The Sauk County Gardener— Help Your Garden Feed You

This past week I was checking out our basswood tree that finally started blooming, trying to see what bees and other pollinators were visiting it. As I moved the branches around, a whole kaleidoscope of moths just flew out of the tree. Although it was actually quite pretty to see, I knew my broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale were in harm’s way. I spoke with a fellow gardener, John, and he said he had more white moths than he’d seen before as well. Unfortunately, the dreaded cabbage moths are thick this year. Start checking your plants closely so you can hand-pick the eggs and worms. You can also use Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis var Kurstaki or Aisawai) as it is can be a highly effective organic way to control cabbage worms. This needs to be sprayed every 1 to 2 weeks or after it rains to help control the cabbage worm and other cole crop pests. If you decide to use an insecticide – organic or otherwise – read the label closely to ensure it can control the pest you are trying to get rid of and only apply the correct amount.

The Sauk County Gardener— Insects and Other Bugs to Watch for in the Garden

Last week I wrote about the proper way to water your garden and now I am listening blissfully to a nice gentle rain as I write this article. Maybe I should have written about watering earlier. At least with some rain, I won’t have to use my gardening time to water. Instead, I will get to work on some much-needed gardening tasks.

RVACG holds inaugural student gardening program to get young students outside

The River Valley Area Community Garden started a Student Gardening program to get young students out in nature and learning about gardening. The program had its first event June 8 where students had the chance to assist gardeners with planting different type of plants and produce in garden beds. The program will include planting and tending to the garden beds, arts and crafts as well as story time in the garden.

The Sauk County Gardener — scouting for Japanese beetles

This last week’s higher temps and humidity made me think we skipped summer and jumped right to August! I tried as best I could to time my plantings between the bouts of rain and the times of high heat. I wasn’t able to completely avoid the high heat as I spent one afternoon out in my newly installed cutting garden beds planting 50 dahlia bulbs and 30 ‘Stargazer’ and ‘Casa Blanca’ Oriental lilies. I ran out of steam before I could plant the nine rose bushes. I’m still working on getting all my annuals planted and there are some vegetables I need to get planted as well. Now is the time of year when I have way more garden tasks compared to the hours I have to spend in the garden – especially when the heat and rain do not cooperate with my schedule. I am sure many of you feel the same way.

The Sauk County Gardener—Lots to do in the garden in June

This last week’s higher temps and humidity made me think we skipped summer and jumped right to August! I tried as best I could to time my plantings between the bouts of rain and the times of high heat. I wasn’t able to completely avoid the high heat as I spent one afternoon out in my newly installed cutting garden beds planting 50 dahlia bulbs and 30 ‘Stargazer’ and ‘Casa Blanca’ Oriental lilies. I ran out of steam before I could plant the nine rose bushes. I’m still working on getting all my annuals planted and there are some vegetables I need to get planted as well. Now is the time of year when I have way more garden tasks compared to the hours I have to spend in the garden – especially when the heat and rain do not cooperate with my schedule. I am sure many of you feel the same way.

The Sauk County Gardener: Oh Honey, it’s Time to Plant!

I recently had the pleasure of taking a guided tour of the Riverland Conversancy Merrimac Preserve on Hwy 113 located between Devil’s Lake State Park (near Roznos Meadow Trailhead) and the town of Merrimac. This is a very nice conservation area with tons of trails that is close to our home. Within the more than 1,600 acres, you can explore wetlands, prairies, oak savannas, woodlands, and various streams and lakes. It’s pretty spectacular. During our guided tour, we were able to enjoy some of the wildflowers that were just starting to bloom such as the lupine and marsh marigold. I really loved seeing the marsh marigold as it was a reminder of the ones that my grandmother had transplanted to her wet area of the yard. It made me consider my own yard to see if I had a place to plant some marsh marigold.

The Sauk County Gardener: Oh Honey, it’s Time to Plant!

Recently I wrote about deterring bunnies and deer from eating your garden plants. This past week, we had a new visitor to our garden and our beehives – a bear. The first night, he just took down all our bird feeders, so we assumed it was a family of naughty raccoons. We brought in the bird feeders the next night and in the morning, we discovered he had tipped over and ripped the hinged roofs right off two of our four bee hives. Luckily, we were able to upright the hives without much drama (except for the three bees that got inside my bee suit and one small sting on my thigh). We moved the hives so they would be closer to the nearby trees so my husband, Scott, could chain the hives to the trees. That evening, as I was moving my plants I was hardening off back into the house, I was sure I heard the bear rustling around in the nearby bushes. You’ve never seen anyone run so fast in rubber garden boots! In the morning, Scott went to check his hives. The bear still got the chains off one hive and damaged it pretty good. Scott wasn’t ready to give up though. We moved all the hives closer to the house and put electric “goat” fencing around our orchard/now apiary. We hung wind chimes and bells and left the yard lights on. Unfortunately, we had to re-queen a couple of the hives as they didn’t handle the trauma well. Luckily, we believe the bear has now moved on. All I can say is that this year’s honey is going to be the most expensive honey we’ve ever had.