I was introduced to starting seeds many winters ago by both my maternal grandfather and my mother. Several decades later, I can only remember one season that I did not start seeds, but the magic of the season still came upon me.
Starting seeds never grows old for me. Every time a seedling emerges above the soil surface I am filled with joy. I introduced the seed starting practice to my children which was met with not as much joy and sometimes frustration as the household was taken over by all the seedlings until it was safe to bring them outside. Frequently the baby plants had grown to young adulthood before they could be moved out – much to their chagrin. Now, to my surprise, all my adult children engage in plant propagation in some manner. I am looking forward with great anticipation to introduce my first granddaughter to this annual endeavor as soon as we can play in the dirt together.
Do you enjoy gardening or want to start gardening? Have you watched the TV show Escape to the Chateau? If you have, then you would recognize the term “potager garden”. Join us on how to Create a Potager Garden presented by Sue Reinardy, UW-Extension Master Gardener Volunteer, virtually on Zoom on Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 10 am to Noon as part of a celebration of National Library Week at the Sherman & Ruth Weiss Community Library. Attendees will have a chance to win a special Library T-shirt!
Potager is a French term for a kitchen garden. These gardens can include not only vegetables but herbs, fruit, berries and cutting flowers. During the presentation you will learn where to site your potager, what plants to include and how to maintain it through the growing season.
For the first 15 people who sign up, we will offer them a Take ‘N Make Kit of a Potager Starter Garden. The kit consists of a container, donated by Marketplace Foods, and seeds and a planting medium donated by Sue Reinardy.
You can register for the event by going to the following link – https://bit.ly/3rtyZq9 or by calling the library to register and to receive the link for the Zoom event. We suggest that if you don’t have the free Zoom app, download it before the program begins and go to the presentation at least 5 minutes before it starts. If you have any questions, please call the library at 715-634-2161 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the 2021 All-America Selection Winners in the vegetable category is the Squash Goldilocks F1, a golden orange acorn squash that is both beautiful and delicious! This is a high yield variety that is disease resistance. The lovely nutting flavor makes this one "just right!"
Goldilocks F1 is best grown in the garden or a very large container. The plant is compact and bushy with overall height at maturity of 30 inches. Fruit size is about 4 inches X 4 inches, 1 pound. The flavor is described as sweet and nutty. One plant should yield as many as 10 or more fruits. Sown seeds will reach harvest in 85 days while transplants will shorten that to about 70 days. Plants spread to about 4-5 feet so space them accordingly. This variety is tolerates Powdery Mildew.
Seeds are available through Osborne Quality Seeds https://www.osborneseed.com/ and Territorial Seed Company https://territorialseed.com/. Plant in full sun in well drained soil. Or start indoors three weeks before planting.
AAS describes themselves as "An independent non-profit organization committed to bringing you award-winning flowers and vegetables." Their mission statement: "To promote new garden varieties with superior garden performance judged in impartial trials in North America."
With this years plant sale canceled due to COVID, North Country Master Gardeners will once again put our energy into the Teaching and Display Gardens at the Spooner Ag Station. We will be starting seeds for many of the plants used in the gardens right here in our greenhouse at the Ag Station while other seeds will be started for us at Madison. We are excited to be getting started and are now in the planning and gathering process.
The Seed Starting committee met on March 4th to lay the groundwork for this year's efforts. Links to the minutes and documents of their meeting can be found on the Members/Committees page.
Some of the planning details outlined in the meeting minutes can be helpful for those of us who start our own seeds at home. Planning our gardens and planter pots ahead of time will help determine what seeds will be directly sown into the soil and which seeds need an indoor head start. Acquiring seeds and determining a timeline for when to start each type is important. Gathering pots, containers, seed starting mix and fertilizer, sterilizing pots, and preparing these ahead of seeding can save time and help insure success.
The Display Garden theme this year for the All-American Selections is Diversity in the Garden. While we will not be competing in the AAS contest this year, we will be keeping this theme in mind while planning our garden beds. Members will adopt a garden space to transform so that by August we will be able to offer our Twilight Garden Tour, if not in real time, virtually as we did last year.
Follow our progress on this blog. If you are a master gardener volunteer but are not on the committee, your help is always appreciated--check out the minutes for places you might fit in in the seed starting process. If you are not a master gardener volunteer but have been thinking about becoming one, this will give you some insight into what we do and how much fun we have!
Display Gardens Layout
Seed starting chart
article by Pam Davies
This year Monarda is one of the 2021 National Garden Bureau’s featured plants, and a great choice for your garden too!
A Native Species, Monarda has a long medicinal herbal history that Native tribes taught early settlers to utilize. Bee Balm, Monarda’s common name, I am certain came to be due to its ability soothe bee stings, other medicinal uses included treating chills and fever all information shared with early settlers from Native Americans.
This All America Selections winner in the annuals category, Celosia Kelos® Candela Pink, with its profusion of bright pink spikes will dazzle in containers or as dramatic interest in garden beds or bouquets both fresh and dried. Less dense and more delicate than other varieties of celosia , expect blooms of 10 to 15 inches, with an overall plant height of 25 to 30 incles. Blooms beginning in late spring and continuing well into fall make this plant ideal as a filler or tall background or boarder plant.
Plant in full to partial sun in well drained soil. Water as needed. This celosia can tolerate dry conditions and is heat, wind and rain tolerant, and deer resistent!
Article by Pam Davies, UW-Extension Master Gardener Volunteer
Regular pruning throughout the life of the tree promotes healthy growth, maintains the shape of the canopy, and reduces stress on the tree. Dead, diseased and damaged branches should normally be removed right away. One exception is Oak, which is susceptible to Oak Wilt disease, and best pruned while dormant.
Early spring is an ideal time to identify branches and limbs requiring removal. Some trees such as Maple may bleed sap, but this will self-seal and is not harmful.
“Proper Tree Pruning” published by the WI Department of Natural Resources illustrates some key pruning basics.
This All-America Selections winner in the annuals category hasn't got the most alluring name but the Zinnia Profusion Red Yellow Bicolor is an outstanding zinnia new for this year, 2021. The outstanding feature that wowed the judges was that as the growing season progresses the colors will morph from the red/yellow to apricot, salmon, and dusty rose.
Pollinator friendly, this variety can be grown in containers, hanging baskets or beds. Use them for groundcover, low edging or as a medium-height divider. Expect compact mounds of 8 to 14 inches in height. Plant in multiple clusters to get the full impact of the range of striking colors you can expect from this winner. Bloom size is about two and a half inches.
Plant in full to partial sun. No deadheading or staking are necessary. Typical of zinnia, this variety is heat, wind and rain tolerant. If starting your own seeds, first flower will come at 60 days. Transplanted from seedlings, flowering will be at about 30 days.
Article by Pam Davies, UW-Extension Master Gardener Volunteer
This is a repost of a Wisconsin Horticulture, Division of Extension article. The original article can be found at:
Bypassing Plant Pathogens: Promoting Tree and Shrub Health Through Proper Pruning
Posted on February 3, 2021
Pruning in the winter can reduce the risk of disease-causing organisms infecting trees and shrubs through pruning cuts.
By Brian Hudelson, Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic
Although it doesn’t seem like the optimal time to be gardening, February is actually a great time to be out pruning your trees and shrubs to make them more structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing.
Why prune now? Whenever you prune, you create wounds that potentially can serve as entry points for disease-causing fungi and bacteria. If you prune in the spring and summer (when it’s warmer and often wetter), these organisms are very active and more likely land on fresh pruning cuts and infect. When the weather is colder and drier (as it tends to be in February in Wisconsin), disease-causing organisms are much less active and the chances of them infecting though pruning cuts is much reduced.
How do I go about pruning? Check out University of Wisconsin Garden Facts XHT1013 (Pruning Evergreens), XHT1014 (Pruning Deciduous Trees) and XHT1015 (Pruning Deciduous Shrubs) for pointers on how to prune.
Prune only when it’s dry, and decontaminate pruning tools between cuts (or at a minimum between each tree or shrub) by treating them with 70% alcohol (e.g., rubbing alcohol right out of the bottle, spray disinfectants containing ~70% alcohol) or (in a pinch) 10% bleach. Decontaminating tools kills off disease-causing organisms that you might pick up as you prune. Once done pruning, if you’ve used bleach, be sure to thoroughly rinse your tools, and oil them to prevent them from rusting.
By pruning regularly and taking a few simple precautions as you do, you will end up with trees that are beautiful, structurally sound and healthy.
Cost: $10 covers all four presentations
The Spring Garden Seminar will be presented via You Tube Live. Attendees will receive the link the
week prior to each presentation. All presentations are open to the public and we welcome both new
and experienced gardeners. Registration at https://www.eauclaireareamastergardener.org/
Brought to you by Western Wisconsin Master Gardener Associations from the following counties:
Barron, Chippewa, Dunn, Eau Claire, Pierce and St. Croix
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Diversity in the garden