Friday, March 27, 2020

Hello Gardeners,

I'm not surprised to be writing you again with a change of plans. On the advice of the UW, we are cancelling the garden orientations for new gardeners that were planned for this weekend. Face to face interactions are being discouraged.

But spring seeds will still be available for gardeners to pick up at both gardens on Saturday morning.

Thank you, and good luck with these seeds when you get them.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

From the Gardens Registrar: Seed Give-Away March 28; Garden Orientations; Coronovirus Precautions

Hello Gardeners,

SPRING SEED GIVE-AWAY – On Saturday, March 28, we will have free seeds available to gardeners at both Eagle Heights, and University Houses Gardens. I hope you all understand that our usual Seed Fair had to be cancelled this year, due to health concerns. So, unfortunately, it will not be possible for gardeners to pick out their own seeds this year. A group of volunteers put together collections of mostly spring seeds, and these collections will be at the gardens for gardeners to take. Most collections contain 15 packets of seeds – every packet has at least 2 varieties of beans, 2 varieties of peas, and 2 varieties of lettuce. Many of  the packets also have spinach, basil, green onions, carrots, radishes,and cilantro. Other seeds in some collections are: chard, kale, turnips, cabbage, mustard greens, beets, and kohlrabi. If you get a packet of  something you’re not interested in growing, please leave it on the share shelf, and somebody else will want it.

The seeds will be at Eagle Heights by 9:30 a.m., and at University Houses around 10am.

Most of these seeds can be planted outside now. But the beans should wait until the ground is warm – those shouldn’t be planted until May. Also, the basil should either be started soon in your house, or else you can plant it in the ground in May, after risk of frost is over.

We will also have a small number of packets of seeds for tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants that gardeners will be able to choose from. To grow these, you need to start them in your house in the next few weeks. It’s rewarding to grow these plants from seed, but it can be tricky. Next week, I’ll send information on starting plants in the house.

In May, we will give away seeds for other vegetables, such as squash, cucumbers, melons, and others, including flowers.

GARDEN ORIENTATIONS – We will also offer garden orientations to new gardeners, on both March 28 and March 29, at both gardens. Meet at the garden shed. Here is the schedule:

Eagle Heights          Saturday, March 28          10:30 – Noon – 20 minute orientations in small groups

University Houses   Saturday, March 28                      10:30am – one orientation

Eagle Heights          Sunday, March 29                         1pm – 3pm – 20 minute orientations in small groups

University Houses    Sunday, March 29 – If you want to attend a Sunday orientation at UH, please email me by Saturday afternoon, and we’ll schedule one – at Noon or later.

CORONAVIRUS PRECAUTIONS – We hope to keep our gardens open through this period of restrictions. Since our gardens are large, we can easily practice social distancing, and work together without being close to each other. But please be aware that we share tools and carts. I would recommend that every gardener bring sanitizer to the garden to use on tool handles before and after working with them. Gloves are also a good idea. You may want to bring your own tools, and keep them in your plot. We are currently considering whether or not to keep the portable toilets.

These last few weeks have been full of surprises (mostly unpleasant)  – I will keep you updated as much as I can.

Happy Gardening,

Friday, March 13, 2020

From the Gardens Registrar: Opening Day; Seed Fair is CANCELLED; Garden Orientations; Organic Gardening Class

Hello Gardeners,

OPENING DAY - First, some good news: Opening Day will be this weekend. That means that most of the carts, wheelbarrows, and tools will come out of winter storage and be available to gardeners, by this Sunday, March 15. It's probably too muddy to do any digging, but you can certainly start clearing last year's vegetation and making other preparations for gardening. For Eagle Heights Gardens gardeners, the parking signs are back up on Eagle Heights Drive - this means that gardeners can now park there.

The water in both gardens is still off for the season. We expect to be able to have it on around the middle of April, depending on the weather.

SEED FAIR CANCELLED - The bad news: the Seed Fair, originally scheduled for March 28, has been cancelled, due to concerns about the Coronavirus. We do not plan to reschedule. However, we still want to get seeds to everybody, so it has been decided to hand out collections of spring vegetable seeds to gardeners IN THE GARDENS on March 28. I will get back to you with exact times and more details on that. We will also be putting seeds out on the share shelves at both gardens. We will not sell row cover on March 28 – we won’t do that until our cool-weather plant sale, on April 26.

GARDEN ORIENTATIONS - We are still planning to have Garden Orientations for new gardeners at both gardens on March 28 and possibly March 29. We strongly recommend that new gardeners attend an orientation to learn some of the basics about our gardens, and have an opportunity to ask questions. I'll get you a schedule for those next week. 

On Saturday, March 14, former EH gardener Gary Kuzynski, will teach a free class on Organic Gardening at Sequoya Library, which is at 4340 Tokay Boulevard, from 9:00am – 12:30pm. If you're new to gardening, and have time to stop in, this is a great opportunity to learn from a master. 

I’m sorry about the Seed Fair, but the decision was made for us, and I really hope that taking precautions now will keep more people safe and healthy. And ready to garden!

Happy Gardening,