Wednesday, August 16, 2017

From the Gardens Registrar: Eagle Heights Drive; Reminder about Workdays; More Plots Available; Freezing Tomatoes; Parasitic Wasps Update; This Weekend’s Workday

Hello Gardeners,

EAGLE HEIGHTS DRIVE – Okay, they didn’t finish it last week. But they will complete the project and reopen the street this Friday, August 18. Really. For sure.

DON’T WAIT TOO LONG TO SIGN UP FOR A WORKDAY – The garden season is more than half over, but fewer than half of our gardeners have signed up for a workday. It’s easy to put it off, week after week, and then you suddenly realize at the end of the season that you forgot to work one, and you have to pay the fee. Remember, every garden plot must contribute one gardener to do a work shift. (If a garden has two gardeners, only one needs to do a workday.) Some people prefer to pay the no-workday fee ($32) with their application at the beginning of the season, or they’ll expect to pay it at the end of the season. We’re happy to take the money at any time. But your labor is more valuable to the gardens. A workday is a great opportunity to meet other gardeners, and to work together to contribute to the gardens. And, of course, to get sunburned, calloused, and thirsty. That’s why we recommend bringing gloves, a hat, and drinking water.

PLOTS AVAILABLE – We have three half-plots and two full plots available at Eagle Heights. They are very weedy, and it’s getting late in the season. But there’s still time to clear a plot and plant some vegetables for fall. If you would like to take on another plot, or have a friend who’d like one, please let me know. Garden plots are half-price at this point. Remember, a gardener can only have one full plot, but a gardener with a half plot can add a second half plot.

FREEZING TOMATOES- The easiest way to preserve tomatoes is to freeze them. Just wash them, dry them, put them into good quality freezer bags, and put them in the freezer. That’s it. You can also make tomato sauce and freeze that, or puree tomatoes in a blender or food processor, and freeze that. Or, you can peel the tomatoes by blanching them, and then chop them, and freeze the chopped tomatoes. Whatever form you freeze them in, you’ll be happy to have them in the winter.

PARASITIC WASPS – Another group of parasitic wasp eggs arrived on Tuesday, and have been placed in the gardens. Now that the first group of wasps have probably hatched, we’re wondering if gardeners are noticing any relief from the bean beetles. Do you have fewer beetles, larvae, or eggs on your beans? Are your bean plants looking any healthier? Please let me know if you’ve seen an improvement. 

WORKDAY – This weekend’s workday (ahem, see above) is scheduled for Sunday, August 20, at Eagle Heights, 8am – 11am. The task will be path maintenance. Here’s the link to sign up:

Happy Gardening,

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

From the Gardens Registrar: Where’s the Water at University Houses?; Where’s the Leaf Pile at Eagle Heights?; Horticulture Day This Saturday at West Ag Station; Food Preservation Presentation; Workday

Hello Gardeners,

WATER AT UNIVERSITY HOUSES GARDENS – The water has been off at University Houses Gardens since last Saturday. We did not turn it off, and we were not having any serious water/plumbing problems as far as we know. We are still trying to find out who turned it off, and why. We hope the water will be restored soon.

WHERE’S THE LEAF PILE? – Due to DNR regulations, we were required to remove the leaf pile from Eagle Heights by the end of August. The last leaves have now been hauled to the University Houses Gardens, and they will have plenty of leaves for quite a while. We will get leaves again at Eagle Heights this fall, when the Village of Shorewood starts collecting them again. In the meantime, we do still have lots of bark mulch at Eagle Heights.

At this family-friendly field day, visitors can tour the station’s vineyard, vegetable garden and extensive flowerbeds, and participate in a taste evaluation of tomatoes, peppers and other station-grown produce. On display will be more than 175 cultivars of New Guinea Impatiens and SunPatiens being evaluated in full sun this year, as well as 100 other soon-to-be-released cultivars of bedding plants. Visitors can also see All-America Selections vegetables and nearly 1000 perennial ornamentals. UW-Madison and UW-Extension experts will share information and answer questions about pollinators and beneficial insects, insect pests, plant diseases, turfgrass, ways to extend the growing season for vegetables, and general gardening. West Madison Agricultural Research Station is located at 8502 Mineral Point Road, Verona, Wisconsin. This event will be 10am – 2pm, and is free.

FOOD PRESERVATION PRESENTATION – Deb Neubauer, from UW-Extension, will give a presentation on food preservation and safety at Pinney Library, 204 Cottage Grove Road on Madison’s east side, on Thursday, August 10, from 5:30pm.  – 7:00pm. The event is sponsored by Allis Heritage Community Gardens and the Pinney Library.  Light garden refreshments will be served. No registration required and no charge for the program.

WORKDAY – This weekend’s workday will be Saturday, August 12, 8am – 11, at University Houses Gardens. The task will be path maintenance. The workday crews have been doing an excellent job on the paths this summer. We’re more than halfway through the garden season now – don’t put off signing up for a workday. Here’s the link to sign up: As always, gloves, a hat, and water are very useful. (especially if the garden water is still turned off, which we hope it isn’t.)

Happy gardening,