Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Hello Gardeners,

WORKDAY – Given the fact that it is ridiculously cold, and everything is covered with several inches of snow, our workdays are at an end for this season. When weather allows, we will be closing down the gardens, and putting away most of the carts and tools for the winter. No, we will not put them all away – we will leave some tools and a few carts out for gardeners who still have work to do.


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 put your check in a green envelope, or else write “gardens” on your own envelope, so it doesn’t get mixed up with rent payments.

If you’re not sure whether or not you did a workday this year, or are required to, or already paid for the no-workday, send me an email, and I’ll check for you. About 200 gardeners have not done workdays or paid, so far.

December 15        First day to apply for a garden for 2020. 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. They will look suspiciously like the 2019 forms, although I hope someone has the presence of mind to change the date….

February 15        Deadline for returning gardeners to apply to renew the gardens they had in 2019. (New gardeners may apply for gardens at any time.) If you get your renewal application in after the deadline, I will renew your plot if it’s still available. But you’re taking your chances. After February 15, I will start assigning plots that have not been renewed to new gardeners, so if you’re late, your plot might be gone already. If you want to garden again next year, but you want to move to a different plot, you should still get me your application by the deadline – you have priority over new applicants, and I’ll get you settled in a plot you like before I start on the new applications. Also, I cannot renew your plot if you have not taken care of this year’s workday.

March 21         Opening Day for 2020 (approximate date) – tools and carts will come back out of the sheds for the season. (Water will not be turned on until April or May, depending on the weather.)

March 28          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. (Don’t look so happy!) However, I will send an email out next month to remind people when the 2020 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 this year, and especially to everybody who did a workday. The workday crews worked hard, and did a lot of great work. Thanks also to Will and Megan, and our other garden workers. Thank you to our Co-Chairs, members of the Garden Committee, and the many members of our garden community who take care of common areas and do many many other extra tasks to keep the garden going. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

Have a good winter.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

From the Gardens Registrar: Where’s the Mulch?; Cleaning Up; Glass in Plots; Sprouting Seeds; Lakeshore Nature Preserve Draft Strategic Plan; Workday To Be Determined

Hello Gardeners,

LEAF MULCH AT UNIVERSITY HOUSES – The last several years have been rainy, and we have had great difficulty in getting soil amenities to the University Houses Gardens. Leaf mulch and wood chips have often not been available at that garden for long stretches of time, to say nothing of compost and manure. Meanwhile, the Eagle Heights gardeners have been rolling in the stuff. (Literally, at times.) This is not because we don’t like you. It’s because the EH gardens have graveled roads and the UH garden does not. UH is somewhat low to start with, and the “road” that goes to the parking lot is barely a road at all. Plus, past the parking lot, the ground is soft and turns to mud easily, particularly under heavy machinery. This year, in desperation, we have tried using space in the parking lot for chips and mulch, and it’s been in other people’s way.

HOWEVER, Housing is going to do us a big favor and dump some leaves on the UH parking lot this week, on the understanding that they need to be picked up by gardeners right away. If they get used up quickly, Housing will bring more. But they don’t want the leaves sitting there for a long time. So, when they appear, grab them as fast as you can. Once the ground is frozen (which, unfortunately, might be soon), we’ll be able to get large loads of leaves over there, hopefully enough to last you into next summer.

CLEANING UP – When you’re cleaning your plot, is it okay to leave equipment there over the winter? Yes, if you know you will be renewing your garden plot next year, you may certainly leave tomato cages, fencing, hose, furniture, etc. in your plot. But it is best not to leave anything nice behind – it might be damaged by weather, or be taken by somebody who likes it and assumes it’s abandoned. So it’s safer to take home anything you value and keep it in your garage or basement until spring.

GLASS IN PLOTS – As our rules state, we do not allow glass in the gardens. It breaks easily, and then pieces get mixed into the soil, where gardeners long into the future may continue to find them unexpectedly and hurt themselves. If you have any glass containers in your plot, take them home now. Even if they’re in good shape now, they won’t be after the snow and winter have had their way with them.

SEED SPROUTING – If you already miss fresh, just-picked vegetables, maybe you should try growing sprouts at home. Unlike growing herbs inside, this really is easy. Here’s some basic information:

LAKESHORE NATURE PRESERVE STRATEGIC PLAN – Our gardens (both locations) are part of the UW’s Lakeshore Nature Preserve, and the Preserve Staff has extended the following invitation to all our gardeners: We want your feedback on the Lakeshore Nature Preserve Draft Strategic Plan! Join us Tuesday November 12 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Memorial Union. Refreshments will be served. Check Today in the Union for room location.
The draft plan was created with input from over 650 campus and community members through a series of focus groups and an online survey conducted last spring. Lakeshore Nature Preserve Director, Gary Brown, will present the common themes from the focus groups and the key takeaways from the public survey along with the strategic priorities that came out of those findings. The presentation will be followed by time for discussion, comments, and questions from the public. The strategic plan will establish the basis for a 2020 Lakeshore Nature Preserve Facilities Master Plan.
For more information about the strategic plan public comment meeting please contact Preserve Program Manager Laura Wyatt at 608-265-9275 or

WORKDAY – If we schedule a workday this weekend, I’ll send out a separate message.

Happy gardening, Kathryn