Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
What lovely fall days we are having. The tomatoes and peppers are still producing some and the fall crops of lettuce and cilantro are ready to eat. The sumac and maples are just starting to put on their red colors and the fall asters are in full bloom.
If you are applying for next year, consider putting in some overwintering crops. We'll have a Garlic Planting Workshop put on by Gary, one of our gardeners on Saturday, Oct. 4 at the Eagle Heights Garden Shed at 10 am. Learn about garlic varieties and how to plant them for harvest next year.
Be sure to get your workday obligation done by Dec. 1 and avoid paying a late fee or losing your priority to apply for your plot. Everyone needs to apply but new applications are not accepted until the 2014 obligations are met. The "no workday" option is $32 for a large plot and $16 for a small plot. Make the checks payable to Division of University Housing and send or drop off at the Eagle Heights Community Center, ATTN: Gardens, 611 Eagle Heights, Madison, WI 53705.
Of course there are still upcoming opportunities to do a workday. This Sunday, Sept. 28, we'll have a workday at Eagle Heights from 1 pm to 4 pm to spread wood chips and work on common areas. If you would like to work this opportunity, please reply and I'll get you more information.
We have unfortunately had some thefts recently in the gardens. Please remember that you should not be entering anyone else's plot, even if you think it is abandoned. Thefts are taken seriously and could result in your losing your plot and the right to reapply. Please keep an eye out to protect your garden neighbors as well since we all need to help prevent these incidents.
Now is a great time to think about next year's gardens. Making notes of where things were planted this year (to help rotate crops) and what varieties you particularly enjoyed (or those to avoid) will help you make next year a success as well. Hoping you are having many happy meals with family and friends.
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
The trees are just starting to turn colors and some of the migrating birds are back through the gardens and on the lake. Look for the warblers returning from the north in the bushes and the ducks and coots on the lake. We missed the frost and hope to have a couple of months of cool and enjoyable gardening weather.
We seem to have quite a rodent problem this year, so please check for hideouts for them over winter. Turn plant debris under the soil or take it to the weed pile rather than allowing it to host voles and mice over winter. Don't leave piles of sticks or buckets where they can house. Turning the soil and putting down leaf mulch will help with getting spring planting in early.
Now is a great time to mark your calenders to reapply for your plot for 2015. Each year, some gardeners are very disappointed to miss applying and not be able to get their plot back. New applications will be on the website in mid-December and applying before holiday break would be very helpful. If there are any glitches with the application or fees, you could correct them and still meet the Feb. 15 deadline for prioritization.
Remember that you need to do a workday or pay the "no workday option" fee by Dec. 1. You can pay by writing a check to Division of University Housing ($32 for a large plot; 16 for a small plot) and dropping it off or sending to Eagle Heights Community Center, ATTN: Gardens, 611 Eagle Heights, Madison, WI 53705.
We will have two workdays this weekend. On Saturday, Sept. 20, we'll be working at the University Houses gardens doing mulching and plot work from 8 am to 11 am. On Sunday, September 21, we'll be at Eagle Heights Gardens from 1 pm to 4 pm working to move wood chips and prepare for some more plantings. Please reply if you would like to work either of these opportunities and I'll get you more information.
Be sure to save a little garlic for fall planting (shallots too!). If you want to get some for planting, the gardens stores will have some, but the Farmer's Market will have a wider variety of types. One of our gardeners has offered to give a garlic planting workshop in early October so be sure to put Oct. 4 on your calenders for that (not sure of time yet). October is also a good time to plant spring bulbs such as daffodils or tulips and to move perennials before the ground freezes.
What a wonderful time to work in the gardens with cooler temperatures and no mosquitoes!
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
It appears that cooler weather is coming. The geese have been gathering up in small flocks and the warblers are starting to come through from more northern regions. We still have a lot of gardening to accomplish including all the fall crops and clean-up in preparation for next year.
I thought you might be interested in knowing some of the facts about our gardens. We have about 580 plots, some with more than one family gardening so we are a very large community. We believe we are the oldest and largest community garden in Wisconsin, perhaps in the country with over 50 years of history. We have 3 part-time employees (all paid by garden fees) but together we only make up about a .65 position and hours worked vary by season. Many volunteers contribute to keeping everything running on our limited budget.  Our committee structure includes two volunteer co-chairs at the moment and meets once a month. Every current gardener is a member of the committee and welcome to come our meetings and vote. We start with a potluck of great food and keep the meetings limited to an hour. Please consider contributing to the Gardens by coming to meetings and helping make decisions about policies and projects.
We have a workday planned at University Houses this Sunday, Sept. 14 from 8 am to 11 am. There are chips to be moved and abandoned plots to be worked on. Please reply if you would like to work this opportunity and I'll get you more details. We will have workdays (weather permitting) into November, but remember that the workday obligation (work or payment) must be completed by Dec. 1. After that date, a late fee is assessed on top of the "no workday" fee and your priority for getting a plot next year is lowered to the "new" status.
If you have decided not to return next year, please let me know since it helps in getting plots assigned if we know which are coming open.
Enjoy the taste of fall coming this week and the asters that are coming into bloom.
Gretel, Garden Registrar

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Dear Gardeners,
Whew! We seem to be getting more than enough rain. I don't think I've watered in weeks. Good for the new seedlings for the fall crops but the tomatoes are starting to look tough since the fungal diseases like this weather. We have also seen a lot more hummingbirds. They are starting to arrive from further north and feeding up for the long migration. You see them fighting with the local hummers and everyone is getting fat bellies to store up energy. I have also seen a lot of "hummingbird" moths this year. They hover and feed at flowers but are actually insects. More on this type of sphinx moth at
We will have workdays this week on Saturday and Sunday morning from 8 am to 11 am. It is supposed to cool off and will be good days for moving chips and mulching. Both workdays are at Eagle Heights. Please reply if you would like to work this opportunity and I'll get you more information.
Still time to put in lettuce, arugula and radishes. Hope you are enjoying the good eating that summer brings.
Gretel, Garden Registrar