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!