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