Political Commentary

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

From the Gardens Registrar: Don’t Dump Weeds in the Dumpster; Vegetables You Can Still Plant in September; Austrian Winter Field Peas; Tip for Tomatoes; Tomato Recipes; Weed of the Week: Pigweed; No Workday This Weekend

Hello Gardeners,

A REMINDER – Please don’t dump weeds and/or vegetable debris in the dumpsters. At Eagle Heights, please dump them on the concrete slab at the weed pile, which is at the end of the 300 row. Thank you.

YOU CAN STILL PLANT VEGETABLES NOW – There is still time to plant root crops and greens for fall harvest. Kale, lettuce, spinach, and chard will still have time to produce leaves before frost. And kale is actually better after it’s been frosted – it’s sweeter and better-tasting. You can still plant radishes and beets. If you want to plant carrots, which grow slowly, try smaller varieties, which will mature a little faster. We still have about two months before the end of garden season – the end will come sometime in late October or so.

AUSTRIAN WINTER FIELD PEAS – One of our long-term gardeners, who ran an organic farm in Kansas for thirty years, has just bought seeds for a cover crop for his family’s plots, and will have extra seeds to share. The plant is Austrian Winter Field Pea. It did very well for him in Kansas, so he wanted to see how well it will do in Wisconsin, with its colder climate This plant, like other legumes, adds nitrogen to the soil, which increases fertility for main-season crops. These peas should be planted in the next few weeks, and will probably die over the winter. You can then dig them into the soil in the spring.
Let me know if you’re interested in getting some of these seeds – note that quantities are limited. Here’s a link to more information about these field peas: https://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/Books/Managing-Cover-Crops-Profitably-3rd-Edition/Text-Version/Legume-Cover-Crops/Field-Peas

PIGWEED – Today’s weed is pigweed. This is a type of amaranth, a plant family which includes a number of edible plants as well as ornamentals.  The leaves of pigweed are edible, at least when young. The seeds can also be eaten, and are said to be very nutritious. Like burdock, however, it is in our gardens primarily as an unwanted and unappreciated invader; it can grow quite tall, and spreads like crazy. It’s easy to pull out when it’s small, but when it’s big, the root is very solid, and it takes muscle to get it out of the ground. If you’ve got it in your plot, please pull it out. https://www.ediblewildfood.com/pigweed.aspx

TOMATO TIP – If your tomato plants are still flowering, September is the time to start pinching off the blossoms. Particularly with large-fruited tomatoes, these flowers won’t have enough time to produce ripe vegetables. By preventing the plants from setting more fruit, you’ll encourage them to put more of their energy into ripening the tomatoes that have already formed.

TOMATO RECIPES – If you’re inundated with beautiful ripe tomatoes, here are some recipes for them: http://www.midwestliving.com/food/fruits-veggies/40-fresh-tomato-recipes-youll-love/  As for using up those rotten tomatoes we all have, we’ll just have to wait until some politicians come to town and make campaign speeches…

NO WORKDAY THIS WEEKEND – Enjoy the long weekend.

Happy Gardening,

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