirement for two small plots since this counts as a large plot. To apply for the rest of the season, submit an application with a note that it is for a second small plot and the fee is just half the usual small plot fee since it is after June 1. We may have some small plots coming open since people are moving in and out for fall school starting. If you have friends that have wanted to garden, now is a good time to apply and you can be a "returning" gardener for next year.
Just a reminder that every gardener, new or returning, must apply for a plot each year. There are no guarantees on getting the same plot back, but returning gardeners can request that and usually I can arrange to get the plot back as long as applications are made on time and the gardeners are in good standing. Applications for 2015 won't be available until mid-December.
I will be putting out some extra seeds we have for lettuce and radishes and perhaps a few others to be planted in the fall. Look for them Saturday at each garden bulletin board shelf. The tomatoes and peppers are starting to come in for sure now and I got my first tomatillos so enjoy the summer vegetables and put some new ones in for fall.
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
I was greeted this morning in the gardens by the cries of the red-tailed hawk offspring. Apparently, Mom and Dad are trying to get the young to hunt for themselves and they are begging to be fed. Quite a racket, but at least they are bringing the kids to hunt for rodents in the gardens. Those first tomatoes and peppers are coming in along with lots of squash and beans. I rejoice as I see gardeners walking out with their vegetables and loaded down with produce. The food pantry donations are picking up but please only donate on Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning by 8 a.m. or Friday evening/Saturday morning by 10 a.m. so that the vegetables will be in good shape when they are delivered.
This week we have two workdays at Eagle Heights to do the 100/200 row of plumbing replacements. We could really use your help in this project so that it goes as smoothly and quickly as possible and we get the water turned back on soon. This Thursday, July 31, we'll work to dig out the old water line from 5 pm to 8 pm. We'll be renting a trencher and digging in for the new line on Saturday (Will and Adam will do this) but on Sunday, August 3, we'll have a workday from 8 am to 11 am to replace the dirt and get the path back into shape in order to get the water back on late on Sunday. All of this is weather dependent but we are trying to do the shortest job we can. If the weather doesn't cooperate, we'll need to do it the following weekend.
Please be careful in the 100/200 path not to scatter the dirt around and handle the taps carefully. We hope to have the water on until late Friday although the pipes will be exposed. There won't be cart access during the process, but you should be able to get to the plots. Water should remain on in the rest of the gardens.
Some of you have discovered the lake weeds piled uphill of the leaf pile. These are smelly and disgusting, but great fertilizer. They are probably too strong to put directly on most plants and are quite an active soup (with a few dead minnows). Please be careful not to let children play in this and wash your hands carefully after using since it is fermenting and slimy. If you have an open spot in the gardens where something has come out (maybe the garlic or onions), you can pile up the lake weeds, cover with leaves and let them sit a while to dig in later.  This is a way to take the nutrients that are polluting the lake and use them to grow food instead.
Please also keep an eye out for bean beetles. We have had problems with these in the past but released some predators for them. We can do this again if there are widespread problems so please report if you see the fuzzy yellow larvae.  Pictures of what to look for here:
Crushing the eggs or larvae by hand is recommended and can be quite effective.
The gardens are studded with sunflowers in bloom now. It is great to see them poking up among the other plantings and the goldfinches are very busy eating at the seeds. They always remind me of cheery faces as I get to the plots.
Hoping for some rain (but not during the plumbing project).
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
Whew! I'm not used to the warm weather, but the plants are loving it. The onions and garlic are finishing up along with some of the potatoes and the green beans, cucumbers and even tomatoes are coming in.
In the wildlife side, we are pestered with small rodents, especially voles, but there are two new sightings that may help. First, we have had multiple sitings of mink in the gardens. Last year, one was sighted at University Houses and this year at Eagle Heights. These may be from the same family, but probably not. One Eagle Height's sighting was a younger one. Mink are weasel-like with furry long tails and their favorite food is voles (Yeah!). They do have a bad temper and sharp teeth so don't corner them or approach closely, but we are happy to have them around.
Secondly, the pair of cranes in the Preserve lost their first nest, but were seen in Eagle Heights with a new chick (called a colt). The young one is only about a foot tall, all legs and bill and fluff, and guarded carefully by the parents. Please don't approach too closely, but the parents seem used to us gardening and are rather calm unless any dogs are around. We rejoice in their success in offspring after a couple of years without any young.
We will have a workday this Thursday evening (7/24) from 5 pm to 8 pm to work on the Eagle Heights arbor and other common plantings. It is likely to be cooler by then. On Saturday, 7/26, there will be a workday from 8 am to 11 am. That day, we'll be moving wood chips, working on the weed pile area and paths. If you would like to work either of these opportunities, email me and I will get you more details.
Upcoming workdays: We are going to have a need for workers on Thursday, July 30 and Sunday, August 3 when the plumbing for the 100/200 water line is being replaced. We have had problems with this, our oldest plumbing, for some time and the line is not buried very deep so prone to problems. We will be replacing it with a better line and new faucets but that means digging up the old line, placing new and attaching faucets. We want to minimize the disruption of water supply and the other water lines will remain working during the time. So if you want to be part of this project, set aside some time to help on Thursday evening or Sunday morning next week. I'll have more details later.
Now is the time when you may have more produce than you can immediately eat. Of course you can share with family and friends or give to the Food Pantry on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. You might also want to preserve some of it for later meals by canning, freezing, pickling, dehydrating and other methods. This is a chance to learn some new techniques. Check out our website for some pointers at the bottom of this page.
This is probably the last week to put in the final bush beans.  You can start to put in some fall crops now. Think about Napa cabbage, bok choi, spinach, lettuce, radish, carrot, beet, kale, arugula and many more greens. The flea beetles die down in the fall and so these crops do even better than in the spring.
Giving thanks for the generosity of the earth,
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
Well the summer crops are coming in although the temperature today doesn't seem very summery. I've seen red tomatoes in a few places, lots of beans and cucumbers and squash and a few peppers and eggplant. It is a bit of a jungle with the squash trailing all over and the beans trying to climb the other plants.
We are looking for some additional help for the food pantry program. Every culture has a charitable tradition and most plots have extra produce at some times of the year. We need to have at least one more coordinator to make sure that the food pantry gets our donations in good shape and that we build an enthusiastic community of contributors to the program. If you would be willing to help, please let me know. We also need a few more delivery drivers for Wednesday deliveries. You can get workday credit for supporting the program so please volunteer if you can. Pick-ups are Wednesdays by 8 am and Saturdays by 10 am if you would like to donate produce.
We will have a workday at Eagle Heights on Saturday, July 19 from 8 am to 11 am. We will be working on the common plantings and plot weeding and moving wood chips. Please email me if you would like to work this opportunity and I will get you more details.
I see a lot of garlic and onions about ready to harvest (or already coming out). Some of the potatoes are ready too. Be sure to plan some fall plantings to go into these beds when you get the crops out. Last year, I was harvesting bok choi and kale into December so lots of time to grow some additional vegetables and extend the season.
Take some time to enjoy the smells of the summer season. I love the basil and dill and cilantro and flower smells as I walk to my plot.
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
We continue to get rain when we need it and the gardens are looking fine and prosperous. I see beans coming in and the raspberries in full swing. Cucumbers and even some cherry tomatoes are getting ready. Really great summer eating is already starting and I hope you are enjoying the results of the hard work.
This Saturday, July 12 from 8 to 11 am, we'll have a workday at Eagle Heights to do mulching of the sunflowers, weeding in the common plantings and some plot clearing. Please email me if you would like to work this opportunity and I will get you more details.
This is vacation season and people are doing more traveling. If friends are watching and harvesting your garden, please be sure they can identify your plot and its boundaries. Each year, we have visitors who harvest in the wrong plots and this can lead to serious consequences including police involvement. You might try putting ribbon or tape on your plot corners or numbered sign to make your plot very identifiable and be sure visitors know the rules of the garden and don't enter other plots. We take thefts seriously so please watch over your neighbors plots as well to make sure mistakes don't occur.
The mid-summer brings some bothersome pests and Japanese beetles have been sighted in the gardens. These black and multicolor beetles are very destructive and they like raspberries, grapes and flowers as well as beans and other vegetables. The best way to get rid of them is to hand pick or knock them off into a cup of soapy water where they drowned. There are some commercial traps to attract them into a jar, but be aware you may be calling them into your plot if you use this method. Usually, they have a short run but can eat a lot of foliage during that time.
See more information here:
We are also starting to see downy mildew on basil plants. Here is some information on this pest :
Please note that overhead watering is not a good idea for these fungal diseases and that includes the septoria leaf spot that we see on tomatoes each year. Lots of air, weeding, and watering at the base of plants are recommended to avoid spreading the diseases. Vegetables and basil are OK to eat even with the problems, and some varieties are more resistant to these diseases so make a note of good varieties to plant in later years.
In just a couple of weeks, it will be time to plant some fall crops to continue the harvest. Last year, we were harvesting vegetables into December, so be sure to consider putting in some crops in August as the spots open up.
Happy eating,
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
What a rain last night! I swear my tomatoes have doubled in size this week and at least the weeds are pulling easily.
There is construction starting on University Houses apartments and expect some new fencing and equipment. We have been assured that the road to the parking area will remain open and that a path alongside the woods in the northeast corner of the gardens will cut through to Eagle Heights. Please let me know if you have any problems getting to the gardens, but we understand that there will be temporary difficulties as the work goes on.
This Wednesday, we start our donations to the food pantry. The Share the Bounty project collects produce from Eagle Heights and University Houses gardeners and transports it to the St. Vincent De Paul food pantry, the county’s largest food bank. Here’s how it works. Starting Wednesday, 7/2,, containers are placed behind the University Houses garden shed on the white stands. Put your extra vegetables in the containers by 8 a.m. Wednesday or by 10:00 a.m. Saturday. Volunteers take the vegetables to the pantry where they will be much appreciated by families who can’t afford to buy enough healthy food. Growing fresh food in our community garden is great. Sharing our bounty with those in need is even better. Please donate if you have good quality produce to share and please do not remove anything from the bins.
Extra produce can also be put on the "share" shelves by the bulletin board anytime and anyone is welcome to take items from there.
This Thursday, 7/3, we'll have a workday at Eagle Heights to move wood chips, weed plots and fruit plantings and general maintenance from 5 pm to 8 pm. We'll continue that work on Saturday, 7/5, from 8 am to 11 am. If you would like to work one of these opportunities, please reply with which one you are volunteering for and I will get you more information.
As you pull out your bolting lettuce and spinach, consider putting in some bush beans or cilantro to stretch out the harvest. I see the peas are finishing up but the carrots and bush beans are coming in. There are still lots of big toads in the gardens and I've started seeing baby toads as well. Thanks to all of those who planted flowers that make the gardens a happy place and encourage the pollinators.
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
Hope you and the gardens have had a chance to dry out a little. The beans are really making a push now and the squash have gigantic leaves. There are small green tomatoes in many places and it looks like a good summer harvest is coming along. Keep an eye out for basil downy mildew. We have had problems in the past few years and the humid weather will make this more likely. Removing affected leaves will help, but also using more resistant varieties is an option. More information here:
We will have a workday on Saturday, June 28 at Eagle Heights from 8 am to 11 am. There is weeding to be done and path work as well as  maintaining the fruit plantings. Please reply if you would like to work this opportunity.
Please do not leave your hoses attached to the faucets since up to 12 gardeners share the taps. You may use sprinklers, but only while you are present in the gardens and position them so that they do not water your neighbors. Overhead watering is not recommended for some crops such as tomatoes since the wet leaves spread diseases. Please turn off the taps and store your hoses in your plots when you are finished to keep the paths free and open to cart traffic.
If you are pulling out bolting spinach and lettuce, consider putting in some bush green beans or cilantro or green onions. There is plenty of time for more carrots or beets to fill in the spaces.  With green beans, you can plant several small sections over time to have a more continuous supply.
The gardens are looking so green as you enter and the smells of dill and basil are so enticing. Enjoy the walk to your plot.
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sent 6/23/14

Dear Gardeners,
Well the bugs and I have been weeding and I'm keeping up with the weeds but just barely. We have had so much rain that the gardens are soggy, but the plants seem happy with the muggy weather. Please check your plot for even small containers holding water since these can breed mosquitoes and we don't want to be growing them along with the vegetables.
On Wednesday, June 25, we'll have a workday at University Houses to chip some of the common plantings and clear space for leaf deliveries as soon as the truck can get in. We'll work from 5 pm to 8 pm. If you would like to volunteer, please email me and I'll get you some additional information.
There is also a notice about free compost forwarded by one of our gardeners  See:
Free Compost at 2 Dane County Compost sites through end of June.
Links with details and hours:
We are getting some reports of potato beetles as well as the cucumber beetle and squash bugs. Be sure to check your plants and hand-pick off the insects to combat them. We are waiting to time our spraying for the most efficiency on the potato beetles.
We are also starting our donations to the food pantry, Share the Bounty, on July 2. Look for more details next week and be sure to plant a row for hungry families who don't have gardens.
Enjoy the flowers as some of the summer daisies, poppies and lilies are coming in.
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Sent 6/20/14
Dear Gardeners,
Whew, what a week we have had with sleep interrupted with thunder and sirens. Hope all of you were safe in the storms and that we can dry out a little over the weekend. The garden plants actually look happy for the warmth and rain.
If you have hard-neck garlic in the garden, you should start seeing the scapes (flower buds). These are delicious and removing them helps the plant devote more to the bulbs. See recipes and pictures here:
Cut the scapes once the flower has curled around a full circle and cut close to the next leaf. They can be stir-fried or eaten raw and are mildly garlic flavored.
This Sunday, we will try to have an Eagle Heights workday from 8 am to 11 am at the gardens with plot clearing, weeding in the common plantings and some clean-up work. Please email if you would like to work this opportunity and I'll get you more details.
Please let me know if you see Colorado Potato beetles on your potatoes. We will be spraying with an organic spray, but we want to time the application for the best results with the smallest amount of spraying. Hand-picking is really a good idea if you have only a few and is very effective.
Our email was down (with the rest of campus) since Tuesday night and some emails are coming through slowly so please let me know if you emailed and didn't get a reply. Hoping we don't get the violent storms again and no more outages.  Stay dry,
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
Things are really growing now with the long days, plentiful rain and warmer temperatures. There are many butterflies coming to the gardens. One gardener told me he had seen a cucumber beetle but before he could get to it, a toad ate it. Let's hear it for the toads!
We will be working on the weeds in common areas and fruit plantings this week with two workdays. Thursday, we'll work at University Houses gardens from 5 pm to 8 pm. Saturday, we'll work at Eagle Heights from 9 am to noon and will be doing weeding in the fruit plantings as well as plot work. Please reply if you would like to work one of these opportunities and I'll get you more details.
Although the flea beetles are somewhat diminished, there has been a sighting of a Colorado potato beetle in the gardens (black and yellow with stripes). The potato beetle can really be a problem on potatoes but also eggplant and other crops. The best organic measure is to hand pick them off (into a jar of soapy water is good). The young are the most destructive and they can be picked and stepped on or crushed. Much more information and pictures here.

Since neglected infestations hurt all gardeners, we will be spraying occasionally with an organically approved spray at the peak of the season. This will control the worst of the problem, but you should still be very diligent at working to control the insect in your own plot since the damage can be great from even a few insects. Daily checking may be required over a short time.
The salads have been wonderful these last days with different kinds of greens and herbs all at their peak. I've even seen some peppers and tomatoes coming on some plants and the peas are flowering in many places. Hoping you are enjoying the gardens with the early bounty,
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
We had over 2 inches of rain this week already and the plants seem to have doubled in size overnight. Hope that the transplants and seedlings in your plots have survived the deluge. We also are starting to have more insects and the toads must be happy for that. Unfortunately, the weeds have enjoyed the rain too and have become a priority for gardeners.
This Thursday, we'll have a workday at University Houses gardens from 5 to 8 p.m. on June 5 to work on common plantings and paths.
Sunday, June 8, we'll have a workday at Eagle Heights from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. to prepare a bed for sunflowers and tend to the weed pile and arbor plantings.
Please reply if you would like to work one of these opportunities and I will get you more details.
This is a community garden which means you all have a stake in seeing the gardens prosper. Please help out where you can and pitch in to pick up trash, help newcomers find things, exchange gardening information and be a good neighbor in the gardens.
As we get to the warmer months, check out Jenn's blog for some tips on watering your garden:
Be sure to check out all the gorgeous irises blooming in the gardens now!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Dear Gardens,

I neglected to include the times for the Saturday, May 31 workday. We'll work from 8 am to 11 am. The mornings have been magical this week so please consider coming to the workday and helping the the many chores that we need to complete.

Cucumber beetles have been sighted in the gardens as well as the arrival of the flea beetles. Cucumber beetles are yellow and black striped and like cucumbers, squash and pumpkins. They cause a lot of damage when the plants are small and tender and also spread diseases. Flea beetles are tiny and black and eat holes in brassicas: broccoli, cabbage, bok choi, arugula etc. Both of these pests can best be handled with physical barriers. More information and pictures can be found here:

Remember that most of the plots are required to use organic management strategies. If you have questions, there is a handout here to help you with that:

Gretel, Garden Registrar
Garden Website:

Dear Gardeners,
Such a plentiful rain we have had. The plants seem to be growing overnight (along with the weeds). I saw my first bat this week as twilight came on. We are hoping some of them will set up housekeeping in the gardens since they are such good insect eaters. Many dragonflies around too!
This Saturday, May 31, we have a workday scheduled for Eagle Heights with weed work, path repair and many other chores. We could use a lot of volunteers so please consider coming now before the heat gets worse and the bugs more pervasive. Reply to this email if you would like to work this opportunity and I'll get you more details.
We also have reports of ticks coming home on people from the gardens. The State reports that this is a particularly bad year for ticks so please check yourselves out for hitchhikers when you get home. Check your children as well since ticks have been known to carry multiple diseases. More information is available here:
With the weeds growing so fast, we plan on starting our weed juries this weekend or very soon. We use a jury of peers to identify plots that are abandoned or have weeds going to seed so that we can move gardeners from the waiting list into abandoned plots and get the weeds dealt with before they seed into all the neighbors. More information on this process is on the website here:
If you see a bright pink notice in your plot, you will have two weeks to take care of the problem and we can help if you are overwhelmed. Mostly we want to keep the plots moving forward and get everyone to have a successful garden.
Please be careful with planting tall crops not to shade your neighbors' vegetables and don't let the squash and cucumbers run wild into other plots. Many of you are eating greens from the garden already and even the summer tomatoes and squash are looking great. Don't forget to plant a sequence of beans, cilantro and other crops so that everything doesn't come ready at once.
Happy eating,
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Compost sale tonight and weekend workdays

Dear Gardeners,
It is hard to believe that Memorial Day weekend is coming up with the month going so fast. I saw my first hummingbird yesterday and I'm sure they are anxious for some more flowers to open with nectar. The first lettuce and spinach are starting to look edible and the strawberries are flowering.
We have a little compost left from the weekend sale and will sell it tonight from 5 pm to 7 pm at Eagle Heights. It is very heavy so we will be selling it in 1/3 cart loads for $2 and please bring change.
This weekend, we'll have two workdays at Eagle Heights with a variety of tasks that need doing. The first is Saturday from 2 pm to 5 pm and then another on Monday (holiday) from 5 pm to 8 pm. We could use a lot of volunteers and the bugs still haven't arrived, so consider coming for one of these opportunities. If you would like to work, please reply to this email and I'll get you more information.
Please check the path in front of your plots for rocks, sticks and debris. We are starting to mow and need to have the paths cleared for mowers and increasing gardening activity. Also, please remember that entering another plot and taking or borrowing items without permission is considered theft. We have had a number of reports of missing plants and items. Please help your neighbors by keeping an eye on their plots as well since that is our best method of catching these problems.
One weed that you might see is particularly a problem for the Lakeshore Nature Preserve. Please look for garlic mustard before it blooms since the seeds are many and long-lasting. It is edible in salad or pesto but an invasive weed. It secretes chemicals that inhibit other plants so you don't want it in your plots.  Here is a link to a picture of this plant
There has been a real growth spurt this week with rain and warm weather. Green is my favorite color and there is a lot of green coming into the gardens.
Happy weeding,
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Workday Thursday, May 22

Dear Gardeners,
We had a lovely sale for plants and compost and great weather for growing and transplanting. We've had several sightings of scarlet tanagers near the Eagle Heights shed so we are hoping they will nest nearby. The males are brilliant orange/red with black wings. Some of the robin's nests have hatchlings already and all the bird parents are very busy. 
Thursday evening from 5 pm to 8 pm, we'll have a workday at University Houses gardens to fix up the paths and the common planting areas. Please reply if you are interested in working this opportunity and I'll get you more details.
Now that the water is on, please be considerate with water use. Don't leave the water on unnecessarily and return your hoses to your plots and out of the paths. At least 8 to 10 gardeners use the same faucets so sharing the hoses and being careful of the plumbing system is important. Remember that the water lines are only every other row so the gardeners behind you need the space between plots to get to water. Leave at least 6 inches on your side of the plot boundary for this access.
Adam and Will are going to be mowing starting this week so please get everything out of the paths (rocks, sticks, tomato cages, etc.). These are hazards for the mowers and the equipment as well as making the paths difficult for wheelbarrows and other gardeners. Hoses left in the paths are likely to get nicked in the mowing so be sure they are inside plot boundaries. Anything left outside the plots is likely to be removed so that we can do the mowing and other gardeners can get to their plots.
There is a little compost still to be sold but we are working on when that might be happening. More information soon.
The weeds have really started growing so I hope you have had a chance to get working on them. Warm weather is in the forecast so I hope that your seeds are sprouting, you've met your neighbors and that the gardens are a happy place for you to spend time,
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Plant sale and compost possibility and workdays. May 14th 2014

Dear Gardeners,
Starting to look like a real garden out there with rows of new plants coming up in the ample rain and the trees and bushes leafing out. Many birds are flying past with nest materials.  Look for the northern orioles.  We usually have a couple of nests of these bright orange and black birds on the edges of the Eagle Heights gardens. I've already seen three pairs building nests (hanging woven bags on far branches of trees).  They have a lovely song. Lots of lemon yellow goldfinches around too.
This Sunday, we have the plant sale at Eagle Heights from 11 am to 1 pm. We expect tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and herbs. Check out the list we were given in Jenn's blog on the website. These are organically raised plants and we have been happy with the quality and prices. There is parking on Eagle Heights Drive (marked for gardeners) and the plant sales will be near the shed.
We also hope to have compost, but this is weather dependent. With luck, we will be selling compost from the West Madison Agricultural Station that is made from the barn manure and food waste from campus. Our past deliveries have been great stuff (very professionally and fully composted) and we sell it at cost ($3 for a half-cart load). All sales will be at Eagle Heights from 11 am to 1 pm.
We really need help on a number of tasks so please consider doing your workday soon in this nice weather.  Saturday we will be working on the final bits of the wall-building at Eagle Heights from 2 pm to 5 pm. On Sunday, we need a couple of volunteers to load compost and ferry carts if we have the compost sale. These would be needed from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm. We also will work on the wall and plot work on Sunday at 2 pm to 5 pm. If you would like to work one of these opportunities, reply to this message and I'll get you more details. Be sure to let me know which opportunity you are volunteering for.
This is my favorite time of gardening with great promise for the season. I watch gardeners entering the gardens waving to friends. They have jaunty walks and armloads of supplies and then leave (a little less jaunty after the work) but with happy smiles. This weekend promises to be a good one for gardening and hope to see you all at the sales and working in your plots.
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Water, warblers and workdays. May 7th, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
Beautifully colored warblers (tiny flitting birds) are moving through the woods on their way north. These jewels are mostly just passing through but are a real sign of spring coming on. The gardens are greening up and the weeds are sprouting so time to get some serious work done.
The water is on at Eagle Heights , but may be off temporarily for a few repairs. Please do not drink from the water hoses for at least two weeks. We don't sanitize the lines and they will have rust and silt build up for a while. The safest is to bring water for drinking from home but the garden water is safe for your vegetables and comes from the city supply.
We will have two workdays this weekend at Eagle Heights with good weather forecast. Saturday, May 10, we'll work from 2 pm to 5 pm on wall-building and plot clearing; Sunday, May 11, we'll finish the same tasks and work from 1 pm to 4 pm. Please reply to let me know if you can work one of these opportunities and I'll get you more details.
Just a reminder that our warm weather plant sale is coming up on May 18 from 11a.m. to 1 p.m. If the weather holds, we are working on having compost for sale that day as well. With warming temperatures, we hope that you will be able to transplant in your tomatoes, peppers and eggplant by then although they may need some protection from cool nights. If anyone  has a truck or trailer that could be used to move compost to University Houses that day, please let me know since we would like to get some compost over to those gardens but don't have a place to store it there.
Lots of activity in the plots now and the long cold spring is giving way to warmer temperatures. Hopefully your seedlings are coming up and soon there will be flowers and vegetables to enjoy. For now, it is great just to be back to working in the soil.
With dreams of new lettuce and radishes,

Gretel, Garden Registrar