Wednesday, August 31, 2016

From the Garden Registrar: Gardening in September; A Reminder About the Dumpster; More Small Plots Available; Rhubarb Jam

Hello Gardeners,

GARDENING IN SEPTEMBER – If your summer crops have given out, it’s still not too late to replace them with the last of the fall crops. You can still plant seeds for leaf lettuce, chard, spinach, radishes, mustard, and turnips. They will grow more slowly than they did in spring, but at least they won’t be quick to bolt (go to seed.) We will likely have about one more month before we have to start worrying about frost. That doesn’t give the plants much time, but if you prepare, in the next few weeks, to protect them from the cold by pulling mulch up around them, or covering them, you may be able to extend the growing season.

If your beans and peas are dead, don’t pull them out of the ground. Cut them off at the base of the plants, leaving the roots in the soil. The roots will continue to add nitrogen and increase the fertility of your soil. 

Some people plant garlic in September, but one of our long-time gardeners thinks it’s better to wait until October. He’ll hold a class on garlic planting on Saturday, September 24, by the EH shed – stay tuned for more information.

THE DUMPSTER – A reminder – the dumpster is for unrecyclable trash. PLEASE do not put weeds or old vegetable plants in the dumpster. Weeds and old vegetable material should be placed in the weed pile. The dumpster is for trash only.

THE DUMPSTER – The dumpster is for trash only. Have I mentioned that?

MORE SMALL PLOTS AVAILABLE – We have had more gardeners giving up small plots recently, and need to find gardeners to clear and tend them. If you have a half-plot now, and would like to acquire another one, please let me know. Or if you have a friend who would like to garden in Eagle Heights next year, please let them know they can contact me to get a plot now and start preparing it for spring. 

RHUBARB JAM – I made some jam like this recently, and it’s very good. I used four rhubarb stalks (about a pound) and ended up with about one pint (two cups). If you don’t want to process it or freeze it, you can just put it in a clean jar and keep it the refrigerator:

WORKDAY – Our next workday is scheduled for Saturday, September 3, at UNIVERSITY HOUSES GARDENS, from 8am – 11am. The project will be working on the berm area next to the weedpile, to prepare it for irrigation and cover planting. Here’s the link to sign up: >

Happy gardening, everyone.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

From the Garden Registrar: Workday Information; One More Summer Squash Recipe; Pick Your Tomatoes; Butterflies

Hello Gardeners,

WORKDAYS – The forecast for Saturday is rain, so we are planning a workday on Sunday, August 28, from 8am – 11am, at the Eagle Heights gardens. The task will be weeding wood-chipped areas. Here’s the link to sign up:

Please remember – one gardener per plot is required to help with one workday during the gardening season. At this point, fewer than half of the gardeners have met their workday obligation for the year. We will continue to plan workdays well into the fall, depending on weather, but if you haven’t done your workday yet (or paid for the no-workday option, which can be done at any time), you really need to plan to do it as soon as possible before you forget about it altogether.

When you come to a workday, remember to bring water to drink, and protection from the sun, such as a hat and/or sunblock. Also bring garden gloves, if you have them or can borrow some. If you need to buy some, try a hardware store – the Ace Hardware on Midvale, near Hilldale, is probably the closest.

ONE MORE SUMMER SQUASH RECIPE, submitted by a long-time gardener and excellent cook:

PICK YOUR TOMATOES – All over the garden, I am seeing luscious ripe tomatoes sitting and rotting. We seem to be having a particularly good year for tomatoes, and I know – if you have cherry tomatoes, you are getting literally thousands of them. Yes, it’s hard to keep up. But remember – you can put extras on the Share Shelf, or take them to a Food Pantry. 

Or find new ways to cook or preserve them:

SWALLOWTAIL BUTTERFLIES – We’re being visited by lots of the bigger butterflies lately, including Monarchs and Swallowtails. This is a very informative website if you'd like to try to identify the different insects: Thank you to everybody who has flowers on their plots. The butterflies seem to especially like the zinnias.

Happy gardening, everyone.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

From the Garden Registrar: A Quote from Aldo Leopold, Composting on Your Plot, How to Freeze Tomatoes, and Attack of the Giant Zucchini

Hello Gardeners,

ALDO LEOPOLD, who was a professor at the University of Wisconsin, and one of the founders of the University Arboretum, wrote in his book, A Sand County Almanac, published in 1949,

“We abuse land because we see it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”

Although Leopold was not writing here about garden plots, this quote nevertheless describes the fundamental relationships in a community garden. We have relationships with our fellow-gardeners, with the vegetables we plant, with the plants we think of as weeds, with the animals that live in the garden, and with the soil in our plots. Our gardens were founded in the 1960’s – think of how many people have gardened in your plot before you. Think of how many people will (hopefully) garden in the same plot long after you are gone. We’re only here for a few years, but the land was here long before us and will be here long after us. Please take good care of your plot. 

COMPOSTING ON YOUR PLOT – If you get tired of hauling weeds to the weed pile (where you throw them into the middle of the weed pile, please, instead of dumping them on the edge), you might want to consider composting on your plot, as a number of experienced gardeners do. You can of course buy a compost bin or construct your own. But you can also use a heavy-duty black plastic bag to make compost in a spare corner of your plot. Here is some information on how to do that:

HOW TO FREEZE TOMATOES – Put your extra tomatoes in a plastic freezer bag or container and then put it in the freezer. That’s it. (Washing and drying your tomatoes first is not a bad idea.)  Freezing tomatoes is the fastest, easiest way to preserve them. You may be tired of looking at them now, but you’ll really appreciate them on a cold night in January, when you can use them to make soup, stew, casseroles, or sauce. If you want to peel them before you cook them, just hold each frozen tomato under running water, and you can slip the peel right off. 

ATTACK OF THE GIANT ZUCCHINI – More ideas for dealing with too many summer squash:

WORKDAYS – We are planning workdays this weekend at Eagle Heights on both Saturday and Sunday, 8am – 11am. The task will be working in public spaces, pulling out thistles and bindweed. Please bring gloves if you have them.

If you sign up for Saturday and it rains (which is the current forecast), that workday will be cancelled, but you’re welcome to come to work Sunday instead.

Happy gardening, everyone.