Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dear Gardeners,

Pretty cool the last couple of days, but the tomatoes are really coming in now. On our survey, tomatoes were the top vegetable grown by gardeners in our plots. Nothing can really beat the taste of a tomato that is ripened on the vine and in peak flavor.

The Dane County Farmer's Market is sponsoring a series of tomato preservation workshops. If you have more tomatoes than you can eat fresh, this is an opportunity to learn about canning, freezing and dehydrating tomatoes for later use. The classes start tonight (canning demonstration) at 6 pm at Feed Kitchens, 1219 Sherman Avenue. There is a fee for the classes but refreshments and supplies are provided and you can learn from experts. Later classes are Sept. 8 with hands-on canning and Sept. 15 for freezing and dehydrating. More info at :

Tomato Preservation Workshop Series - Dane County Farmers' Market
Dane County Farmers’ Market is offering a three-part series on tomato preservation at Feed Kitchens with Master Food Preserver Polly Reott! The peak of tomato season is ramping up. Vine-ripe, sweet and juicy tomatoes are already loading up the tables … Continue reading →
Our food pantry program has been struggling due to thefts from the bins and we are working on a better system to make sure your donated produce gets to the pantry. This Wednesday's pickups are cancelled and we will try for a different system on Saturday , perhaps with gardeners volunteering to attend the bins and thank the donors.

Not too late to put in a little dill, cilantro, arugula and lettuce for the late fall. The weather is always unpredictable, but we can have some veggies into November.

Gretel, Garden Registrar
Garden website: http://www.eagleheightsgardens.org

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Dear Gardeners,
Well after a dry spell, we finally got a good rain (two in fact) and the plants seem very happy. Hope you are getting lots to harvest and enjoying the season. The plants like that hot humid weather even if it makes us uncomfortable and the gardens are really producing.
This Saturday, August 22, there will be a workday at Eagle Heights gardens from 8 am to 11 am to work in the weed pile area and fix up the sandboxes. Please reply if you would like to work and I'll get you more information.
The garden committee has also extended the deadline to submit a statement of interest for the co-chairs positions until Sept. 3. We'll be voting on this at our September meeting and please consider contributing to make the gardens a better place. More information is available on the Registrar's archive for July 29 on the website.
I need to ask your help with a particular matter : WEEDS and Plant debris. . We have a designated area for weeds at the start of the A row with rock boundaries. Please don't put your weeds in the dumpster, or the paths or the leaf piles or the common areas or the Preserve.  Please stop anyone that you see putting vegetable matter anywhere but the weed pile area. We all have responsibility for keeping the order in the gardens and we need your help educating everyone about how to do this. The workday crews and field staff who have to clean up after the mistakes will thank you as well as all the rest of the gardeners.
The sad news is that the cranes lost their chick this year (unknown how) but they have been coming up to amuse us and a mink has been sighted in the woods just above University Houses gardens.  Hummingbirds are very busy gaining weight before the long flights south. Enjoy the basil and tomato sandwiches, the tomatillo/pepper salsa, the cucumber salads, eggplant casseroles and the continuing squash and green beans! Thank the soil and the sun and your hard work for the feast.
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Dear Gardeners,
The gardens are a jungle to behold with beans, squash and tomatoes all trying to spread and flourish. This is a productive year and everyone rejoices as the tomatoes start coming in.  You might keep an eye out for the tomato hornworms (I found one recently) which are huge and have a big appetite. They are green and hard to spot on plants. Just pick them off and rid of them (throwing them in the weed pile might feed a hungry bird).
More info and pictures here:
This Sunday, August 9, there will be a workday in Eagle Heights from 8 am to 11 am to work in the common areas and paths. If you would like to work this opportunity, just reply and I'll get you more details.
Basil downy mildew is affecting a lot of plants in the gardens. Basil is so wonderful with tomatoes. Be sure to get your basil into full sun by pruning plants around it and leave plenty of space around for air movement. Please remember that only organically approved fungicides are allowed at Eagle Heights and the A and B plots at University Houses. More information is available here including pictures varieties that are more resistant:

Mark your calenders for an Urban Horticulture Field Day at the West Madison Agricultural Research station (just outside the Beltline on Mineral Point Road). This is scheduled for August 15 , a week from Saturday, from 10 am to 2 pm. Lots of kids activities, a vegetable taste test, experts to answer questions and fun for all. I'll have more info next week.
Don't forget to plant some cilantro, dill and arugula for fall,
Gretel, Garden Registrar