Wednesday, June 20, 2018


From the Gardens Registrar: Wild Parsnip; Raspberry Pests; Bird and Nature Hike on Sunday; Rhubarb-Orange Jam; No Workday

Hello Gardeners,

WILD PARSNIP – Unfortunately, wild parsnip is now turning up in our gardens. This is a very invasive plant which has become widespread in Wisconsin. It’s a tall plant, with yellow flowers. It’s also dangerous, because touching the plant with bare skin leads to a serious and painful rash. If you find this in your plot, be sure to wear gloves, long sleeves, and long pants when you pull it out. Or use a sharp shovel to sever the root below the ground. Here’s a website with information and pictures:  https://sewisc.org/invasives/invasive-plants/72-wild-parsnip

RASPBERRY PESTS – Spotted Wing Drosophila is a tiny fruit fly which attacks raspberries and other soft fruit. The adults lay their eggs in the fruit, and then when the larvae hatch, they eat the fruit. We definitely have these insects in the gardens, and they are active now. The best way to keep them from breeding and spreading is to pick your raspberries frequently – don’t leave over-ripe berries on the plants or on the ground. If you think your berries might have flies, put them in the refrigerator after picking them – that will stop the larvae from growing. Fortunately, it’s not dangerous to eat them, and they’re so tiny, you won’t even notice them. https://hort.uwex.edu/articles/spotted-wing-drosophila/

BIRD AND NATURE OUTING – On Sunday, June 24, there will be a guided walk around the UW Lakeshore Nature Preserve’s Class of 1918 Marsh. This is a free, family-friendly event, which will be hosted by UW Limnology Emeritus Professor John Magnuson.  Bird and Nature Outings at the Lakeshore Nature Preserve occur every 4th Saturday from 1:30-3pm and are sponsored by the Friends of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve. Meet at UW parking lot 129 (2004 University Bay Drive). The marsh is on the other side of the drive from Picnic Point. 

RHUBARB-ORANGE JAM – Simple, good, and it uses rhubarb. You can make half the recipe, to make one jar, and just keep it in the refrigerator instead of canning it. https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/86346/rhubarb-jam/

WORKDAY – We’re not currently planning a workday for this weekend, but I’ll send an update if we schedule one.

NOTE: MORE WOOD CHIPS ARE COMING SOON!

Happy Gardening,  
Kathryn

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

From the Gardens Registrar: Tomatoes and Tobacco; Colorado Potato Beetles; Ticks; Garden Talk; A Radish Salad Recipe; No Workday This Weekend


From the Gardens Registrar: Tomatoes and Tobacco; Colorado Potato Beetles; Ticks; Garden Talk; A Radish Salad Recipe; No Workday This Weekend

Hello Gardeners,

TOMATOES AND TOBACCO – Please do not smoke cigarettes or use tobacco in any form in our gardens. Tobacco spreads a serious disease called Tobacco Mosaic Virus to tomatoes, and to their relatives, such as peppers and eggplants. If you smoke and you grow any of these vegetables, don’t smoke in their presence, and wash your hands, with soap and water, before touching them. Smoking is not actually prohibited in the gardens, but we strongly recommend that you not do it. Of course, tobacco isn’t good for you either...

COLORADO POTATO BEETLES – We have potato beetles in the garden now – they are serious pests of potatoes, of course, but also potato relatives such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. Both the adults and the larvae eat leaves, and if there’s a large enough population, they can strip the plants. Once again, the safest and most effective method for getting rid of them is to hand-pick them off your plants, and toss them into a bucket of soapy water. Some years, our garden workers spray Spinosad in areas with lots of beetles. It’s a natural substance made by a soil bacterium. It is very toxic to insects, but not to most other organisms, such as mammals, birds, or earthworms. It can be dangerous to bees, but our workers are very careful about when they spray, so that bees won’t be affected. We haven’t made a decision on spraying yet for this year, but here is a fact sheet on Spinosad: http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/spinosadgen.html

FUN WITH TICKS - The tick population has been growing steadily in Wisconsin in the last few years. Most ticks people encounter are wood ticks, which are primarily just annoying, but the greater concern is for deer ticks, which can spread Lyme Disease. I don’t think ticks are a particular problem in our gardens, and at least they don’t eat our tomatoes or beans, but you do need to be aware of them any time you’re outside. Here’s some good information from UW Health: https://www.uwhealth.org/health/topic/special/ticks-how-to-avoid-and-remove-ticks/tp23585spec.html

NEW TICK APP LAUNCHED – The Midwest and the Northeast Centers of Excellence for Vector-Borne Disease have just launched a smart-phone application through which you can report ticks, track your own tick exposure, and learn all about ticks. This app is part of a research study, so if you’re interested, you’ll need to start by filling out a short entry survey. Once you’re signed up, you participate by keeping a tick diary. You can download the app at Google Play or at iTunes, or you can sign up (or learn more about the project) at this website: www.thetickapp.org/signup

GARDEN TALK – Every Friday morning, Larry Meiller has a special feature called “Garden Talk” on his talk show on Wisconsin Public Radio. Larry has a garden expert as his guest, and they take calls from listeners with garden questions. The show is on from 11am – 12:30pm, and the local WPR ideas station is 970AM.

RADISH SALAD – This looks simple and good: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/222561/summer-radish-salad/

Happy Gardening,  
Kathryn

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

From the Gardens Registrar: Wisconsin Pest Bulletin; Insecticidal Sprays; Jumping Worms; Woodchips; Workday This Sunday



Hello Gardeners,

WISCONSIN PEST BULLETIN – The State of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection puts out a weekly Pest Bulletin during the growing season. While the information is primarily for farmers and commercial plant growers, it’s interesting to ordinary gardeners to see what insects are headed our way. You can find the bulletin at http://datcpservices.wisconsin.gov/pb/index.jsp .You can also subscribe to it, and have it sent to your email every week. According to the latest issue, cucumber beetles are becoming active, and Colorado potato beetle eggs are close to hatching. Cucumber beetles attack, not only cucumbers, but also summer and winter squash, and melons. They primarily damage these vegetables by spreading bacterial wilt. So beware.

INSECTICIDAL SPRAYS – A gardener emailed me to ask what to do about holes in bean leaves, and mentioned he’d heard about spraying them with dish soap. I looked at various sites on the Internet, and found that some people do get good results battling insects with dish-washing detergent or liquid soap, although there are plenty of arguments about what does and doesn’t work, plus concerns about some of the ingredients in many soaps and detergents.
The safest and surest way of removing insect pests from your plants is hand-picking them. However, it’s time-consuming, and can be icky. You can buy insecticidal sprays, but of course if you garden at Eagle Heights or in the organic rows at University Houses, the sprays must be organic. Some websites provide specific recipes for making your own soap-based sprays, at much less cost – here’s a sample: https://plantcaretoday.com/castile-soap-spray.html  You should be careful about spraying your plants on very hot days – the soap could hurt them. Since these sprays are only used on the insects you’re trying to get rid of, they won’t hurt bees, which is important.

JUMPING WORMS – Jumping worms were first found in Wisconsin in 2013, and have been spreading. None of the earthworms in Wisconsin are actually native, but this type of worm is not only invasive, but destructive. There are definitely jumping worms at Eagle Heights Gardens. They are almost impossible to get rid of, once they appear. The only thing we can do is to try to keep them from spreading further. For this reason, please be very careful if you move a plant from your garden plot to your home garden, if you have one. Also, be careful when you get plants from friends. If you clean the soil from the roots of the plant before taking it away, you’ll probably get rid of the worm cocoons. Here’s an informational site at the State Department of Natural Resources: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Invasives/fact/jumpingworm/index.html

WOOD CHIPS – Our gardeners have discovered the piles of wood chips at both gardens, and have been using them enthusiastically. This is good. Unfortunately, they’re all gone now. But yes, we will definitely get more. There isn’t a schedule for this – they’ll be delivered when UW Grounds cuts down more trees. We may have to wait a bit. But we will get more – probably lots more.

WORKDAY THIS WEEKEND – We will have a workday this Sunday morning, June 10, at Eagle Heights, from 8am – 11am. The task will be clearing weeds from the raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Be sure to bring garden gloves – thistles are involved. I’ll send out the doodle poll link separately.

Happy Gardening,  
Kathryn