Wednesday, November 14, 2018

From the Gardens Registrar: Last Workday for the Season; Closing Day; Dates to Remember

Hello Gardeners,

FINAL WORKDAY – We will hold our last workday for the season on Sunday, November 18, from 1pm – 4pm, at Eagle Heights. The task will be removing plastic debris and collecting stray tools from plots, plus preparing the shed for shutting down. It will probably be chilly, but working will warm you up. (Last year, we were able to go later in the season with workdays, but it’s turned cold early this year, and the cold is predicted to continue, so it’s time to give it up for the year.) Here’s the link to sign up:

CLOSING DAY – Our Closing Day this year will be Sunday, December 2. On that day, we will round up all the tools at both plots, do an inventory, and put most of the tools and carts in the sheds. However, we always leave a few carts and tools out through the winter. We would appreciate help from a few gardeners – no, it does not qualify as a workday. Times at Eagle Heights will be 10am – Noon, and at University Houses, 12:30 – 1:30.


December 1         Deadline for paying the no-workday fee if you did not do a workday. 

(Please note – gardeners who received plots this fall are not required to do a workday.)

If you are paying the no-workday fee, please write a check for $32, payable to Division of University Housing, and drop it off at the Community Center, or mail it to Eagle Heights Gardens c/o Community Center, 611 Eagle Heights, Madison, WI 53705. If you use the drop box, please use a green envelope, or write “gardens” on the envelope, so it doesn’t get mixed up with rent payments.

December 2           Closing Day for both gardens

December 15         First day to apply for a garden for 2019. The new applications will be available on our website (, and can also be picked up in paper form, in English and in Chinese, at the Community Center.

February 15           Deadline for returning gardeners to apply to renew the gardens they had in 2018. (New gardeners may apply for gardens at any time.)

March 23              Opening Day for 2019 (approximate date) – tools and carts will come back out of the sheds for the season.

March 30              Seed Fair at the Community Center – each garden plot will be allowed 15 free packets of seeds. Row cover will also be for sale.

This will be my last weekly message for this season. However, I will send an email out next month to remind people when the 2019 applications come out. And please email me if you have any questions about anything. I’ll still be around.

THANK YOU! – Thank you to everybody who had a garden plot this year. Thank you especially to everybody who did a workday - volunteers did a lot of great work this year. Thank you also to our garden workers, Will and Michaiah, to members of the Garden Committee and our Co-Chairs, the weed jurors, and the gardeners who take care of the Arbor Garden and other common areas. 2018 was a difficult year for many gardeners – the heavy rains flooded many plots, particularly in the 500s and 600s, and at University Houses, but even plots on the hill were damaged. The weeds grew really fast, the mosquitoes went crazy, and the voles proliferated. I sincerely hope that 2019 will be a better year for everybody.

Have a good winter.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

From the Gardens Registrar: Colder Weather; More Books; How to Pay for the No-Workday Option; Workday Sunday, November 11 at University Houses Gardens

Hello Gardeners,         
COLDER WEATHER COMING – If you haven’t planted your garlic yet, hurry up and get it in the ground. It’s best for the garlic to start to develop roots, but not to sprout, so once the ground begins to freeze up, it will be too late for this year. You still have time, but don’t put it off much longer. The current forecast is for cold weather, with nighttime temperatures way below freezing. If you have fall crops, such as greens and cabbages, it would be a good idea to start watching the temperatures carefully. We’re going to get down to temperatures about as low as they can tolerate. You may want to cover them at night, to give them a few degrees of protection. Or maybe it’s time to pick them and give up for the season.

MORE SUGGESTIONS FOR WINTER READING – Several gardeners have written in to suggest the following books: Farm City by Novella Carpenter; Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver; Lab Girl by Hope Jahren; and The Triumph of Seeds by Thor Hanson.

Another gardener recommended Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac. Leopold was a professor of game management here at the UW in the 30s and 40s, was part of the group that started the UW Arboretum, and became famous for his idea of a “Land Ethic”, a view of humans as being part of a larger community of animals, plants, and the earth itself. Here’s a more detailed explanation from the Aldo Leopold Foundation:  A Sand County Almanac is a collection of his essays, put together shortly after his death.

PAYING FOR THE NO-WORKDAY? – A reminder – if you haven’t been able to do a workday, and you’re paying instead - please make your $32 check payable to Division of University Housing, and mail it to Eagle Heights Gardens c/o Community Center, 611 Eagle Heights, Madison, WI. 53705. I’ll let you know when I get your payment. Thanks.

WORKDAY THIS WEEKEND – We will have a workday Sunday afternoon,  November 11, 1pm – 4pm, at University Houses Gardens. The gardens are at the end of Haight Road, next to Bernie’s Place Childcare Center, at 39 University Houses. The task will be path restoration. Bring gloves and water, and dress warmly – it will be chilly. But hey – no mosquitoes, right? Here’s the link to sign up:

Happy Gardening,                                                  

Monday, November 5, 2018

From the Gardens Registrar: VOTE; Odds and Ends; Workday on Saturday, November 3, at U Houses

Hello Gardeners, 
VOTE NOVEMBER 6 – Our gardeners come to Madison from all over the world, and we’re very proud of that. But this message is only for those of you who are U.S. citizens – if you are eligible to vote, don’t forget to cast a ballot on Tuesday, November 6. It doesn’t matter who you vote for, but it does matter that you vote. If you’re not already registered, you can register at the polls. Whether you’re registered or not, you’ll need to bring a current photo I.D., and you’ll need proof of your current address if you’re not registered, or if you’ve changed addresses. Here is some information specifically for UW Madison students from the League of Women Voters:

DOES ANYBODY HAVE EXPERIENCES WITH GROWING BLACKBERRIES? One of our gardeners is wondering if anybody has tried growing blackberries in our gardens. Have you? Have they been successful? Please let me know, and I’ll pass the information on.

WHAT TO LEAVE IN YOUR PLOT – If you plan to renew your garden for next year, you may certainly keep your tomato cages and other gardening equipment in the plot over the winter. But if you have a place to store your tools over the winter, it’s probably safer to take them home and bring them back in the spring. Otherwise, they might be gone. It’s also better for the tools if they’re not outside during fierce winter storms.

PORTABLE TOILETS – The portable toilets at both gardens will go away for the winter on November 1. They’ll come back some time in late March. I’m sorry, but you’ll have to hold it until then.

WINTER READING – Winter is a good time to do more reading. For gardeners, it’s an opportunity to learn more about plants, different approaches to gardening, and new ways to prepare and preserve your harvests.  I recently read the book, What a Plant Knows, by Daniel Chamovitz, which was quite interesting. These are a few lists of recommended books I’ve found on the Internet:     

If you have a favorite book about gardening, botany, the natural world, preserving, or anything else related to gardening, send me the title, and I’ll share it with the group.

THANKS FOR THE WORK ON 115 – A big thank you to the workday crew that hauled leaves to Plot 115 at Eagle Heights. It’s looked terrible all season, and now it looks wonderful. You did a great job.
NEW LEAVES IN BOTH GARDENS – The new leaves from Shorewood have begun to arrive at both gardens. The old leaves are dark and matted, while the new leaves are light in color, and fluffy. Both make great mulch – why not use some of both, and make attractive patterns with the two colors? I’m joking…

WORKDAY THIS WEEKEND – We will have a workday on Saturday, November 3, from 9am – Noon, at University Houses Gardens. The gardens are at the end of Haight Road, next to Bernie’s Place Childcare Center, at 39 University Houses. The task will be clearing abandoned plots. The weather looks good – cloudy and cool, but dry. Here’s the link to sign up:

Happy Gardening and Happy Halloween,