The October Garden Club meeting was a joint meeting with the Fox Point Garden club, organized by the Fox Point Club and held at Dunwoody School. The meeting featured a presentation by Gretchen Meade, the founding Director of the Victory Garden Initiative (VGI), begun in 2008.
Gretchen began by describing 4 “stories”: Self story, Food story, Collective Story, and Now story. She began by discussing her personal background and growing up near Galena IL. She talked about the shift in jobs in the food industry and how things have changed as food moved away from local and towards large conglomerates. She talked about her experience working on an organic farm in central Wisconsin and then her move to Milwaukee.
She discussed her studies about various aspects of the food system including food waste (40%), research of cost of food vs fossil fuels and how the current system makes our food system more insecure, does not promote ecological sustainability (reliance on distant water systems, average bite of food travels 1500 miles before we eat it, etc). She touched on how local food growers promote better health, social justice (cost and quality of food), food synergies (GMO and labeling), food security issues and supporting healthy communities.
She then addressed solutions. These include political policies such as state and federal laws (ie land access in cities), the marketplace and how we use our dollars and the impact/empowerment it can create, and the impact of growing our own food.
All the above led her to start the Victory Gardens Initiative (VGI) in 2008. Their first day they installed 40 gardens in front yards in Shorewood. It garnered national attention on NPR. This past May they installed over 500 gardens.
VGI gets funding from many sources including grants, program revenues, sponsorships and product donations. They offer gardening classes and mentoring programs. They install 5 urban orchards a year, run the Concordia gardens and offer a Food Leaders Certification program.
These are the reasons Gretchen shared for “growing your own”
1. Connects to the environment
2. gardening is the new front porch, connecting us to our neighbors
3. our food is immediately accessible
4. promotes the idea of self sufficiency
5. provides food security-we know what we are getting
6. reduces energy consumption (carbon footprint of transportation)
7. creates community bonding
8. provides fresh air and vitamin D
9. reduces crime in areas-people are out and about and know their neighbors
10. kids want to eat what they grow
11. it is a visible manifestation-gives people an example of a future
12. growing food is a direct action that creates change to what we are aiming for
13. fosters a barter economy
14. improves the urban eco system
15. provides physical activity
16. It is a spiritual and therapeutic act for people- puts our universe in perspective.
For a comprehensive list of local farmers and farmers markets in Southeastern Wisconsin, please visit www.farmfreshsewi.org.
The May Regular Meeting of the Whitefish Bay Garden Club included an outstanding presentation on Gardening with Native Plants given by Carol Bangs, Landscape Design Horticulturist, MATC. Carol shared some tips for eliminating "opportunistic" (native, aggressive plants) and "invasive" (non-native, aggressive plants) from our gardens. The tools she recommended for this task included the Parsnip Predator, the Weed Wrench, and the Weed Torch. Click on the tool's name for a detailed description and purchasing information about each tool.
Carol also recommended two resources that every gardener should have in his or her library: Invasive Plants of The Upper Midwest by Elizabeth J Czarapata and The Wisconsin DNR Publication on Invasive Species. Clicking on either resource will take you to a website with more information.
Once the "opportunistic" and/or "invasive" plants are under control, Carol suggested a trip to the Prairie Nursery (or their website) to select the native plants appropriate for your soil and growing conditions.
Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) has invaded the woodlands of the upper Midwest. Chefs have decided to use the approach of "If you can't beat'em, eat 'em" and created recipes to use Garlic Mustard.
When cooking with Garlic Mustard be sure to harvest from areas that have NOT been sprayed with herbicides. Also, Garlic Mustard plants taste better when harvested prior to flowering. To harvest, remove the entire plant including the root system. Dispose of any unused portions in plastic bags in your trash. Do not compost. Nor should you leave the roots laying on the garden bed as they can continue to propagate.
GARLIC MUSTARD PESTO
3 cups Garlic Mustard leaves, washed patted dry, and packed in a measuring cup
2 large garlic cloves, peeled & chopped
1 cup walnuts or pine nuts
1 cup olive oil
1 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/4 cup Romano Cheese (or more Parmesan), grated
salt & pepper to taste
Combine Garlic Mustard leaes, garlic and nuts in food processor and chop. Or divide recipe in half and use a blender. With motor running, add olive oil slowly. Shut off motor. Add cheeses, salt & pepper. Process briefly to combine.
Serve warm over pasta or spread on crackers as an appetizer. It also makes a great topping for baked fish.
Published by: Monches Farm, Colgate, WI Developed by: Wild Ones, natural landscaping
PENNE PASTA AND GARLIC MUSTARD
3 cups garlic mustard greens, washed, chopped and packed
6 ounces pine nuts or walnuts
1 teaspoon garlic mustard root, sliced
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
4 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
6 ounces virgin olive oil
8 cups cooked penne pasta
salt, to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Toss mustard greens, pine nuts, root and chives into food processor. Add olive oil slowly while blending. Toss with cooked pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serves 6 to 8.
The number of Monarch butterflies reaching Mexico dropped by another 59% this year. Their numbers are down from millions in 1997 to thousands now. Please come to the Whitefish Bay Garden Club's Community Meeting on May 14th (see Projects and Events Page) to learn how to create an environment in your own garden that will attract and foster these beautiful creatures! Helpful tip sheets are also available below, print them out!
At the Garden Club's April Regular Meeting, Marilynn Cech and Niedra North gave a very informative and educational presentation on Adaptive Gardening. Marilynn has worked as a Surgical RN for the past 39 years and has also served as a Wisconsin Master Gardener volunteer for the past ten years.
Niedra works as a Life Coach and has volunteered as a Master Gardener wtih Ozaukee County for the past four years. Both Marilynn and Niedra work on the Lifelong Gardening Committee. Together they presented tools, tips, and techniques that will help gardeners adapt to physical limitations and advanced years.
Highlights from the presentation include:
Getting started - Start with warm-up exercises, switch tasks every 30 minutes,
rest 15 minutes of every hour, hydrate, plan ahead, use a cart to transport materials
Hands - good grasp, prolonged pinching, pressure on pads of thumbs- use wide
handles to ﬁt your grasp; OXO tools; Homemade tools- foam pipe insulation can wrap
around handles to make wider, increase leverage on hose shut-offs; choosing hand
pruners, anvil for dead materials and anvil for living materials; recruit more muscles to
do the job (Garden’s Pride tool by Union tools)
Gloves - Bionic gloves (available on amazon.com); proper hand positioning-radius tools (Peta-UK.com); Telescoping tools; Sure Grip tools-arm support
Choosing a Lopper - consider weight of tool, width of branches to be cut, telescoping handles, ratchet system
“Leverage handles” as back savers - attach to handles on your own tools, diamond hoe, Hula Hoe, Fiskars, Oswego’s Grandpa’s weeds, and the Garden Rake offer outstanding options
Garden Seating/Kneeling - “the Garden rocker”, knee/stool combo, some have bags for hand tools, some collapse for storage, gel knee pads (Ace Hardware), use 2 kneeling mats to move along the garden
Planting - use a garden seat, use proper ergonomic tools, don’t lean too far forward, use seed tapes, use seeding augers
Raking/Shoveling - “Garden Shark” for raking mulch; "dance" with your rake (walk forward, walk back, don't twist); O-handled tools; don't bend your back; don’t lift and twist. Use a smaller face on the shovel so the weight is reduced
Energy saving tools - garden vest; 2 wheeled garden carts (not wheelbarrow); self watering pots; hydro powered auto re-wind hose reel; raised bed gardening; use heavy lifting tools to reduce strain; ergonomic water cans (Fiskars); “Gator-Grabber” clean up tool (Garden supply.com)
Please see RESOURCES page on the WFB Garden Club website for links to websites with additional information and tips.
Handouts from Meeting:
As we prepare to endure another round of snow, it's hard to believe that soon we'll be donning our favorite garden clogs and digging in our yards preparing the soil for flowers, veggies, herbs and such. This past Sunday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel provided a list of gardening advice books to help us pass the time until we are again enjoying the beautiful Wisconsin Spring and Summer. So, run out to your favorite bookstore or library and pick up a few titles to curl up with as we enjoy hearty stews and steaming cups of hot cocoa and wait for our beloved gardening season to arrive!
The Garden Book for Wisconsin by Melinda Meyers (Cool Springs Press, $24.99)
Your Midwest Garden: An Owners Manual by Jan Riggenbach (University of Nebraska Press, $24.95)
50 Ways to Kill a Slug by Sarah Ford (Hamlyn, $6.95)
The Beautiful Edible Garden by Leslie Bennett and Stefani Bittner (Ten Speed Press, $19.99)
Grow Your Own in Pots by Kay Maguire (Octopus Books, $14.99)
Everyday Roses by Paul Zimmerman (Taunton Press, $22.95)
The Four Season Farm Gardener's Cookbook by Barbara Damrosch and Eliot Coleman (Workman Publishing, $22.99)
The MiniFarming Guide to Composting by Brett L Markham (Skyhorse Publishing Inc., $14.95)
Small yard? No yard? No problem! A vertical garden could be your answer. At the regular monthly meeting of the Whitefish Bay Garden Club, Lisa Nieske from Bayside Garden Center presented several options for creating a vertical garden.
Modular vertical gardening containers are available for purchase at many garden centers or on the internet and provide a quick and easy way to plant succulents, herbs, and flowers. These containers fit together in any configuration to make a garden wall. Vertical gardening systems can also be created from items as simple as wood palates or hanging canvas shoe storage. Attach landscaping fabric to the back and sides of a wood palate, fill with soil, and plant between the slates. After the roots have taken hold, attach the palate to a fence, garage, or trellis. Hanging canvas shoe storage systems have large pockets perfect to hold pots of favorite vegetables.
Vertical gardens can be any size and shape and are a great way to grow vegetables, herbs, flowers, or succulents no matter what size your outdoor space!
Hello Baseball Families!
I am very pleased to announce that Whitefish Bay Little League adopted a new turf management policy at our last Board meeting that will greatly reduce or eliminate the use of chemicals at Craig Counsell Park in 2013. The official Resolution authorizes us to work with a natural turf care firm in conjunction with our landscaper in adopting natural techniques to strengthen our fields and combat those pesky weeds and pests. We have reserved the option of spot applications of herbicides if localized weeds are in need of control. That means we may apply some weed kill in spots as a last resort. But we will not schedule a full field spraying over Memorial Day weekend as in the past.
The Resolution anticipates a 3-year commitment to the new approach. Your Board has learned a great deal about this topic over the past year. In a nutshell we are trying to create healthier fields and that is not an overnight process. However the virtual elimination of chemicals is immediate.
Thank you to everyone that has voiced an opinion on this topic. You are welcome to attend any of our Board meetings, and can review the Agendas and Minutes online.
And remember, REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN. Sign up your players, offer to volunteer and get ready for another fantastic season at Craig Counsell Park!
The Lawn and Garden Tips page is updated by members of the Whitefish Bay Garden Club.