Political Commentary

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,  

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