Political Commentary

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

From the Gardens Registrar: WORKDAYS – PLEASE READ; Beans; Donating Your Extra Produce; Planting for Fall

Hello Gardeners,

WORKDAYS – In normal years, one gardener from each garden plot must perform a three-hour workday. Those who prefer to not do the workday, or who don’t get a chance to do one, must pay a fee instead.

This is not a normal year. We have not been able to have our usual group workdays this year because of the coronavirus, and this situation does not seem likely to change. The individual workdays that some gardeners have been able to do have been really helpful, and there will be more opportunities for people to get a workday in this year. But there aren’t enough opportunities for everybody, and some gardeners seem to really be worrying about it.

Therefore, we have decided that, for workday purposes, 2020 and 2021 will be combined. If you have been able to do your workday this year, thank you very much, and you will not have to do one next year. If you are not able to do one this year, you will have next year to do it. Gardeners are still welcome to pay the $32 fee if they don’t choose to do a workday either year – but that fee only has to be paid once, either this year or next.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this.

BEANS – If your beans are bearing, you may be getting a lot of beans. Keep picking them – the more you pick, the more your beans will keep flowering and setting fruit. Of course, if you keep picking them, you’ll have to keep dealing with them. Green beans are delicious steamed and eaten plain. They’re great with dill, almonds, garlic, lemon – just about anything. They’re good cooked in stews and casseroles, or in cold, marinated salads. You can freeze them for the winter – it’s best to blanch them first. You can make dilly beans, and keep a jar in the refrigerator for snacking. Here’s a website with a wide variety of recipes: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipes/1087/fruits-and-vegetables/vegetables/green-beans/

DONATING EXTRA PRODUCE – If you and your family (and your neighbors, co-workers, and complete strangers you encounter on the street) can’t keep up with the beans and other fresh vegetables coming out of your plot, you can always put the excess on the share shelves, where it will be snatched up immediately. But also, we really encourage gardeners to donate extra vegetables to food pantries. Due to the pandemic, the community’s need for free food and other services is even greater than usual this year. But hours and procedures for accepting produce have changed. Please contact a food pantry directly for more information. Here are just a few: St. Vincent De Paul, Madison Outreach Ministry, and The River Food Pantry. Though the pantries are particularly requesting money this year, they still appreciate local produce. Be sure that what you contribute is fresh and of good quality.

PLANNING FOR PLANTING FOR FALL – You’ve got to be kidding. It’s hot and steamy, and the summer is obviously going to go on forever. Right? Well, no, the days are already getting shorter, and the fall will be here in a couple of months. This is a good time to start to plan for fall crops, such as lettuce, peas, greens, cabbage family vegetables, and root crops. The first thing to think about is our typical first frost date – in Madison, it’s usually at the end of October – say, October 20 – 30. Here’s a detailed article from the University of Minnesota about fall crops: https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/planting-vegetables-midsummer-fall-harvest

Happy Gardening and Take Care,

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