BOTH COLUMN: Rethink vegetable gardening

BOTH COLUMN: Rethink vegetable gardening

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“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything”—William Shakespeare

Hope everyone is able to get out and do some yard work since we are all confined to our homes. This is the year to rethink vegetable gardening.

Most of our produce comes from southern states and especially California. The growers in California are facing a potential problem with their labor. Most growers employ migrant workers. The workers don’t always have resources and many have to be trucked in and are packed into vehicles. It is just a matter of time before the virus catches up with this industry. Many times, migrant workers are low income and live in poor conditions. They don’t always have access to health care. If the virus spreads to the workers who provide our food, we will be limited to how much produce will be sent. I know our farmers do a great job at farmers markets but growing your own to be on the safe side is very rewarding.

If you don’t have garden space, plant in pots, baskets, crates or just about anything that can hold soil. Use large ones for large plants. Greens and herbs do well in smaller pots. All you need is potting soil and some leaves mixed in for added nutrients. Potted plants need fertilizer at least once a month since a lot of it drains out the bottom. Watering is a must. Check soil moisture every day. In the heat of the summer, twice a day. I plan on growing pretty leafy greens in my flower beds.

So far I have planted spinach, chard, green onions, and lettuce in my garden. Wait to plant your warm season crops until June. I know I mentioned before that we need some cheering up and the best way to do it is by planting sunflowers. Save some room for them. There are many sizes of sunflowers so be sure to read the labels and choose the size you can accommodate.

It’s starting to look pretty outdoors since the early spring flowers are blooming.

Right now I have snow crocus, scilla and snow drops blooming. It’s a good idea to plan where you want bulbs for next year, write it down and make a plan while it is fresh in your mind. The bulb catalogs will be coming soon.

I have had a couple of calls about problem woodchucks destroying driveways, foundations, and gardens. They are really tough critters. I have found a method that seems to work well to discourage them. Soak a towel or large rag with ammonia and that usually keeps them away.

Keep informed online by visiting The Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener at

Contact Phyllis Both by email at or by telephone on Monday mornings at the Sauk County University of Wisconsin-Extension office, 608-355-3253.

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