‘THE SAGE’-Klein’s Online Newsletter—MAY 2015
Klein’s Floral & Greenhouses
3758 E. Washington Ave.
Madison, WI 53704
608/244-5661 or info@kleinsfloral.com
Our 2015 Spring Plant List Is Now Online!
Our ‘Mad Gardener’ Is Ready for Your Questions
Plant Your Own Containers in Our ’Creation Station’
Tips on Hiring a Wedding Florist
Heirloom Seeds with a Wisconsin Story
New Glyphosate Guidelines Down the Road
Klein’s Favorite Seed, Bulb & Plant Sources
You Asked the Mad Gardener About Growing Lettuce in Pots
Plant of the Month: Edible Sweet Potatoes & Growing Them
Our Very Favorite Texas Barbecue Recipes
Product Spotlight: The Smart Pot®
Notes from Rick’s Garden Journal—from April 2015
–Home-brewed Compost Tea
–New Plants for 2015 Plants @ Klein’s
—Dame’s Rocket-Friend or Foe
May in the Garden: A Planner
Gardening Events Around Town
Join Us on Twitter
Follow Us on Facebook
Join Klein’s Blooming Plant or Fresh Flower Club
Delivery Information
Related Resources and Websites
Plants Harmful to Kids and Pets
OUR 2015 SPRING PLANT LIST can be viewed on-line beginning about April 15 by clicking on Spring Plants on the left side of our home page. This comprehensive listing contains every plant that Klein’s will be offering for the 2015 season and is extremely helpful for both the home gardener and landscaper alike. The list contains fun facts, cultural information and pot or pack size for each item and comes in very handy in planning your garden this spring.
Bring in your own pots or purchase one of ours. Then, using our potting soil at no charge, you’ll be able to create your own masterpiece onsite! We’ll simply charge you for the plants. We require, of course, that no plants be brought in from outside sources and it’s always a good idea to call ahead to reserve a spot–especially during peak hours and to ensure the table is stocked with soil. Just contact Sue (sue@kleinsfloral.com) or Kathryn (kathryn@kleinsfloral.com) at (608) 244-5661 for more information. Our talented staff will be available to answer all questions, help pick out some plants and to get you started. We’ll even deliver them for you for an added fee.
FOR NEIGHBORHOOD EVENTS OR GARDEN TOURS that you would like posted on our web site or in our monthly newsletters, please contact Rick at (608) 244-5661 or rick@kleinsfloral.com or Sue at sue@kleinsfloral.com. Please include all details, i.e. dates, locations, prices, brief description, etc. Our readership is ever-growing so this is a great opportunity for free advertising. Events must be garden related and must take place in the immediate Madison vicinity.
“Madison’s Firsthand Source for Expert Gardening Advice”
Ask any of your gardening questions by e-mailing them to us at madgardener@kleinsfloral.com. Klein’s in-house Mad Gardener will e-mail you with an answer as promptly as we can. We’ve also posted a link to this e-mail address on our home page for your convenience. Your question might then appear in the “You Asked” feature of our monthly newsletter. If your question is the one selected for our monthly newsletter, you’ll receive a small gift from us at Klein’s. The Mad Gardener hopes to hear from you soon!
Sorry, we can only answer those questions pertaining to gardening in Southern Wisconsin and we reserve the right to leave correspondence unanswered at our discretion. Please allow 2-3 days for a response.
Please note that our Mad Gardener is not only an expert gardener, but can answer all of your indoor plant questions as well.
Again during the 2015 spring season, Klein’s will open at 7:00 a.m. every Tuesday! Year long, Tuesday is Klein’s Senior Discount Day. On Tuesdays those 62 and over save an extra 10% off all regular priced items. Beginning Tuesday, May 1, we opened the doors an hour early. Avoid the lines and shop early! The extended Tuesday hours last through mid-June.
In addition, with the incredible success of our outdoor checkout located in our bedding plant area, we will be making this one of our primary checkout options again for the 2015 spring season. Weather permitting, the outdoor register will be open daily. The outdoor checkout is located just outside our Potting Shed at the back of Showroom Number 1.
Monday thru Friday : 8:00-8:00 (Open Tuesdays at 7:00)
Saturday: 8:00-6:00
Sunday: 9:00-5:00
Open Memorial Day, May 25, 9:00-5:00
May 3–Full Moon
May 5–Cinco de Mayo
May 10–This is Madison’s average last frost date, but keep your eye on the weather before planting. Madison has a notorious reputation for late May frosts. Many local old-time gardeners refuse to plant, especially their tomatoes, peppers, morning glories, etc. until Memorial Day weekend when the soil has warmed properly. Novice gardeners have a tendency to plant too early!
May 10–Mother’s Day. Order early and shop early!!! Mother’s Day is second only to Valentine’s Day for deliveries and the Saturday before Mother’s Day is traditionally our busiest day of the entire year. Extra drivers will be on the road Saturday, May 10 for prompt and efficient service. Click on Delivery Information on the left side of our home page for more details about Klein’s delivery. We will not be delivering on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 10.
May 25–Memorial Day-the unofficial beginning of summer! Store Hours: 9-5:00
Hiring a Wedding Florist
Contact your florist once you’ve selected the date, time and place for your wedding and reception. If you aren’t familiar with the florists in your area, ask for recommendations from other brides, reception halls or churches. If possible, set up an appointment with the lead designer who will be in charge of filling the order for your wedding flowers.
Look through bridal books and floral guides. Sketch ideas, cut out pictures or take photographs of flowers you like and share them with your florist. Seeing your ideas and personal style will help your florist translate your concepts and special requests into workable floral designs and arrangements that are just right for you.
It will be helpful if you know the colors and style of the gowns you and your bridesmaids will be wearing. Bring pictures of your gown and the bridesmaids dresses, along with swatches of fabric if you have them available.
During your initial consultation with your florist, discuss specific design ideas that fit both your personal style and budget. Make arrangements for your florist to visit both the ceremony and reception sites.
The following are suggested questions to ask when consulting with a wedding florist:

  • What are the current bridal styles and how do you see them being used in my wedding?
  • What are some of the new and exciting flower varieties and are they available in the colors I have selected for my wedding?
  • What flowers will be in season at the time of my wedding?
  • What flowers are available that will be used to fill my order based upon my budget and color preferences?
  • Do you have pictures of arrangements from other weddings you’ve done at my wedding ceremony/reception site? What size, shape and colors work best at my ceremony/reception site?
  • Will there be sufficient staff to design the arrangements for my wedding and have them delivered on time?
  • How will the flowers be handled, delivered and set-up, taking into consideration the weather constraints for my wedding?
  • Do you preserve bouquets after the wedding?
  • Is there an additional charge for delivery, set-up and servicing my wedding? How are these charges determined?
  • Do you offer rental items (vases, urns, etc.) or do we need to rent them from another company?
  • Are there any extra fees (delivery, set-up, sales tax, etc.)?

Please contact Sue or Kathy at 608/244-5661 to set up your consultation appointment.
Source: Society of American Florists at www.aboutflowers.com
I would like to grow lettuce and spinach in a container. I’ve had mixed results in the past. I would like some tips for a successful crop. Thanks you so much,
Hi Marlys,
I, too, grow my lettuce in containers; saving my garden space for flowers. Spinach can be grown in containers but is more problematic in that the added warmth of container soil causes the plants to grow quickly then bolt and become bitter.
I use plain, old, cheap plastic pots at least 14″ across and 16-18″ deep. I use a bagged soilless potting mix available at all garden centers. Never use garden soil or heavy potting mixes (usually the cheaper kinds). I sow the seeds in mid-April for late-May/early June harvest. Leaf varieties will perform best (vs. bibb, romaine, head types, etc.). My very favorite is Patio Mix from Territorial Seeds (available on line), though most leaf types work well. Many varieties have been bred specifically for container growing, so read the backs of the seed packets or google ‘lettuce varieties for containers’.
As for fertilizer, I fertilize whenever I fertilize my flower containers. Because you’re wanting the greens (not flowers), a high nitrogen or balanced fertilizer is best. I use the rate recommended on the box every two weeks. Never use a higher rate. If you prefer organic fertilizers, you’ll notice the results aren’t as fast as the alternatives due to the fact the necessary elements are present at a far lower level.
Lettuce is a spring crop so will begin bolting and turning bitter by late June and early July. If the weather heats up quickly in May and June, your harvests may come to an end even sooner. I put my containers where they get full morning sun and a break from the hot afternoon sun.
A crop for fall harvest can then be planted again in early August for harvest well into October.
Thanks for your question,
Klein’s Mad Gardener
. . . that there are many heirloom seeds with a Wisconsin story?
The following interesting article by Sandy Cullen appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal (madison.com) this past March and we thought we’d share it with you.
Seeds with a Wisconsin Story
Two seed varieties created at UW-Madison decades ago (the Wisconsin 55 Tomato and Wisconsin Lakes Pepper) are still popular among home gardeners. Several other heirloom offerings have a connection to Wisconsin.
Many are among the 20,000 heirloom varieties included in the Heritage Farm Collection of Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa (www.seedsavers.org).
Other sources include Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in Mansfield, Missouri (www.rareseeds.com) and J.W. Jung Seed Company (www.jungseed.com).
Many of these varieties can be found at local garden centers.
Amish Paste (available at Klein’s)—This plum tomato “found” among the Wisconsin Amish is actually an Amish selection of Governor Pennypacker, a circa 1907 tomato developed in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and never released commercially, according to heirloom seed expert William Woys Weaver, director of the Keystone Center for the Study of Regional Foods and Food Tourism. Seeds Savers describes the bright red, 8- to 12-ounce ox-heart to rounded fruit as juicy and meaty, excellent for sauce or fresh eating.
Greenbush Italian—This large red ox-heart was grown for years in Madison’s legendary Greenbush neighborhood. Great for sauce and canning, it’s a favorite for its high yields, flavor and beauty (available to members of Seed Savers through its Exchange).
Sheboygan—This high-yielding pink paste tomato in the Seed Savers collection was grown by Lithuanian immigrants in Sheboygan since the early 1900s and is good for canning.
Wisconsin 55 (available at Klein’s)—Bred by famed UW-Madison plant pathologist J.C. Walker in the 1940s, this all-purpose tomato is “remembered as one of the best home and market tomatoes” in the Madison area, according to Seed Savers.
Wisconsin Lakes—This early maturing sweet bell pepper in Seed Saver’s collection was developed in the 1960s by UW-Madison Professor O.B. Combs. The 4- to 6-ounce thick-walled fruits ripen from green to red.
Beaver Dam—This medium hot pepper in the Seed Savers collection was brought to Beaver Dam in 1912 by the Joe Hussli family.
Margaret’s (a favorite of a Klein’s staff member)—J.W. Jung Seed Company received seed for this sweet pepper from Margaret Gubin of Cambria, who maintained for more than 50 years the original seed brought by a family member from Hungary to the United States. The thick-walled fruits are about 7-inches inches long and go from green to orange to bright and then deep red.
Pride of Wisconsin—According to Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, this melon was grown for Milwaukee markets in the 1920s. The large fruit “have soft, sweet, juicy orange flesh.”
NOTES FROM MY GARDEN JOURNAL–Tips and Observations from My Own Garden by Rick Halbach.
ENTRY: APRIL 13, 2015 (Home-brewed Compost Tea)
A customer and I had a discussion today about inexpensive natural fertilizers with the quickest results and I suggested she whip up a batch compost tea. Though there are many types of compost teas (some with elaborate instructions), I thought I’d share this very easy recipe fromhomecompostingmadeeasy.com.
How to Make Compost Tea
Compost tea is a liquid gold fertilizer for flowers, vegetables and houseplants. Compost tea, in fact, is all the rave for gardeners who repeatedly attest to higher quality vegetables, flowers, and foliage. Very simply, it is a liquid, nutritionally rich, well-balanced, organic supplement made by steeping aged compost in water. But its value is amazing, for it acts as a very mild, organic liquid fertilizer when added at any time of the year.
What is so wonderful about compost tea is that it can be made right at home from your own fresh, well-finished compost. The only requirement is that the compost you use is well broken-down into minute particles. This usually means that the organic materials have decomposed over a period of time so that their appearance is very dark with the texture of course crumbly cornmeal. Oh, and the fragrance is like that of rich soil in a forest.
Don’t have such compost yet? Well, dig deep down inside your bin, near the bottom. This is where organic material will be most decomposed and fresh. All you need is a good shovelful for a 5-gallon bucket of compost tea.
6 Good Reasons to Use Compost Tea

  1. Increases plant growth. It is chock full of nutrients and minerals that give greener leaves, bigger and brighter blooms, and increased size and yield of vegetables.
  2. Provides nutrients to plants and soil. The fast-acting nutrients are quickly absorbed by plants through their leaves or the soil. When used as a foliar spray plant surfaces are occupied by beneficial microbes, leaving no room for pathogens to infect the plant. The plant will suffer little or no blight, mold, fungus or wilt.
  3. Provides beneficial organisms. The live microbes enhance the soil and the immune system of plants. Growth of beneficial soil bacteria results in healthier, more stress-tolerant plants. The tea’s chelated micronutrients are easy for plants to absorb.
  4. Helps to suppress diseases. A healthy balance is created between soil and plant, increasing the ability to ward off pests, diseases, fungus and the like. Its microbial functions include: competes with disease causing microbes; degrades toxic pesticides and other chemicals; produces plant growth hormones; mineralizes a plant’s available nutrients; fixes nitrogen in the plant for optimal use.
  5. Replaces toxic garden chemicals. Perhaps the greatest benefit is that compost tea rids your garden of poisons that harm insects, wildlife, plants, soil and humans. It replaces chemical-based fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides. And, it will never burn a plant’s leaves or roots. Finally, you save money.
  6. Makes you a “Green Planetary Citizen”. Compost tea is just another way to feel good about respecting the earth in your own yard and garden. It allows you to be less a consumer of harmful products and more a resourceful gardener.

6 Easy Steps to Make Homemade Compost Tea
Step 1: Fill a bucket 1/3 full of quality finished compost
Step 2: Add water to the top of the bucket (non-chlorinated is best, or good well water. To dechlorinate water, allow water to sit in an open container for 24 hrs.).
Step 3: Let the mixture steep for 3-4 days. Stir it now and then.
Step 4: Strain the mixture through cheesecloth or other porous fabric (burlap, old shirt) into another bucket. Add the remaining solids to your garden or compost bin.
Step 5: Dilute the remaining liquid with water so it’s the color of weak tea (use a 10:1 ratio of water to tea).
Step 6: Use tea immediately for optimal absorption into the soil around plants.
Tea Making Tips
The following factors will determine the quality of the finished tea:

  1. Use well-aged, finished compost. Unfinished compost may contain harmful pathogens and compost that is too old may be nutritionally deficient. COMPOST TEA and MANURE TEA ARE NOT THE SAME THING! Manure teas may be made in the same way but are not generally recommended as foliar sprays and are not as nutritionally well-balanced.)
  2. Using well-made, high quality compost you can brew up a mild batch in as little as an hour or let it brew for a week or more for a super concentrate. A good median is to let the tea brew for 24-48 hours. When it begins to smell “yeasty” you can stop and apply it to your plants.
  3. Recent research indicates that using some kind of aeration and adding a sugar source (unsulphured molasses works well) results in an excellent product that extracts the maximum number of beneficial organisms. This aeration is crucial to the formation of beneficial bacteria and the required fermentation process. For the simple bucket-brewing approach, simply stir the tea a few times during those hours or days it is brewing.
  4. You can add all kinds of supplements like fish emulsion or powdered seaweed. This turns the tea into a balanced organic fertilizer.

How to Use Compost Tea

  1. As a root drench. Can be used unfiltered by applying directly to the soil area around a plant. The tea will seep down into the root system. Root feeding is not affected by rainy weather.
  2. As a foliar spray. Strain tea thru a fine mesh cloth (cheesecloth, burlap, even an old shirt). Then dilute it with dechlorinated water, if possible, or good quality well water. Use a ratio of 10 parts water to 1 part tea. The color should be that like weak tea. Add 1/8 tsp vegetable oil or mild dish-washing liquid per gallon to help it adhere to leaves. A pump sprayer or misting bottle works better than hose-end sprayers for large areas or for foliar feeding as they don’t plug up as easily. The beneficial microorganisms are somewhat fragile so it is important to note you should avoid very high pressure sprayers for application. Re-application after rain is necessary and one should avoid applying to the leaves during the heat of the day.

ENTRY: APRIL 27, 2015 (New Plants for 2015 Plants @ Klein’s)
Yesterday, one of my coworkers suggested I repeat an article from last month’s newsletter now that the planting season is underway and she suggested that I add some information about our selection of grafted vegetables—an exploding hot new trend for home gardeners.
Mighty ’Mato™ Grafted Tomatoes, Peppers and More
“Stronger! Faster! Fights Off Disease and Pests! Super Yields!”
Grafted vegetables are created when the top part of one plant (the scion) is attached to the root system of a separate plant (the rootstock). The rootstock contributes vigor and disease resistance while the scion is chosen for fruit flavor or quality. Produce growers have found that this traditional technique can dramatically improve plant health and increase harvests naturally and economically.
Advantages of grafted vegetables include enhanced plant vigor, stronger disease resistance, tolerance of environmental stresses, and heavier crops that are produced over an extended harvest period.
All tomatoes, especially, can benefit from grafting, but heirlooms, which are generally less disease resistant, can increase yields dramatically when grafted on special rootstock.
For the 2015 spring season, Klein’s is carrying a nice assortment of both tomatoes and peppers, including the classic Brandywine tomato; in addition to cucumbers, squash and other. Due to their costs are only available in branded 6” pots.
Source: loghouseplants.com
Other hot new plants for 2015 include:
Digiplexis® Intergenetic Foxglove—All eyes are on this monumental innovation in flower breeding. This unusual series is a cross of our North American Foxglove and a cousin from the Canary Islands, resulting in a magnificent, exotic, long-bloomer. Luminous spikes of tubular blossoms tower up to 36 inches tall and flow up strong stems. Growing sturdier with the season, the flower stalks begin branching, multiplying the blazing color. Worthy of filling large, bold containers, backing borders or topping beds, surrounded by complementing foliage and flowers to point all attention at this magnificent award winner. Klein’s will be carrying Illumination Raspberry and Berry Canary.
A note: I grew the third available color, Illumination Flame, in a container last summer and was completely impressed by its nonstop blooming power and growth habit. However, this is only a Zone 8 perennial, so must be treated as an annual here in Madison, or somehow overwintered indoors. I stored mine overwinter in my root cellar and it has yet to resprout.
BrazelBerries® Jellybean and Peach Sorbet Blueberries and Raspberry Shortcake Raspberries—BrazelBerries® are an innovative collection of berry varieties like nothing you’ve seen before. With exquisite ornamental qualities, small stature and amazing fruit, BrazelBerries are plants you’ll want to place front and center on your patios or in your landscape. These berry varieties are perfect in decorative patio pots and are easy to grow with minimal care.
Ketchup ’n’ Fries—Harvest Tomatoes AND Potatoes from one plant!! A tomato is grafted on to a potato plant. It’s all natural and non-GMO. The cherry sized tomatoes are great for snacking, salads and sauces. The potatoes are great baked, boiled, mashed or roasted. Grow either in containers or in the garden. Excellent growing and harvest instructions are attached to each plant.
Bounce Impatiens—This year, Selecta introduces all-new genetics of interspecific impatiens. Bounce is highly resistant to Impatiens Downy Mildew, making it the best replacement option for spaces where I. walleriana has failed in the past. Use compact Bounce for hanging baskets or patio pots, and use more vigorous Big Bounce in the landscape or large-size containers. Unlike New Guinea impatiens, Bounce has the wal- leriana habit and flower count.
ENTRY: APRIL 28, 2015 (Dame’s Rocket-Friend or Foe?) (Originally posted May 2010)
One of the very first hand-me-down plants given to me after we bought our house in 1986 was the early blooming, tall and very fragrant Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis). After nearly 30 years a few plants continue to pop up each year in the semi-shady parts of my backyard in shades of lavender, pink and white. Dame’s Rocket, also called Sweet Rocket, is a biennial. Seeds sprout in early summer and plants grow through the summer and into the fall. They flower the following spring, set seed and the cycle starts anew. The parent plant usually dies after it blooms, but it can become a short-lived perennial. Each plant produces thousands of seeds.
Dame’s Rocket has a long and sordid history and remains one of our more controversial garden plants. This member of the mustard family came to America from Europe during the 1600’s as a beloved garden plant. Seeds are often a part of wildflower seed mixes available at all garden centers. Though not “technically” considered invasive, in that it’s not illegal to plant it in the garden (like say purple loosestrife), Dame’s Rocket is on the Wisconsin’s DNR list of invasive plants, due to the fact that it crowds out some of our native species. Dame’s Rocket prefers woodland edges and damp open spaces. Though easily controlled in the garden, problems occur in areas where it has escaped and naturalized in these areas. Dame’s Rocket has naturalized throughout North America and is considered by many to be invasive on a scale similar to other non-natives, including; violets, chickweed, clover, dandelions and many of our most loved garden annuals and perennials. Is it to be embraced (it’s beautiful, fragrant and long a part of Wisconsin’s flora) or a foe to be destroyed? The jury is still out on this one. In my own garden, I always allow a few plants to remain to punctuate the landscape.
KLEIN’S RECIPES OF THE MONTHThese are a selection of relatively simple recipes chosen by our staff. New recipes appear monthly. Enjoy!!
Who doesn’t love good barbecue? Recently a Klein’s staff member and a bunch of his close friends put together an authentic Texan BBQ feast and he wanted to share these fantastic recipes with coworkers and you. Lone Star Beer, Shiner Bock and a pitcher of lemonade are the must serve drinks for this party!
TEXAS-STYLE BARBECUED BEEF BRISKET—Serve this with cole slaw and sop up the pan juices with Texas toast. From myrecipes.com
1 large sweet onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon jarred beef soup base
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons hickory liquid smoke
1 (2- to 3-lb.) beef brisket flat, trimmed
1/4 cup beer
3 tablespoons bottled chili sauce
Lightly grease a 6-qt. slow cooker; add onion and garlic. Stir together chili powder and next 5 ingredients. Rub over brisket; place brisket over onion mixture in slow cooker. Whisk together beer and chili sauce. Slowly pour mixture around brisket (to avoid removing spices from brisket). Cover and cook on LOW 7 to 8 hours (or on HIGH 4 to 5 hours) or until fork-tender. Uncover and let stand in slow cooker 20 minutes. Remove brisket from slow cooker; cut brisket across the grain into thin slices. Return brisket to slow cooker, and spoon pan juices over meat. Serves 4-6.
TEXAS CORNBREAD—A family favorite!
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow or white cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup half & half
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs, slightly beaten
Heat oven to 400°F. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in bowl. Stir in all remaining ingredients just until moistened. Pour into greased 8- or 9-inch square baking pan. Bake 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
TRUE TEXAS CHILI—This Texas classic doesn’t include beans or tomatoes, only beef, homemade chile paste, and a few flavorings. It’s what Texans call a “Bowl o’ Red” and tastes intensely of its two main ingredients. From epicurious.com
2 ounces dried, whole New Mexico (California), guajillo, or pasilla chiles, or a combination (6 to 8 chiles)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt
5 tablespoons lard, vegetable oil, or rendered beef suet
2 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck, well trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes (to yield 2 pounds after trimming)
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 cups beef stock , or canned low-sodium beef broth, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons masa harina (corn tortilla flour)
1 tablespoon firmly packed dark brown sugar, plus more as needed
1 1/2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar, plus more as needed
Sour cream
Lime wedges

  1. Place the chiles in a straight-sided large skillet over medium-low heat and gently toast the chiles until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Don’t let them burn or they’ll turn bitter. Place the chiles in a bowl and cover them with very hot water and soak until soft, 15 to 45 minutes, turning once or twice.
  2. Drain the chiles; split them and remove stems and seeds (a brief rinse helps remove seeds, but don’t wash away the flesh). Place the chiles in the bowl of a blender and add the cumin, black pepper, 1 tablespoon salt and 1/4 cup water. Purée the mixture, adding more water as needed (and occasionally scraping down the sides of the blender jar), until a smooth, slightly fluid paste forms (you want to eliminate all but the tiniest bits of skin.) Set the chile paste aside.
  3. Return skillet to medium-high heat and melt 2 tablespoons of the lard. When it begins to smoke, swirl skillet to coat and add half of the beef. Lightly brown on at least two sides, about 3 minutes per side, reducing the heat if the meat threatens to burn. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with 2 more tablespoons of lard and the remaining beef. Reserve.
  4. Let the skillet cool slightly, and place it over medium-low heat. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of lard in the skillet; add the onion and garlic and cook gently for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the stock, the remaining 2 cups water and gradually whisk in the masa harina to avoid lumps. Stir in the reserved chile paste, scraping the bottom of the skillet with a spatula to loosen any browned bits. Add the reserved beef (and any juices in the bowl) and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain the barest possible simmer (just a few bubbles breaking the surface) and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender but still somewhat firm and 1 1/2 to 2 cups of thickened but still liquid sauce surrounds the cubes of meat, about 2 hours.
  5. Stir in the brown sugar and vinegar thoroughly and add more salt to taste; gently simmer 10 minutes more. At this point, it may look like there is excess sauce. Turn off the heat and let the chili stand for at least 30 minutes, during which time the meat will absorb about half of the remaining sauce in the skillet, leaving the meat bathed in a thick, somewhat fluid sauce. Stir in additional broth or water if the mixture seems too dry. If the mixture seems a bit loose and wet, allow it to simmer a bit more (sometimes we like to partially crush the cubes of beef with the back of a spoon to let them absorb more sauce). Adjust the balance of flavors with a bit of additional salt, sugar, or vinegar, if you like.
  6. Reheat gently and serve in individual bowls with a dollop of sour cream on top and a lime wedge on the side. Serves 4

TExas-Style Potato Salad with Mustard and Pickled Red Onions—This phenomenal recipe comes from foodnetwork.com
1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
Kosher salt
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 1/2 pounds new red potatoes
6 hard-cooked eggs, coarsely chopped
1 roasted red pepper, finely diced
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
Bring the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil in a small saucepan and cook until the sugar and salt dissolves, about 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool for 10 minutes. Add the onions and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. Drain the onions through a strainer into a bowl and reserve the pickling liquid.
Put the potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water by 2 inches and add 2 tablespoons salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until a knife inserted into the center of the potatoes meets with no resistance. Drain the potatoes well, let cool slightly (but not all the way) and slice into 1/2-inch thick slices.
Transfer the warm potatoes to a large bowl. Add the eggs, pickled onions and red peppers. Whisk together the mayonnaise, mustards, a few tablespoons of the pickling liquid and season with salt and pepper. Add the dressing and parsley to the warm potatoes and gently mix to combine; season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature or cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and serve chilled.
Recipe courtesy Bobby Flay. Serves 4.
ANDREA’S DEVILED EGGS—Andrea says an important tip is to lay the eggs on their sides the night before preparing.
Standard Deviled Eggs
6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise
¼ cup Light Mayonnaise or Salad Dressing
½ teaspoon dry ground mustard
½ teaspoon white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Paprika for garnish
Slightly Spicy Version
6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise
¼ cup Light Mayonnaise or Salad Dressing
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon chives, chopped very fine for filling
1 teaspoon chives, chopped fine for garnish
3 dashes of hot sauce, your choice of brand and heat (Andrea adds 1/2 teaspoon of Sriracha sauce)
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Paprika for garnish, or for extra kick, use a light sprinkle of chili powder
Cut eggs lengthwise in half. Slip out yolks and mash with fork. Stir in mayonnaise, mustard, etc. Fill whites with egg yolk mixture, heaping it lightly. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.
BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN—From marthastewart.com
1 whole fryer chicken, 2 1/2 to 3 pounds, cut into 10 parts
4 cups low-fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons coarse salt
1 1/2 tablespoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Vegetable oil, about 3 cups to start plus more if needed

  1. Place chicken in a large bowl and fill with cold salted water. Cover and transfer to refrigerator and let soak overnight.
  2. Remove chicken from ice water and arrange snugly in a large shallow bowl or baking dish (or divide between two dishes). Whisk together the buttermilk and seasonings and pour over the chicken, making sure the parts are completely submerged. Alternatively, divide the chicken and marinade evenly among large re-sealable bags; rest the bags on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any leaks. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
  3. About an hour before you plan to cook the chicken, remove the pieces from the marinade and allow them to drain on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. This allows the excess marinade to drip off and the remaining marinade to lose some of its moisture and become slightly tacky, so the coating will adhere better and produce a crisper crust. The chicken will also come to room temperature, allowing it to cook more quickly and evenly. Meanwhile, in a large clean brown paper bag or a shallow bowl or pie plate, shake or whisk together the flour, cornmeal, and seasonings, and spread in a shallow bowl or pie plate.
  4. When you are ready to begin frying, pour just under 3/4 inch oil in a large cast-iron skillet, and bring the oil to 375 degrees over medium heat. If you don’t have a thermometer, try this test: drop a cube of white crust less bread into the oil; it should turn golden brown within 1 minute. While the oil is heating, use tongs to dredge the chicken pieces. Make sure they are thoroughly coated, shaking off the excess flour for a nice, even, lump-free crust. Set the dredged pieces on a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack as you work.
  5. Heat oven to 200 degrees.
  6. Before beginning, set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet and set several layers of paper towels on top of the rack for draining the chicken. Working in batches, arrange the chicken pieces skin side down in the pan in a single layer, beginning with the dark meat. Remember to add enough pieces to fill the pan, without touching. After placing the chicken in the pan, the temperature of the oil will drop dramatically. Make sure to adjust the heat as needed to maintain a steady temperature of between 330 and 340 degrees during frying as this will help the parts cook evenly, inside and out.
  7. Cover the skillet during frying to help the chicken cook through evenly and reduce spattering, peeking inside to check on the progress. Using a probe-style thermometer allows you to monitor the temperature of the oil without lifting the lid. Once the first side is crisp and golden, after 4 to 5 minutes, carefully turn the pieces. Be sure not to turn them too soon or the crust will tear; they should release easily from the pan. Then cover the pan again and continue frying until the other side is crisp and the meat is cooked through (it should register 160 for breasts, 165 for thighs on an instant-read thermometer). This should take another 4 to 5 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces. Check each piece in the batch and remove it as soon as it is ready. Wings, drumsticks, and thinner breast pieces cook faster than the thighs and thicker breast pieces, so remove these first. Transfer to rack on prepared baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Return the oil to 375 before adding the next batch. Serves 4.

EPA Will Require Weed-resistance Restrictions on Glyphosate Herbicide
By Carey Gillam (3/31/15) @ www.reuters.com
U.S. regulators will put new restrictions on the world’s most widely used herbicide to help address the rapid expansion of weeds resistant to the chemical.
The Environmental Protection Agency confirmed it will require a weed resistance management plan for glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s immensely popular Roundup weed-killer.
The agency has scheduled a conference call for next week with a committee of the Weed Science Society of America to discuss what the final plan for glyphosate should entail, said Larry Steckel, a Tennessee scientist who chairs the committee.
An EPA spokeswoman declined to give specifics of the plan, but told Reuters that its requirements will be similar to those placed on a new herbicide product developed by Dow AgroSciences, a unit of Dow Chemical Co..
Requirements for the Dow herbicide include weed monitoring, farmer education and remediation plans. The company is required to provide extensive reporting to the EPA about instances of weed resistance and to let “relevant stakeholders” know about the difficulties of controlling them via a company-established website.
Monsanto spokeswoman Charla Lord would not discuss whether the company was negotiating a plan with regulators, but said Monsanto “will continue to work with the EPA to ensure proper product stewardship as we move through the regulatory process.”
At least 14 weed species and biotypes in the United States have developed glyphosate resistance, affecting more than 60 million acres of U.S. farmland, according to data gathered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. weed scientists. The herbicide-resistant weeds hinder crop production and make farming more difficult and expensive.
The EPA’s action comes in the wake of a finding by the World Health Organization’s cancer research unit this month that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans,” a conclusion the working group said was based on a review of years of scientific research. Testing has found residues of the herbicide in water, food, urine and breast milk.
The EPA’s weed management plan will not address human health concerns, but the agency is also analyzing health data as part of a required reevaluation of the herbicide.
The EPA’s preliminary risk assessment of glyphosate is expected to be released for public comment later this year, and the agency will publish its proposed weed management plan for public comment at the same time.
Regulators in the United States and many other countries have long considered glyphosate among the safest herbicides in use. A review of the chemical by the German government for the European Union last year concluded that no link to cancer has been established.
And Monsanto Co., which held the patent on glyphosate until 2000 and last year sold more than $5 billion of Roundup herbicide, says the weed-killing agent has been proven safe repeatedly. Last week, the company blamed “agenda-driven groups” for fueling false reports about glyphosate.
But the chemical’s critics, including environmentalists, scientists and opponents of genetically modified foods, hope the WHO finding will help convince the EPA that tighter controls on the herbicide are needed, not just to prevent the growth of herbicide-resistant weeds, but also to protect human health.
On March 26, a coalition of public interest groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Center for Food Safety sent a letter to EPA administrator Gina McCarthy urging the agency to “weigh heavily” WHO’s finding as it prepares its risk assessment.
Huge Ramifications
How the EPA chooses to handle glyphosate is a closely watched issue for the agricultural industry.
Globally, the herbicide is a key ingredient in more than 700 products and is used to control weeds in gardens, along roadsides and on millions of acres of farmland.
Steckel said that his committee will express some concerns in its call with the EPA next week. Specifically, he said, the group sees shortcomings in the management plant the agency has for Dow AgroSciences and would like a glyphosate plan that allows for state-specific provisions.
“We are here on the ground, and we think we could tailor things to have more impact than just one overarching plan from the federal government…,” said Steckel, a row crop weed specialist at the University of Tennessee. “We have to preserve these herbicides. There really are no new ones.”
At least 283.5 million pounds of glyphosate were used in U.S. agriculture in 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, up from 110 million pounds in 2002, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. (reut.rs/1NcACgm) According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 90 percent of the soybeans and cotton grown in the United States last year, and 89 percent of the corn, was genetically modified to withstand herbicide applications.
SWEET POTATO (Ipomoea batatas)
For the very first time, Klein’s is planning on carrying sweet potato slips this spring season. Due to arrive later in May and traditionally a southern crop, sweet potatoes are becoming increasingly popular in Wisconsin gardens and have become a staple in local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) vegetable shares.
Grow Sweet Potatoes — Even in the North
by Ken Allan, author of Sweet Potatoes for the Home Garden for Mother Earth News @ motherearthnews.com
An ideal staple crop for those seeking to meet most of their food needs with homegrown produce would be nutrient-dense, offer high yields, and have excellent flavor and storage qualities. A crop that fits this bill perfectly? The sweet potato.
Sweet potatoes are more nutritious and store better than any other root crop — they’re easy for home gardeners to keep for a full year. And while many people think of them as a Southern crop, you can in fact easily grow sweet potatoes in northern climates.
Five Facts for Fabulous Sweet Potatoes

  1. Sweet potatoes are alive and they breathe. Never store them in a sealed plastic bag — the gases from their respiration will build up and the potatoes will eventually poison themselves. Paper bags or boxes are good for storage, or throw plastic tarps loosely over your crates of sweet potatoes. In fact, as long as you take care with the curing process (see fact No. 4) and store them at about 60 degrees Fahrenheit, you don’t need to cover sweet potatoes at all during storage (unless rodents could access them).


  1. Do not toss or drop sweet potatoes into storage containers. When you dig them, they’ll be firm and appear indestructible — they’re not! A drop that is sufficient to crack an egg is sufficient to produce a tiny bruise on a sweet potato. After a few months in storage, that tiny bruise can turn into a large, rotten spot, which often ruins the entire potato.


  1. Sweet potatoes are tropical plants and the storage roots (tubers) start to “shiver” at 50 degrees. Your refrigerator is probably set to a few degrees above freezing, which is a good temperature for carrots, apples and most juices, but not so good for tomatoes, bananas and especially sweet potatoes. At the cool temperature of your refrigerator (or in a supermarket cold room, where fresh fruit and vegetables, including sweet potatoes, are stored), a sweet potato will “shiver,” and in less than a day, the once living, breathing, healthy sweet potato will turn into a corpse. It will remain a good-looking corpse for a few days, but will then develop pockmarks and a hard core. The official name for this cause of death is “chilling injury,” and it’s thought to be the result of a change in metabolism that causes cell walls to no longer have proper control of what comes in and goes out.


  1. Sweet potatoes need to be cured, starting on harvest day. To cure them, keep your sweet potatoes at 85 to 90 degrees for five days. During this time, the sweet potato will grow a second skin, which is an incredibly effective seal. After curing, you can leave a sweet potato on the kitchen counter for several months without noticeable moisture loss. Without curing, the sweet potato will only last a month or two in storage. Curing also initiates flavor development.

Providing proper curing conditions for five days may require some planning in advance. Think creatively about available spaces — a large closet with a 100-watt light bulb, a bathroom with an independent thermostat, or even a spare bedroom with a small electric heater. Keep your curing space at 80 to 90 percent humidity for best results.

  1. A newly dug sweet potato is virtually tasteless — it’s definitely not a treat! A sweet potato doesn’t reach its flavor potential until it has been cured and then stored for a few months. Eat sweet potatoes when they’re new if you must, but don’t judge them until after New Year’s Day.

Hot Potatoes!
Sweet potato plants are, in most respects, undemanding. They prefer light, sandy soil, but will tolerate heavy clay. They respond well to rich soil, but can do surprisingly well in soil of low fertility. Sweet potatoes do best in sunny locations with regular rain or irrigation, but will mark time during a period of drought and then carry on when the rain returns. Excessive rain and flooding will slow them down, but won’t necessarily harm them.
Growing temperature is the only environmental factor that can’t be ignored — sweet potatoes like it hot! There are several critical temperatures for sweet potatoes, and I keep these temperatures straight by likening them to an old-fashioned report card. Because of chilling injury, a soil temperature below 50 degrees (50 percent) is a failure, and 50 to 55 degrees is dangerously close to the failure mark. Sixty percent, give or take a few percentage points, is an acceptable mark for a student not planning for higher education — and at about 60 degrees, the metabolism of the sweet potato slows to near zero, meaning it won’t grow. Temperatures above 70 degrees, as with grades, are conditions that allow growth: slow at 70 degrees, good at 80 degrees, very good at 90 degrees and excellent at 100 degrees.
Southern growers can wait until the soil warms up and still have time to grow a good crop of sweet potatoes. In Canada and the northern United States, June is the month with the longest, sunniest days, and although it’s an excellent growing month for crops that do well in 60-degree soil, it’s not so good for sweet potatoes — unless you get proactive.
Warm ’Em Up
In order to grow sweet potatoes in the North (Zones 3 to 5), you can’t wait until July — you must make full use of June by warming up the soil.
The simplest and most effective way to warm the soil is to cover it with a sheet of clear plastic. If you were thinking black plastic when I said soil warming, you may have skipped right over the word “clear.” Yes, clear plastic. About 90 percent of the energy from the sun goes through clear plastic, where it’s then absorbed by the soil and trapped there by the greenhouse effect. On the other hand, when opaque plastic gets hot, only a fraction of the heat is transmitted to the soil, and the rest just radiates back into the air above.
Look for clear builder’s plastic (used as a vapor barrier) that’s about 8 1/2 feet wide. Cutting it down the middle will make two sheets, each just more than 4 feet wide. This is an ideal width for slightly raised, 2-foot-wide beds. Lay the plastic on the bed so that 1 foot remains on each side, then pull the plastic snug and bury the 1-foot edges down the length of the bed. It’s important that the plastic, like the bottom sheet on a bed, be pulled taut and tucked in. Placing heavy objects on the edge of the plastic here and there down the length of the row is good for a start, but it won’t be sufficient. If you only loosely apply the plastic, the moisture under it will turn into hot vapor that will then flow out from under the plastic, causing the soil to lose heat and moisture.
If you’re using clear plastic to grow sweet potatoes in a northern climate, you’ll have a couple extra steps when it’s time to plant your slips: Cut an 8-inch slit in the plastic, and press the soil down to make a shallow, bowl-shaped depression (1 foot in diameter) centered on the slit. Plant the slip through the slit, and water well. Place sand or fine gravel around the plant to cover the slit and to weigh the plastic down into the depression in the bed. This will seal the slit, and the depression will ensure that, when it rains, water will run into the bed at the base of each plant.
Some gardeners cite weeds as a reason for not using clear plastic mulch. If weeds survive under your clear plastic, though, it’s a sign you did something wrong. Plastic fit snugly on the bed with no vents to allow hot air to escape will create an environment too hot and too confined for weeds.
Builder’s plastic comes in heavy, medium and light grades. Light is the best for warming up soil because it lies tighter on the bed. Some gardeners are uneasy about using plastic in the garden because it’s manufactured from a nonrenewable resource. However, in my opinion, capturing the heat of the sun under clear plastic is one of the most worthwhile uses we can make of that resource.
Harvest Time
While for most growers the main event comes in fall, you can cut and enjoy spicy, tender sweet potato greens during summer. My neighbor from China likes to grow sweet potatoes mainly for their vine tips. Just be aware that excessive harvesting of the greens will delay tuber growth and decrease yields.
When fall arrives, your sweet potatoes will not “mature” — they will just slow down and eventually stop growing when the soil temperature drops below 55 degrees or the vines get hit by frost. In either case, it’s time to dig your sweet potatoes!
A broadfork is a great tool for digging potatoes. After digging, gently wash your tubers on the same day. I wash using just the spray from a hose, but you can also use a pail of water, wiping lightly with a rag or soft brush. Washing immediately after you harvest has the benefit of leaving garden soil in the garden, where it belongs (soil has sand in it, which will eventually plug your drains). Also, clean sweet potatoes are nicer to handle and easier to inspect. Next, cure them, store them, and wait a month or more for them to turn into the best sweet potatoes you’ve ever tasted.
Sweet Potato Varieties
Over the years, I’ve grown about 40 sweet potato varieties. I’ve found significant differences in color, texture, growth habits, yield and time to harvest. But for me, the most important consideration is flavor, and I’ve found no variety that is far superior to any other. Flavor depends much more on curing, storage and method of cooking than on the variety you grow.
‘Beauregard,’ the main commercial variety (and the one Klein’s will be carrying), is a good producer, has good flavor, stores well, has compact vines, and its tubers tend to grow close to the stem.
If you want to try something different, consider growing ‘Toka Toka Gold,’ a yellow-fleshed variety that’s drier, smoother, denser and milder than most. It comes from New Zealand, where it’s sometimes referred to as ‘Golden Kumara.’
‘Georgia Jet’ is the most reliable variety for northern climates. Unfortunately, two quite different varieties are using that name. I think of them as the Real ‘Georgia Jet’ and the Impostor. The Real ‘Georgia Jet’ is the main commercial variety in Israel and the most popular variety among gardeners in Canada. The Impostor is widely grown in the United States, and while its flavor is excellent, the variety has a reputation for poor yields and cracking.
Simple Sweet Potato Slips
Unlike the standard potato, which is grown from tubers, sweet potato crops are started from “slips.” To create a slip, a sweet potato tuber is planted indoors or in a greenhouse — or stood up in a glass of water — to produce sprouts. The resulting sprouts are what you’ll plant outdoors, not the tuber. A slip can be a sprout directly from the sweet potato (see photo), or it can be a vine cutting from an already established sweet potato plant. You can order slips from mail-order suppliers, buy them at a garden center or grow your own.
To grow your own sweet potato slips from tubers, first place the tubers in water in early spring. When the sprouts form, break them off and plant them directly in the garden. Roots will form quickly. If you’d like to use a vine cutting, cut any sections from a long vine into 1-foot lengths, stand them up in a glass of water for two days to initiate rooting, and then plant them 1 to 2 feet apart with half their length below ground, half above. Soak your slips with warm water immediately after planting them.
For neighborhood events or garden tours that you would like posted in our monthly newsletter, please contact Rick at (608) 244-5661 or rick@kleinsfloral.com or Sue at sue@kleinsfloral.com. Please include all details, i.e. dates, locations, prices, brief description, etc. Events must be garden related and must take place in the Madison vicinity and we must receive your information by the first of the month in which the event takes place for it to appear in that month’s newsletter. This is a great opportunity for free advertising.
Olbrich Garden’s Bulk Leaf Mulch Sale
May 1, May 15 & May 22, 1:00-5:00
May 2, May 16 & May 23, 9:00-1:00
Buy the same leaf mulch used in Olbrich’s gardens for your home garden. Leaf mulch cuts down on watering and weeding, recycles local leaves, and is credited for Olbrich’s healthy looking gardens. $40 for a tractor scoop (8-10 bags) and covers 350 sq. ft. at 2-3”. Bagged mulch (@ $6.50/bag) is now available daily while supplies last. Pay for bags at the gift shop and drive around back. Bagged sales are load-your-own.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
608/246-4550 or www.olbrich.org for details.
Rotary Garden’s Compost Sale
Saturdays in April and May, 8:00-noon
Area garden enthusiasts, once again, will have an opportunity to purchase organic compost at Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville.
The organic blended mushroom compost is sold in 40 lb. (1.5 cu. ft.) bags for $6 per bag. Rotary Botanical Gardens’ Friends Members will receive an additional 10% discount at the sale.
If you would like more information or have questions, please call Mark Dwyer at 608-754-1779 or email: mark.dwyer@rotarybotanicalgardens.org.
Rotary Botanical Gardens
1455 Palmer Dr., Janesville, WI
608/752-3885 or www.rotarygardens.org
Dahlia Tuber Sale
Sunday, May 3, 12:00-2:00
Dahlias are late summer bloomers popular for their extravagant blooms, diverse forms, and bright colors. They’re subtropical annuals grown each year from tubers dug up in the fall and overwintered in a cool, dry environment. The sale is sponsored by the Badger State Dahlia Society. For more information call 608-577-1924.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
608/246-4550 or www.olbrich.org for details.
Flowering Crabapples and Lilacs
Wednesday, May 6, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
In the Longenecker Gardens
In this tour, Eileen Nelson, UW Dept. of Horticulture, will concentrate on flowering crabapples and present highlights in the Gardens’ large lilac collection.
University of WI Arboretum
1207 Seminole Hwy.
Madison, WI 53711
608/263-7888 or uwarboretum.org/events
West Side Garden Club Plant Sale
Friday, May 8, 8:00-6:00
Saturday, May 9, 8:00-4:00
3918 Nakoma Rd., Madison (near Thoreau School and the intersection of Seminole & Nakoma Roads)
The West Side Garden Club is celebrating 93 years in 2015 and we’ve been holding a plant sale for nobody knows for sure how many years……
The sale will feature choice perennials, and specialty annuals and herbs. The majority of the plants are member grown.
Plant Sale proceeds will support of our civic projects: Allen Centennial Gardens Scholarship, William Longenecker Memorial Scholarship, Clean Lakes Alliance, South Madison Police Station Grounds, Community Groundworks at Troy Gardens, Friends of the School Forest, Lakeshore Nature Preserve, Audobon Society, Olbrich Botanical Garden, Aldo Leopold Center, Natural Heritage Land Trust and Wisconsin Nature Conservancy.
The garden club which was founded 1922 has a long history of “stimulating interest in gardening and development of home grounds, to promote civic beautification, and to aid in the protection of forests, wild flowers, and birds.”
Olbrich’s Plant Sale with the Pros
Friday, May 8, 11:00-5:00
Saturday, May 9, 9:00-3:00
Enjoy one-stop shopping convenience during Olbrich’s Plant Sale with the Pros at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Buy the same unique plants used in Olbrich’s gardens. Olbrich’s Plant Sale with the Pros will feature everything from annuals and perennials to ornamental grasses and shrubs.
The plant sale will feature the newest cultivars on the market including tropical plants that will fire up your garden, small-scale garden conifers, herbs, and butterfly plants along with hundreds of annuals and perennials. Shoppers will find rare shrubs and trees, including hardy shrub roses that thrive in the challenging Wisconsin climate.

Expert Advice
Olbrich horticulturists and master gardeners will be on hand to answer any question and give expert advice. Olbrich’s Schumacher Library will also be at the sale with reference books and garden information. Be inspired by plant combinations and displays developed by Olbrich’s professional staff.
Take advantage of free container design and potting services at the Plant Pro Potting Bench. Get help selecting the best plants for a stunning container garden or hanging basket…then let a professional plant them for you! Pots are available for purchase at the sale or bring your own containers!
Proceeds from the plant sale benefit Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Shop early since quantities are limited. Shoppers are encouraged to bring cartons, wagons, or boxes for carrying plants.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
608/246-4550 or www.olbrich.org for details.
Rotary Garden’s Spring Plant Sale
Friday, May 8, 9:00-4:00 (RBG Friends Members only)
Saturday, May 9, 9:00-4:00
Sunday, May, 10, 9:00-4:00
Rotary Gardens Horticulture Center, 825 Sharon Rd., Janesville, WI
Featuring vegetable plants including heirloom tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, basil, miscellaneous herbs and beans. Thousands of daylily divisions from the gardens will also be available for purchase as will bagged mushroom compost.
Rotary Botanical Gardens
1455 Palmer Drive
Janesville, WI,
608/752-3885 or www.rotarygardens.org
Native Plant Sale
Saturday, May 9, 9:00-2:00
U.W.-Madison Arboretum Visitor Center
More than 100 species of quality prairie plants, woodland plants, shrubs, vines and trees are available for purchase under one tent. Experts will be on hand to answer questions. Proceeds support Arboretum projects.
University of WI Arboretum
1207 Seminole Hwy.
Madison, WI 53711
608/263-7888 or uwarboretum.org/events
Sundowners/Crosstown Violet Club Sale
Saturday, May 9, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
This annual sale includes African violets, starter plants, blooming plants, leaves, gesneriads of all kinds, and potting soil and pots. Sponsored by the Sundowners and Crosstown African Violet clubs. For more information call 608/298-7324
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
608/246-4550 or www.olbrich.org for details.
Azaleas and Rhododendrons
Wednesday, May 13, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
In the Longenecker Gardens
Dr. Deb McCown, a specialist in woody ornamentals, will review the Gardens’ collection of azaleas and rhododendrons and discuss the care of these plants in the Madison area.
University of WI Arboretum
1207 Seminole Hwy.
Madison, WI 53711
608/263-7888 or uwarboretum.org/events
Badger Bonsai Annual Show
Saturday, May 16, 9:00-4:30
Sunday, May 18, 10:00-4:00
Marvel at these growing miniature landscapes. Sponsored by the Badger Bonsai Society. For more information call 262/438-8469.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
608/246-4550 or www.olbrich.org for details.
Dane County UW-Extension’s
Teaching Garden Plant Sale
Sunday, May 17, 11:00-3:00
Dane County UW-Extension Office
5201 Fen Oak Ct, Madison (just off Agriculture Dr. between Pflaum & Femrite)
Come celebrate the beginning of a new gardening season with us! Find plants that Master Gardeners have started from seed or carefully dug from their gardens. We offer hundreds of perennials for shade or sun, vegetable & herb starts, native plants, garden art and more! Master Gardeners will be available to answer your gardening questions and provide information on plant care. Proceeds will go to supporting the Teaching Gardens and help purchase seeds & supplies for gardening programs in the community. Cash or check only.
Madison Area Master Gardeners Association
PO Box 259318
Madison, WI, 53725
608/224-3721 or at www.mamgawi.org.
Small Ornamental Trees
Wednesday, May 27, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
In the Longenecker Gardens
This tour, led by Eileen Nelson, UW Dept. of Horticulture, will highlight some of the Arboretum’s interesting and unusual ornamental small trees.
University of WI Arboretum
1207 Seminole Hwy.
Madison, WI 53711
608/263-7888 or uwarboretum.org/events
Rotary Garden’s Evening Garden Seminars:
Ornamental Edibles
Thursday, May 28, 6:30-8:00 pm
Conducted by Mark Dwyer, RBG Director of Horticulture
While growing our own food is not a novel concept, the approach of incorporating “ornamental edibles” throughout our landscapes is an innovative and beautiful approach to maximizing the use of our space while providing color and function. Ornamental edibles are plants that provide significant beauty but are also dual-purpose in that they provide food, flavoring or other attributes that make them “kitchen-worthy.” Learn how to incorporate a wide range of ornamental edibles into your garden borders, containers, and any open nook and cranny.
Each session will offer an in-depth look at a variety of horticulture and Rotary Botanical Gardens related subjects, including gardening and landscaping. This adult education series helps to further the Rotary Botanical Gardens’ mission of Enriching lives through natural beauty, education and the arts. Admission is $10 ($7 for RBG Friends members). No registration is required.
Rotary Botanical Gardens
1455 Palmer Dr., Janesville, WI
608/752-3885 or www.rotarygardens.org
Iris Show
Sunday, May 31, 12:00-5:00
Sponsored by the Madison Iris Society
For details call 608/271-3607
Cut irises in a rainbow of colors will be on display in the Evjue Commons.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
608/246-4550 or www.olbrich.org for details.
Windsor Area Garden Club Plant Sale
Saturday, June 6, 9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Near the historical Lyster House in DeForest
As always we will have a wide variety of tried and true perennial plant divisions from our own gardens. We will also have a few annuals, vegetable, and misc. plants available. Come visit with our garden club members and receive help with general gardening questions in a welcoming environment. Master gardeners will also be available for more specific questions you may have. 100% of our profits will be donated to local charities.
Visit their websites @ www.facebook.com/windsorareagardenclub or www.windsorareagardenclub.org. for contact info.
Dane County Farmer’s Market
Saturdays, April 18 thru November 7, 6:00-2:00
On the Capitol Square
Wednesdays, April 22 thru November 4, 8:30-2:00
In the 200 block of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
For details visit www.dcfm.org
Northside Farmers Market
Sundays, May 3 through October 18, 8:30-12:30
In the Northside TownCenter at the intersection of N. Sherman Ave. and Northport Dr. across from Warner Park.
The Northside Farmers Market is a nonprofit community enterprise. It is one of the newest and fastest growing farmers’ markets in Dane County. In keeping with the innovative spirit of Madison’s Northside, we are surpassing what defines the traditional farmers’ market. Our fundamental principles include:
–Providing an abundant selection of high quality, locally grown foods.
The market accepts Quest, WIC and Senior FMNP vouchers.
–Supporting our local agricultural entrepreneurs who are increasingly important today in ensuring that we have the best and safest food possible.
–Educating the community about traditional foods and the history of local agriculture in an attempt to preserve (and expand upon) our rich heritage.
–Promoting nutrition and the market by hosting dinners for neighborhood groups and seniors.
Parking is always FREE!
For details visit www.northsidefarmersmarket.org
MAY IN THE GARDENA checklist of things to do this month.
___By May 1, cool weather items like pansies, cole crops, onion sets, etc. should
already be planted.
___Sow successive crops of radishes and greens every 2 weeks.
___Mow your lawn frequently and at a high setting to control lawn weeds.
___Reseed bare spots in the lawn as needed.
___Begin hardening off your seedlings and overwintered plants. Move inside or cover on cold nights.
___Prep beds as soon as the soil is workable and not too wet.
___Till compost into beds.
___Perennials, shrubs and trees can now all be planted safely.
___Divide and propagate most perennials as desired (except peonies & iris)
___Plant strawberries and asparagus early in the month.
___Plant your leftover Easter Lily into the garden. They’ll bloom each July in the garden.
___Be prepared to move plants indoors if a sudden cold spell (or snow) hits.
___After May 10, begin setting out all plants, but KEEP AN EYE ON THE WEATHER!
___Sow beans and corn after the last scheduled frost date.
___After May 20, begin planting warm weather items: tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, coleus, impatiens etc.
___Mulch beds as needed to cut down on weeds and watering.
___Begin a weeding as needed. The smaller the weed, the easier to remove.
___Prune spring blooming as desired AFTER they are done flowering.
___Wait until after the foliage has yellowed to cut back daffodils, tulips, etc.
___Begin pinching tall perennials like asters, goldenrod, phlox, etc. for shorter and bushier plants.
Some of our very favorite seed and plant sources include:
For seeds:
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds @ www.rareseeds.com or 417/924-8887
Burpee @ www.burpee.com or 800/888-1447
Harris Seeds @ www.harrisseeds.com or 800/514-4441
Johnny’s Select Seeds @ www.johnnyseeds.com or 207/861-3901
Jung’s Seeds @ www.jungseed.com or 800/247-5864
Park’s Seeds @ www.parkseed.com or 800/845-3369
Pinetree @ www.superseeds.com or 207/926-3400
Seeds of Change @ www.seedsofchange.com or 888/762-7333
Seed Savers @ www.seedsavers.org or 563/382-5990
Select Seeds @ www.selectseeds.com or 800/684-0395
Territorial Seeds @ www.territorialseed.com or 888/657-3131
Thompson & Morgan @ www.thompson-morgan.com or 800/274-7333
For bulbs:
Brent & Becky’s Bulbs @ www.brentandbeckysbulbs.com or 877/661-2852
Colorblends @ www.colorblends.com or 888/847-8637
John Scheeper’s @ www.johnscheepers.com or 860/567-0838
McClure & Zimmerman @ www.mzbulb.com or 800/883-6998
For plants:
High Country Gardens @ www.highcountrygardens.com or 800/925-9387
Logee’s Greenhouses @ www.logees.com or 888/330-8038
Plant Delights Nursery @ www.plantdelights.com or 912/772-4794
Roots and Rhizomes @ www.rootsrhizomes.com or 800/374-5035
Wayside Gardens @ www.waysidegardens.com or 800/213-0379
White Flower Farm @ www.whiteflowerfarm.com or 800/503-9624
Note: To receive every possible seed, plant or garden supply catalog imaginable, check out Cyndi’s Catalog of Garden Catalogs @ www.gardenlist.com. Most catalogs are free and make for great winter reading!
BEHIND THE SCENES AT KLEIN’SThis is a sneak peek of what is going on each month behind the scenes in our greenhouses. Many people are unaware that our facility operates year round or that we have 10 more greenhouses on the property in addition to the 6 open for retail. At any given moment we already have a jump on the upcoming season–be it poinsettias in July, geraniums in December or fall mums in May.
—Transplanting continues!! Early in the month we finish transplanting the seedlings for spring sales. But during mid-month we begin transplanting the seedlings for our summer “Jumbo-Pack” program. Customers continue to purchase bedding annuals through the summer months. Sometimes they’re replacing plants that have succumbed to summer heat or heavy rains. Or maybe some quick color is needed for selling a house or having an outdoor party. Whatever the case, we can fill their needs.
—The spring onslaught is in full swing. The back greenhouses are filled floor to ceiling with plants awaiting purchase. Our outdoor space is a sea of color. Flats of plants waiting for sale fill most nooks and crannies of our property.
—Watering is a nonstop endeavor. On hot, windy days, we no sooner finish the first round, when we have to start all over again. Some plants in our retail areas may need watering 3 or 4 times in a single day! You wouldn’t do this at home, but customers don’t like to see wilted plants. It’s not harmful for us to let them wilt a bit, but it makes for bad presentation.
—Restocking is also constant. Cart loads of product are moved nearly continuously from our back greenhouses to the front showrooms.
—Believe it or not, but our fall mums arrive! The small plants are put into small pots now and then stepped into larger tubs later in the summer. They won’t be available for sale until mid-August.
PRODUCT SPOTLIGHTEach month we spotlight some product that we already carry or one that we’ve taken note of and plan to carry in the near future. Likewise, if you would like to see Klein’s to carry a product that we don’t currently, please let us know. Our goal is to be responsive to the marketplace and to our loyal clientele. If a product fits into our profile, we will make every effort to get it into our store. In addition, we may be able to special order an item for you, whether plant or hard good, given enough time.
“A New Approach to Container Gardening”
The patented Smart Pot is for the gardener who wants a container that will grow the best possible plant. It is a new and unique advancement in container technology that is better than any other method of container gardening.
The patented Smart Pot is a soft-sided, fabric container that has the rigidity to hold its shape and can even support large trees. In fact, the Smart Pot was originally developed for and has been used by commercial tree growers for over twenty years.
The Smart Pot is an aeration container. It has a unique ability to air-prune and enhance a plant’s root structure. A highly branched, fibrous root structure is the key to growing a better plant – with more flowers and fruits, and more resistance to insects and diseases.
Air Pruning in Smart Pots
As roots grow in containers they eventually reach the container walls. In hard-sided containers, these roots, upon reaching the walls, start circling and continue to circle seeking a friendlier environment. Upon examination, these root systems exhibit a few strong roots growing in circles with very little branching, often are bound or girdled upon themselves and, depending on the type of plant, can produce a strong tap root growing through the containers bottom. These characteristics can hinder the plant’s rate of growth and in some cases its chances of survival when transplanted.
Smart Pots are manufactured out of a custom, non-woven, polypropylene material. Roots grown in a Smart Pot come in contact with the fuzzy, fabric inner wall of the bag and penetrate or grow into the fabric. The bag’s tough fabric prevents the root’s continued longitudinal growth, in effect pruning it, causing the root to develop masses of lateral fibrous roots. Upon comparison, root systems that developed in a Smart Pot have a much greater mass or volume then those found in hard-sided containers. Plants grown in Smart Pots have root balls that contain many more roots then found in a hard-sided container of similar size .
The fibrous root systems produced in Smart Pots are more efficient and enable plants to maximize water and nutrient uptake in the limited surrounding soil mass.
Controlling Plant Temperature using Smart Pots Containers
“The Smart Pot Adjusts Soil Temperature For Optimum Growth”
The Smart Pot’s black fabric quickly warms up early season soil enabling plants to get off to a quicker start. Yet the same fabric, due to its porous nature, allows heat to escape from the container through evaporative cooling during the summer’s hottest days. Even in northern climates, root systems of container grown plants can be damaged from too much heat. University studies have also shown a direct relationship between soil temperatures and slow-release fertilizer activity. Cooler containers do not allow for premature fertilizer release.
Growing Vegetables in Containers
Have you ever tasted fresh dug potatoes? You don’t know what you’re missing! The sweet succulent flavor is unparalleled. Compared to potatoes shipped in and stored until you buy them at the local grocery, well, there is no comparison. You say it’s too hard growing your own? You don’t have a garden plot big enough? We have the answer that will have your family praising your talent at every meal.
There are a thousand different varieties of vegetables. Your local store sells only a few. Try growing some exotic potato varieties, or other vegetables. The Smart Pot Fabric Containers make the difference. Plastic containers get too hot for optimum vegetable growth. A recent study at the University of New Hampshire showed that on sunny, 80-degree days in New Hampshire, temperatures inside plastic containers can be up to 125 degrees. Potatoes and other vegetables do not grow when container temperatures reach the cooking range. The fabric Smart Pot containers, on the other hand, breathe. The fabric containers release heat, so your potatoes and vegetables continue growing all season long. Heat release makes growing vegetables in containers possible.
For more information, visit their website @ smartpots.publishpath.com