Wednesday, August 15, 2018


From the Gardens Registrar: Garden Committee Co-Chair Needed; Freezing Tomatoes; Plots Are Still Available; Zinnias; Dilly Beans; Workday at University Houses Gardens on Saturday

Hello Gardeners,

GARDEN COMMITTEE CO-CHAIR VACANCY – One of our co-chairs is leaving us at the end of October to take a job at a prestigious agricultural research station, so, sadly, we will need a new co-chair starting in November. The co-chairs run the monthly garden committee meetings and set the agendas. They help develop garden management policies, and may be called upon to settle disputes. The work is very responsible, but generally takes up very little time. What do you get in exchange? Beyond workday credit, you do get to use your knowledge, skills, and opinions to help our gardens keep operating, and, hopefully, continue far into the future.  If you’re interested, please send me an email. We’ll want to know why you want the position, what kind of time commitment you can make (we would prefer a one-year commitment), and any relevant experience you may have.

FREEZING TOMATOES – If you have any freezer space at all, and you’ve got extra tomatoes, you should freeze tomatoes for the winter. All you need is plastic freezer bags or containers, or canning jars. Wash the tomatoes, dry them, put them into the containers, and then into the freezer. That’s it. You don’t have to blanch them or do anything else to prepare them. You can also puree your tomatoes, and freeze the puree, or you can make sauce, and freeze that. Whichever way you do it, you’ll be happy to have your very own tomatoes to cook with in January.

PLOTS ARE STILL AVAILABLE – This time of year, empty garden plots are accumulating, and are available at no charge. You can take a plot, clear it of weeds in lieu of a workday, and get it ready for planting next year. A gardener is only allowed one (full) plot, but if you have a half-plot now, and you’re thinking you’d like more growing space next year, this would be a good opportunity to get another half-plot.

ZINNIAS AND BUTTERFLIES – Many gardeners plant zinnias in their plots. They’re colorful, easy to grow, take very little care, and may be beneficial to some of your vegetables. They attract bees, which pollinate plants, and they also deter cucumber beetles and tomato worms. But this time of year, they’re especially enjoyable, because they attract butterflies – monarchs, swallowtails, and others, which come to the flowers for nectar. https://www.growveg.com/guides/why-zinnias-are-perfect-companions-in-the-vegetable-garden/ Frankly, your registrar dislikes zinnias. But which would you rather have fluttering around your plot – a big beautiful butterfly or the registrar? You don’t have to answer this.

DILLY BEANS – These are very easy, and very good. http://www.shutterbean.com/2015/refrigerator-dilly-beans/

WORKDAY – We will have a workday at University Houses Gardens this Saturday morning, August 18, from 8am – 11am. The task will be clearing and chipping paths. Here’s the link to sign up: https://doodle.com/poll/6ys8fy26e3u2v4sb (University Houses Gardens are at the end of Haight Road, past Bernie’s Place Childcare Center.)

Happy Gardening,
Kathryn


Wednesday, August 8, 2018


From the Gardens Registrar: A Reminder – Workday and Gardener Gathering Today at Eagle Heights; Weedy Plot Notices; Garden Buddies; Squash Bugs; Weed of the Week – Burdock

Hello Gardeners,

TWO REMINDERS: Today’s workday is at Eagle Heights from 4pm – 7pm. Here’s the link to sign up: https://doodle.com/poll/2s487kymykv4ri8w

Also, from 6pm – 7pm this evening, there will be an informal gathering at Eagle Heights to meet your fellow gardeners, and look at each other’s gardens. Meet at the shed at 6:00 if you want to tour, or else you can work in your garden and talk with other gardeners when they walk by.

WEEDY PLOT NOTICES – Here’s a quiz for you: what should you do if you receive a weedy plot notice from the registrar?

A.      Ignore it               B. Panic                C. Send an email back in response

The correct answer, of course, is B. I mean, C. We have four garden juries inspecting the plots at Eagle Heights, and one jury at University Houses. They send me monthly reports, I take a look at the plots they’ve marked, and then I send notices to the weediest ones. We inspect plots to try to solve two problems. One problem is that sometimes people give up gardening and don’t let the registrar know. This means that a plot can sit and get more and more weedy before anybody does anything about it. The other problem is that some kinds of weeds spread very easily, through roots and/or seeds, to neighboring plots. Very weedy plots can also harbor rabbits and voles. Plots in this kind of condition cause problems for other gardeners.

If you get a weedy plot notice, please email me back as soon as you can, and tell me what’s going on. Some gardeners will get right to work, and will clear out the weeds within a couple of weeks. That’s the best scenario. Other gardeners will admit that they’re busier than they expected, and will give up their plots. That’s the next best scenario. The worst scenario is the people who say they’ll get to work, and then nothing happens. Please don’t do that. Your garden plot is your own, but everything you do, and don’t do, affects other gardeners – that’s because we’re a COMMUNITY garden.

WHO’S YOUR GARDEN BUDDY? – Here’s our next quiz: what happens in your garden when you’re away for a week or two or three?

A.      Everything just sits there in suspended animation until you return
B.      Some vegetable plants die, some vegetables rot, and the weeds go crazy!

If you want to have a good garden, but you also want to (or have to) travel, be sure to find yourself a garden buddy. This is a person who will look after your plot while you’re gone – they’ll water if it’s very dry, pull a few weeds, and pick (and devour) your produce. Presumably, you’ll do the same for them when they travel. Because, (in case you guessed wrong), your plants and weeds will keep growing, even if you’re not around to watch. Let a friend, or one of your garden neighbors, know that you’ll be gone, and ask for their help.

FROM THE WISCONSIN PEST BULLETIN - SQUASH BUG - Adults and nymphs are active in pumpkin and winter squash plantings across the state. Vegetable growers should continue to inspect the undersides of leaves for the bronze-colored eggs, deposited in groups of 15-40 between leaf veins or on stems, as long as small nymphs are present. Squash bugs are capable of damaging mature fruit, thus control may be needed as the crop nears harvest.

BURDOCK – Today’s weed is burdock, which is an invasive plant which grows all over our gardens. Although the roots (and sometimes the stems) are eaten in Italy, Japan, and China, and are considered very healthy, I believe that most of the burdock in our gardens was not deliberately planted, and is not likely to be harvested. It makes a long taproot, which is hard to dig out, so try to find this and pull it out when it’s still small. The plants have lots of seeds, which spread widely, and the plant also can serve as a host for diseases which can attack your plants. Here’s some pictures: https://www.fs.fed.us/r3/resources/health/invasives/pinkForbs/commonBurdock.shtml

THANK YOU TO THE GARDENER WHO NEATENED THE TOOLS AND TOOL RACK AT EAGLE HEIGHTS!

Happy Gardening,
Kathryn

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

From the Gardens Registrar: What to Plant in August; Harvesting Garlic; Rabbits; Swiss Chard; Workday Tomorrow Evening at Eagle Heights


Hello Gardeners,

WHAT TO PLANT NOW – If you have empty space in your garden, this is a good time to start some fall crops, such as beets, carrots, chard, kale, lettuce, spinach, mustard, turnips, and radishes. Root crops and leafy greens are your best bets for productive fall vegetables because they grow pretty quickly, and many of them are hardy enough to survive some frost. I know – it’s only August, but we will be thinking about frost before you know it.

Planting this time of year is always tricky – some of these plants don’t do well in hot weather, and if you start them too early, they’ll just shrivel up. But you have to start them early enough to give them enough time to grow. Since the solstice (late June), the days are getting shorter and the sun less direct. This means that, despite warm temperatures, everything grows progressively slower in late summer and fall.

If you plant now, be sure to water frequently. It can be helpful if there’s shade in your garden (maybe from your taller plants) to start these cool weather-loving plants.

HARVEST YOUR GARLIC – For those lucky gardeners with garlic, this is the time to harvest it. Here’s an article on how to tell when your garlic is ready, how to dig it, and how to cure it for storage: https://www.epicgardening.com/how-and-when-to-harvest-

RABBITS – Are there more rabbits in the gardens this year than usual? Maybe not, but I’m seeing lots of them, and they’re fat and healthy-looking, too. No wonder – they’re stuffing themselves with our fresh, organic vegetables. There are a number of things you can try to repel rabbits, but there’s one thing for sure – if you have tall weeds in your garden, that gives rabbits (and voles) a place to live and hide. Remove their habitat, and it’s bound to help. This is the sort of reason we have garden juries reporting on weedy plots.  Here are some other ideas: https://www.gardeners.com/how-to/rabbit-control-in-the-garden/5465.html

SWISS CHARD – Chard is a Mediterranean green (It’s not Swiss), that grows very easily in Eagle Heights gardens. It can be planted in spring or summer, requires little or no care, can be cut repeatedly, is healthy, tastes good, and is versatile to cook with. So if you haven’t planted it before, try it. 
WORKDAY AUGUST 2, AT EAGLE HEIGHTS – We will have a workday at Eagle Heights tomorrow, Thursday, August 2, from 4pm – 7pm. The project will be rechipping the 1300 row, and possibly working more on the weeds in the tree line. Please bring garden gloves. Here’s the link to sign up: https://doodle.com/poll/bngfz4mxzte47i6f

THANK YOU TO OUR GARDEN WORKERS FOR FIXING ALL OF OUR RECENT WATER PROBLEMS!

Happy Gardening,
Kathryn