Wednesday, April 26, 2017

From the Gardens Registrar: Eagle Heights Plumbing; Planting Potatoes; Unplanting Thistles; UW Family Garden Day on May 6; Garden Hose Etiquette

Hello Gardeners,

EAGLE HEIGHTS PLUMBING – As you know, the water at Eagle Heights is currently off. We hope to have the broken and leaking spigots fixed, and the water turned back on, by the weekend. We apologize – we didn’t manage to get the water turn-on and the annual spigot repairs in synch this year.

THISTLES – One of the most common and annoying of the Eagle Heights weeds is Canada thistles. They spread both by seed, and by their creeping roots. They can develop deep taproots, which can sprout again if broken off. Thistles don’t do anybody any good – if you have them in your plot, this is a good time to get them out, while they’re still small enough to deal with. If you don’t pull them out, they will not only spread throughout your plot, but into your neighbor’s plots. Digging them out, one by one, seems to be the best control. Be careful – wear gloves. This is a link to a website with some good general information, though I’m not so sure about snipping off the thistle leaves with scissors:  Apparently, ordinary household vinegar also kills thistles.

POTATOES – After you’ve pulled out your thistles, this is a good time of year to plant potatoes, as many of our gardeners are doing. Potatoes can be planted as soon as the ground can be worked, but they’ll grow better if the soil has warmed up some. The young plants can stand light frost, but you might want to be ready to cover them if very cold temperatures are predicted. This looks like a useful website:

UW FAMILY GARDEN DAY – This annual event, scheduled this year for Saturday, May 6, from 10am – 1pm, is sponsored by the UW Extension’s Master Gardener Program. Events include tours of the Allen Centennial Garden and the D.C. Smith Greenhouse; hands-on activities with seeds, plants, and soil; the chance to ask garden questions; and free seeds and plants to take home (while supplies last.) Here are links to more information: Facebook:

GARDEN HOSE ETIQUETTE – Once the water system is functional again, please observe proper hose etiquette. There’s no need to ask Miss Manners for advice – it’s just common sense. When you want to water your garden, you attach your hose to the spigot. When you are done watering your garden, you detach your hose from the spigot. This allows other gardeners to access the water. Then you move your hose into your plot – please do not leave it in the common path where it is in other people’s way. 

Happy gardening,

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

From the Gardens Registrar: Garden Orientation, Where’s the University Houses Leaf Mulch?, Who Shares Our Garden? (part 1), Cool Weather Plant Sale, Bean Beetle Brigade!

 Hello Gardeners,

GARDEN ORIENTATION – We’ll be having a short orientation session at Eagle Heights on Thursday, April 20, at 5:30 pm, starting at the garden shed. If you’re a new gardener and you haven’t been able to make it to previous orientations but you would still like to have one, please come join us. You don’t have to make a reservation – just show up.

LEAF MULCH AT UNIVERSITY HOUSES – Gardeners at the University Houses Gardens have been without leaf mulch for months. The problem is that the road to the gardens is very soft, and we have had continued wet conditions, which are preventing the road from firming up. The trucks from the Village of Shorewood that bring in the leaves are large and heavy, and they can’t use the road unless it’s dry – they’ll get stuck otherwise. We know you all want leaf mulch, and we will get you leaf mulch as soon as it’s physically possible. We’re really sorry, but there’s nothing we can do now but wait.

WHO SHARES OUR GARDEN? (part 1) – If you’ve looked at the Eagle Heights map, you may have wondered who “F.H. King” is? The full name for this group is F.H. King Students for Sustainable Agriculture, and it is named after Franklin Hiram King, a Nineteenth Century professor at the UW who is considered to be the father of sustainable agriculture. The organization was founded in 1979. They’ve been using 1.75 acres of land at Eagle Heights since 2005 for their garden, where students learn organic and sustainable gardening techniques. Most of the 2900 pounds of vegetables, fruit, flowers, and herbs they grow each season is donated free of charge to the campus community.

COOL WEATHER PLANT SALE – A reminder - On SUNDAY, April 23, Scott Williams, with Garden To Be in Mount Horeb, will be bringing Broccoli, Cabbages, Napa, Parsley, Kales, Collards, Sorrel, Alpine Strawberries, Swiss Chard, Chives, Lettuces, Brussels Sprouts, and possibly rhubarb plants and other vegetables to sell at Eagle Heights, near the shed, from 11am – 1pm. Please note, Scott can take cash or checks for his plants, but not credit cards.

BEAN BEETLE BRIGADE – Here is a message from the valiant commander of the Eagle Heights Bean Beetle Brigade: 

As many of you remember, the 2016 garden season was NOT good for beans. Many of us lost most of our crop to the evil BEAN BEETLE!  We hope to turn that around this year with the use of parasitic wasps - Pediobius faveolatus.   

This is a small beneficial wasp that will parasitize  the larvae of the Mexican bean beetle (and the same stages of squash beetle larvae, a closely related species).

In order to achieve success, we need to work together and to work quickly once the eggs/larvae are spotted in the gardens.  We need volunteers at both Eagle Heights and UHouses gardens to participate in the following:

n  Plant beans, especially bush beans
n  Indicate where on the garden map beans have been planted
n  Help to educate garden neighbors to identify the stages of  the bean beetle (we will be sending out more info to help you)
n  Monitor for bean beetle eggs and then larvae
n  Report their emergence to the Registrar immediately
n  Help to distribute the parasitic wasps once they arrive via mail (there is only an 18-hour window for this)
Parasitic wasps are expensive. To make sure they are effective we must work together.  We plan to introduce the wasps once in the late spring/early summer and then again in late July. 

Please let the Registrar know via email ( if you are willing to participate at any level.  Volunteers in your area will be coming around to ask for your help as well. 

For more information, see:

Happy gardening,