Wednesday, April 21, 2021

From the Gardens Registrar: Cool Weather Plant Sale This Sunday, April 25; Two Volunteers Needed; Row Cover Will Return; No Word Yet on Water; A Few Rule Reminders; About Organic Growing

Hello Gardeners,

 UPCOMING PLANT SALE – On Sunday, April 25, Scott Williams, from Garden to Be, will be selling cool-weather plants at Eagle Heights, from 10am – 1pm. These are the plants he will be selling:

Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Lettuces (mixed and individual packs as well as salad mix packs), Napa Cabbage, Green and Red Cabbages, Cauliflower, Kales & Collards, Swiss Chard, Parsley (Italian flat & curly varieties), Thyme, and Sage.  Everything will be $2.50.  (That's the price whether it is a single plant pot (tomatoes, peppers, herbs, flowers, anything in a single pot) or a multipack like 4 or 6 plants per pack.) Please wear a mask and prepare to social distance. Scott will be back towards the end of May with tomato plants and other warm weather plants.

TWO VOLUNTEERS NEEDED – Scott will be bringing a crew to help him unload his truck and sell his plants. But we will need to provide two volunteers to help people social-distance. Volunteers should arrive at 9:45 a.m. to check in with Scott, and will probably be able to leave by 12:45. (I’m assuming he’ll sell out, and the sale will end before 1:00.) This is a work day – please let me know if you’re interested.

ROW COVER – We ran out of row cover at our sale last weekend, but we have more, and will have another sale soon. I’ll announce the date when we have it.

WATER – No word yet from the UW Plumbers about turning on our water, but we’re having cold nights again (and it’s snowing as I write this), so I’m guessing it won’t be until next week.

A FEW RULE REMINDERS – It’s early in the season, but I’m already receiving complaints from gardeners. One gardener complained that they keep finding things rearranged in their plot, plus toys have been left in their garden. Another gardener complained that tomato cages and other equipment left from last year’s gardener, which they were planning to use, has suddenly gone missing. Folks, I shouldn’t have to repeat this, but the rules state clearly – do not go into anybody else’s plot without being invited, and don’t let anybody who helps you with your plot (or who plays with trucks while you garden), go into other people’s plots. And while you’re not going into other people’s plots, be sure to not take anything while you’re (not) there – such as equipment, or plants, or vegetables. A community garden is not just a collection of individual plots – it is a community, and we are all in this together.

WHAT’S THIS ORGANIC THING? – (Gardeners in rows C-F at University Houses may ignore this and go do something useful instead.) New gardeners often ask if everything they plant in our gardens has to be organic. Seeds? Plants? No, it’s okay to use commercial seeds and plants in our plots, although organic seeds and plants become easier and easier to find. But any soil amenities you bring in, such as compost and store-bought mulch, must be organic. Likewise, anything you use in your plot in the way of fertilizer or insect-repelling substances must be organic. The practice of organic gardening is based on the belief that food raised without synthetic chemicals tastes better and is healthier, both for the person eating it, and for the planet in general. Organic gardening is based on a different relationship between the gardener and the garden – less adversarial, more cooperative. An organic gardener tries to build up the health of their soil in order to grow healthier, happier plants, in order to have healthier, happier food to eat.

Happy Gardening,


Wednesday, April 7, 2021


From the Gardens Registrar: Upcoming Plant Sales at EH; What Not to Plant; More Seeds; Water

 Hello Gardeners,

 UPCOMING PLANT SALES – On Sunday, April 25, Scott Williams, from Garden to Be, will be selling cool-weather plants at Eagle Heights. We haven’t set a time yet, but it will probably be from 10am – 1pm. Scott has sold plants to us for many years – he likes us because we give him a lot of business. We like him because he sells plants we want to buy, his quality is excellent, and he gives us good prices. Last year, due to the pandemic, we had a special arrangement, where gardeners had to order directly from him in advance. But this year, we think the sale can take place in a fairly normal way – with social distancing. For the cool weather sale, Scott will bring plants like broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, kale, bok choi, and herbs. I will have more details in my next message. And Scott will be back on Sunday, May 23, to sell warm weather plants, such as tomato, pepper, and eggplant.

 WHAT NOT TO PLANT IN OUR GARDENS – New gardeners often ask about what plants are not allowed. We do not allow gardeners to plant trees in their plots. Other than that, the big three plants we do not want planted are mint, comfrey, and annual artemisia. The reason is that all of these plants are very aggressive, spread quickly, and are very hard to get rid of.

As for mint, there’s no need for any of us to plant it – the gardens are full of it. And it’s very tasty mint, too. But if you have it in your plot, and like having it, you’ll still want to pull a lot of it out, to keep it from spreading to your neighbors and taking over your entire plot. Mint is part of a large family of plants, which includes basil, lavender, rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, and many others. (Wouldn’t it be wonderful if basil grew as easily as mint?) There are also lots of varieties of mint. If you want to have other kinds of mint than what grows wild in our gardens, plant them in pots in your garden. That way, they won’t escape and make trouble.

Comfrey is a beautiful plant with furry leaves and pretty blue flowers. It also grows wild in the gardens, and is very difficult to get rid of, because it has long tap roots. But there is at least one advantage to having so much of it around - the leaves are excellent fertilizer.  You can put them under your vegetable plants, where they will decompose very quickly and add nitrogen and other nutrients to your soil.

 Annual artemisia is often grown as an ornamental  for its foliage – there are lots of varieties. But there is one kind that is really out of control in our gardens – it has a number of names including Sweet Annie and Qing-hao. It’s a native of China, but has naturalized in this country. It spreads like crazy, the roots are hard to get out, and though it smells nice at first, the odor quickly becomes cloying. Though it has medicinal uses and can also be used to make wreaths and flower arrangements, those gardeners who get stuck with it hate it, and battle it constantly.

MORE SEEDS – We’re continuing to put out seeds on the share shelves several times a week. I’m putting the rest of the tomato and pepper seeds back in storage for next year, unless anybody lets me know they want them. Peas and turnips have joined the lettuce, carrots, radishes, kale, beets, and spinach.

WATER – Last year, the water was turned on for the season around April 20, which was a little earlier than usual. We don’t have a date for this year yet. It’s all weather-dependent. It’s very warm (and dry) right now, but we will still have cold nights in the next few weeks that could freeze the pipes. I will let everybody know when a date is set.

 Happy Gardening,


Monday, April 5, 2021


From the Gardens Registrar: The Gardens Are Full; Eagle Heights Garden Arbor; Shade at University Houses?; Junk Left in Your Plot; The Fence Story; What to Plant Now; The Gardens Registrar Position is Live

Hello Gardeners,

THE GARDENS ARE FULL – Normally, we continue to have garden plots available well into May, but this year, due (I assume) to the pandemic, more gardeners than usual renewed their plots from last year, and also we have had more applications than usual. Both gardens are now full, and there is already a considerable waiting list. As always, if you find your plans have changed and you won’t be able to garden this year, please let me know. I can get you a refund and reassign your plot.

EAGLE HEIGHTS GARDENS ARBOR – Say goodbye to our Arbor, which has adorned our garden and provided shade for 15 years. It is being taken down this week. It’s held up pretty well over the years, but the wooden posts began to rot a few years ago, and it’s too far gone to repair. We do plan to build another one, but that probably won’t happen this year. In the meantime, we know that gardeners appreciate a shady spot to relax after hours of gardening, and we will be putting up some kind of shade sail temporarily, once we get to the summer.

SHADE AT UNIVERSITY HOUSES? – And while we’re at it, would UH gardeners also like to have a shade sail for the summer? If so, any ideas about the best place to put it?

JUNK LEFT IN YOUR PLOT – Several gardeners have contacted me to ask what to do with junk left by previous gardeners – old furniture, rusty barbed wire, broken pots, etc. I’m sorry that not all new gardeners are able to start off with a cleared plot. But these worthless items are now yours. If there’s anything useful to you, such as hoses or decent fencing, you’re welcome to keep them. If the items left are totally junk, please haul them to the dumpster. Otherwise, if you don’t want them but you think someone else might, please put them on or near the share shelves, near the entrance to the garden. They might just get adopted. Or adapted. It’s amazing sometimes what people will take, and make good use of.

THE FENCE STORY – Officially, we prefer that gardeners not put up fences around their plots. This is because they’re so often put up badly, in the wrong places, and not well maintained. Unfortunately, over the last few years, we have seen tremendous growth in our turkey population, and we have deer, increasingly, as well. Gardeners who want to protect their crops often feel they have no choice. So if you’re opting for a fence, here’s how to do it. Most importantly, put it in the right place. Fences can not be put up right on the plot border, because then your neighbor would not have good access to their plot or to water. A fence must be at least six inches inside your four plot borders. (At the front of your plot, a fence could interfere with mowing and also come dangerously close to a water line.) Next, your fence must not be so tall that it shades your neighbors’ plots. Your fence must be well-constructed and maintained. Lastly, you must weed your fence regularly. If you can do all that, you may put up a fence. If not, I will hear from your neighbors, and, in turn, you will hear from me.

WHAT TO PLANT NOW – It’s still very early to plant, but the ground is thawed, and should be gradually warming up. If your plot is not muddy, you can get started planting early spring crops, such as radishes, carrots, beets, and greens, such as chard, kale, spinach, and cabbage. These vegetables like cool weather, and can stand some frost. And yes, we’ll keep bringing seeds out for the gardeners, several times a week. We have lots of spinach seeds this year!

THE GARDEN REGISTRAR POSITION IS LIVE – If you are interested in applying for the position as Eagle Heights Registrar, you may now do so. The deadline for applications is 11:55 pm on Wednesday, April 7. Here are two links you can use to apply (either one will work):  or  Please do not ask me any questions about the application process – I don’t have anything to do with it. But if you apply, good luck.


Happy Gardening,