The 19th Annual Day in the Garden by the Fond du Lac County Master Gardener Association is set for Saturday, March 18th. The event features speakers, vendors, and a silent auction. It runs from 8:00 to 3:45 at the UW Fond du Lac Extension Office.
I will be speaking on Gardening for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects at the event.
Day in the Garden will give you get tips and inspiration for your own garden and is a great way to network with other local gardeners.
For additional information, see 2017 Day in the Garden brochure.
Handouts for the talk are available here.
It is time again for the Wisconsin Garden Expo. The 2017 event runs from Friday, February 10th through Sunday, February 12th at the Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall in Madison, WI. It features a trade show and numerous educational seminars and demonstrations, plus a farmer’s market on Sunday. This is an excellent and very popular event held to benefit Wisconsin Public Television. This year marks the 24th anniversary of the Expo. It attracts over 20,000 attendees from across the Midwest.
I will be presenting two seminars at the show. On Friday the 10th at 2:15 in Mendota 5, I will speak on Improving Success with Seed Starting. Attendees will learn the “whys” behind the “hows” of seed germination to improve their success when starting plants from seeds. Tips and techniques to help gardeners of all skill levels will be covered. Handouts from the talk (327k .pdf)
On Saturday the 11th at 2:15 in Mendota 8, I will speak on Gardening for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects. Attendees will learn how to identify, appreciate, and encourage beneficial insects in the garden. I will cover recommended annuals and perennials to plant for season long bloom, and how to tend your garden to make it a safe haven for beneficial insects. Handouts from the talk (514k .pdf)
During my time this summer at Two Fish Farms, the alternative energy system was not fully installed (a windmill and second solar array are now up and running), so all power use had to be very carefully managed. Irrigation was the primary power draw, and ensuring the pressure tank remained pressurized without stressing the batteries was key. Continue reading
It has been a real treat to observe the apiary at Two Fish Farms, which now includes seven colonies. The two latest additions are a Langstroth hive and a horizontal top bar hive (HTBH) with an observation window, installed from a nuclear HTBH. I have spent many hours observing the flowering plants on the property to see what the bees are foraging on in this dry, northwestern Michigan summer. Continue reading
As livestock is an important component of sustainable farm design, I felt it important to establish livestock at Two Fish Farms this spring. Honeybees seemed the ideal choice, as larger animals require investment in fencing for pasture and outbuildings for winter protection, as well as more regular daily maintenance than honey bees.
This spring, I’ve been constructing horizontal top bar hives (HTBHs) for the farm as I’ve had free time.
I invested in two packages of bees, and the farm invested in another three packages of bees. Packages are being sourced from Wolf Creek Apiaries and are expected this week. Continue reading
Steller Apiaries in Jackson, Michigan hosts horizontal top bar hive (HTBH, aka Kenyan top bar hive) building workshops the first Saturday of the month February through April, and my sister and I attended the March workshop.
We’d already taken Steller’s introductory course on HTBH beekeeping and put deposits down on starter nuc colonies from Steller, so we were anxious to get our first hives built.
Keith and Jessica Steller are both very friendly and knowledgeable, and are a great resource for alternative beekeepers in southern Michigan. Continue reading
I often choose a theme for my own garden, and this past season’s theme was “oddball and unusual”. On the tomato front, I focused on a few of old favorites and a big double handful of more unusual varieties, particularly “black” and purple types, most of which I had not grown before. Over 20 different tomato varieties were included in this year’s garden (admittedly more than was optimum for the relatively small size of the garden — as the collapsed bamboo trellis many were grown on can attest). I also was fortunate enough to include several grafted tomato varieties. Continue reading
2012 was a really bad year for squash vine borer in Michigan. The outbreak was likely in part due to the mild winter of 2011 and perhaps the drought. It was the worst season for this pest I’ve experienced.
I picked up a couple of rocket stoves from StoveTec in Eugene, Oregon this spring, to help with the outdoor camping kitchen at the Two Fish Farms project I’m consulting on. The owners did a lot of outdoor cooking while their schoolhouse was being gutted. Continue reading