Wednesday, August 30, 2017

From the Gardens Registrar: August Doldrums; Powdery Mildew; More Available Plots; Trees in Plots; Troy Gardens Fall Festival; This Weekend’s Workday

Hello Gardeners,

AUGUST DOLDRUMS – If you’re an excellent gardener and your garden always looks beautiful, you don’t have to read the rest of this. But if your garden looks like mine, i.e. shabby, don’t feel bad. It’s that time of year. Most of my plants are still producing, but they look terrible – they’ve been damaged by insects and diseases. Don’t stop visiting your plot and doing what you can for your plants. Above all, don’t stop picking your vegetables. If there’s more than you can handle, you can put the excess on the share shelves or take it to food pantries. Please don’t let it sit and rot.

POWDERY MILDEW – If your plant leaves look like somebody’s sprinkled powdered sugar on them, you may have powdery mildew. It’s a common garden disease caused by a fungus. Squash and cucumbers are especially vulnerable to it. It won’t necessarily kill your plants, but it does stress and weaken them. If the mildew is only on a few plants, you should pull those up and dispose of them before the disease spreads. Otherwise, remedies include baking soda (1 tablespoon of baking soda, ½ teaspoon of liquid soap, 1 gallon of water) or milk (1 part milk to 2 or 3 parts water.) The milk mixture is most useful as a preventative – sprayed every couple of weeks before the mildew shows up.

MORE PLOTS AVAILABLE – We currently have 10 small plots, and 4 full plots available. As of September 1, garden plots are free (only until the end of this gardening season.) All plots are weedy, and desperately in need of caring gardeners. Please contact me if you’re interested.

TREES IN PLOTS – Quite a few garden plots both at Eagle Heights and at University Houses have small trees growing in them. If your plot has a tree in it, please cut it down – it doesn’t belong there. Some of the trees at University Houses gardens are Black Walnuts, which really cause trouble. If you don’t have tools or know-how, our garden workers can cut down the tree for you. Please contact me if you want help with this.

TROY GARDENS FALL FESTIVAL – Sunday, September 10, 2pm – 6pm, at Troy Gardens, 500 Block of Troy Drive in Madison. “Bring your family and friends to our Fall Festival! Three local food carts will be selling yummy food with gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options. Treat yourself to an ice cream or non-dairy cone, refreshing Great Dane beer and wine from Tornado Steak-house. Purchase hand-made pottery to benefit Community GroundWorks. We’ll have free face painting and our annual apple cider pressing activities. Entertainment by the Truly Remarkable Loon, Kettle Moraine Blues Band, and Mami Wata African Drums.”

WORKDAY – This weekend’s workday is scheduled for Sunday, September 3, 8am – 11am. The task will be weeding and cleaning the blackberries near the weed pile area. Again, please bring gloves – there are lots of thistles to remove. Here’s the link to sign up:

WEEKDAY WORKDAY? – If you would prefer to do your workday on a weekday, we may be scheduling one for late September. Please let me know if you have a preferred day of the week and time. We’ll try to accommodate as many people as we can.

Happy Gardening,

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

From the Gardens Registrar: Eagle Heights Drive Renovation Disaster; Don’t Leave Without Saying Goodbye; Organic Pesticides; Refrigerator Pickles; This Weekend’s Workday

Hello Gardeners,

EAGLE HEIGHTS DRIVE – Yes, the reconstruction and repaving should have been finished already. Unfortunately, the work was done badly, and will have to be completely redone. No, I’m not making this up. This project will now stretch into the fall, at great inconvenience to everyone concerned. The new estimated completion date has not yet been announced.

LEAVING MADISON? – Just a reminder: if you’re leaving Madison to go off on new adventures this fall, please let me know you’re giving up your garden plot. You can’t take it with you. (Even if you’re not leaving town, please let me know if you’re through with your plot.)

Our garden weed juries are finding increasing numbers of garden plots that look abandoned. Don’t wait for me to send you nasty emails about your weeds. If you email me and tell me you’re leaving, I can transfer your plot to another gardener, who can plant garlic and prepare the garden for spring planting.

ORGANIC PESTICIDES – A number of gardeners have asked about organic sprays for killing insect pests. This is a link to a website with good information. But please be very careful with any pesticide – organic or not. Some of these are toxic, not only to the pests you want to eliminate, but to beneficial insects as well. These should be used as a last resort only, and as little as possible should be used.

REFRIGERATOR PICKLES – If you’re over-run with cucumbers, consider making some into refrigerator pickles. They’re very little work, and quite good. Here’s a link to a very simple recipe. You could certainly add other vegetables, and/or spices, and you don’t have to use as much sugar as it calls for if you don’t like sweet pickles:

WORKDAY – This weekend’s workday is scheduled for Sunday, August 27, 8am – 11am, at Eagle Heights. The task will be fruit plantation and weed area maintenance. Please bring gloves – you’ll be working around the raspberries and blackberries. Here’s the link to sign up:

Happy Gardening,