‘THE SAGE’-Klein’s Online Newsletter—MARCH 2018
Klein’s Floral & Greenhouses

THIS MONTH’S HIGHLIGHTS:
Rebuilding Nears Completion and YES…WE ARE OPEN FOR BUSINESS!
Klein’s Is Voted Among Madison’s Best by Madison Magazine!
Our ‘Mad Gardener’ Is Ready for Your Questions
Forcing Branches for Indoor Color
Biological Mosquito Control Also Kills Fungus Gnats
Klein’s Favorite Seed, Bulb & Plant Sources
You Asked the Mad Gardener About Bringing Dormant Plants Back to Life
Plant of the Month: Hops (2018 Herb of the Year)
Klein’s Shares How to Grow and Make Perfect Popcorn
Product Spotlight: CowPots™ “The Pots You Plant”
Notes from Rick’s Garden Journal—From February 2018
—2018 Perennial of the Year: Allium ‘Millenium’
—Fungicides and Honeybee Demise?
—Ramping up for Spring
March in the Garden: A Planner
Gardening Events Around Town
Review Klein’s @: Yelp, Google Reviews or Facebook Reviews
Join Us on Twitter
Follow Us on Facebook
Delivery Information
Related Resources and Websites
Plants Harmful to Kids and Pets

 

OUR NEW BUILDINGS ARE NEARLY COMPLETE AS MOVE IN IS SET TO BEGIN DURING MARCH!

 

In the meantime, remember we are open in our temporary retail space in our growing greenhouses at the back of the property with easy access from both East Washington Ave. and Stoughton Rd. and we intend to remain open throughout the move in and set up in the new facilities.

 

However, as we begin the move in process, keep in mind that inventory available for sale will be in flux and ever-changing in the upcoming weeks as new product arrives daily for the new facility. We’ve intentionally allowed our inventory of plants and hard-goods to diminish in order to make the moving process quicker and easier. We have a lot of work ahead of us setting up benches and shelving, arranging displays in the new space and merchandising product. That said, we’re expecting large shipments of pottery, garden decor and gifts to arrive in the weeks ahead. A semi-load of new houseplants will be arriving from Florida mid-month. And as we reach capacity in our growing greenhouses out back, spring annuals will begin filling the new showrooms in the weeks ahead.

 

Follow our continued progress on www.facebook.com/kleinsfloralandgreenhouses/ as the work and move in proceeds.

 

KLEIN’S IS AMONG THE BEST OF MADISON according to Madison Magazine readers. And for the first time ever Klein’s is among the Best of Madison in two categories!
Klein’s Floral & Greenhouses was voted #2 in the Lawn, Garden & Landscape category behind the Bruce Co. and voted #3 from among Madison’s many, many florists in the 2018 Madison Magazine reader poll announced in late February. Congratulations to Darcy and her team for this Klein’s first!

 

For the complete list of Best of Madison winners please visit www.channel3000.com/madison-magazine/city-life/best-of-madison-2018/701572159

 

THE MAD GARDENER
“Madison’s Firsthand Source for Expert Gardening Advice”

 

Ask any of your gardening questions by e-mailing them to us at [email protected]. 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.

 

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 [email protected] or Sue at [email protected]. Please include all details, i.e. dates, locations, prices, brief description, etc. Events must be garden related and must take place in the Madison area.

 

MARCH STORE HOURS:
Monday thru Friday : 8:00-6:00
Saturday: 9:00-5:00
Sunday: 10:00-4:00

 

Klein’s will be open Easter Sunday, April 1, 10:00-4:00

 

CALENDAR OF EVENTS:
March 1–Full Moon

 

March 8—International Women’s Day

 

March 11–Daylight Saving Time Begins.

 

March 17–St. Patrick’s Day. From shamrocks to green carnations–we have it!

 

March 18Chicago Flower & Garden Show with a stop at the beautiful Garfield Conservatory. Join us as we welcome Spring after a long and cold Winter. We will depart Klein’s on a tour bus and make a stop at The Garfield Park Conservatory and then be on our way to the show at Navy Pier. The cost is $55 and includes breakfast snacks/coffee, bus ride and ticket into the show. We look forward to the life-sized gardens, how-to workshops and instructional seminars that will give you a reason to enjoy the greener side of the Midwest. Call today, and book your seat on the bus for this fabulous trip! Payment is due at time of reservation.

 

Please note that at press time, only a few open spots remained so reserve your spot soon!

 

March 20–First Day of Spring!!!! It’s still too early to plant, but you’ll notice spring bulbs peeking through the cold soil, trees buds bulging and maybe even that first robin. Keep in mind that Madison’s average last frost date is May 10 so there’s usually still lots of cold and snow to come.

 

March 25—Palm Sunday

 

March 30–Good Friday

 

March 31—Passover Begins

 

March 31–Full Moon/Blue Moon

 

April 1–Easter Sunday, Klein’s will be open 10:00-4:00.

 

April 1–April Fool’s Day

 

‘THE FLOWER SHOPPE’:

 

The New Klein’s Floral & Greenhouses Is About to Open!
Without a doubt, 2018 is the most important and exciting year in Klein’s Floral & Greenhouses long history as we move into our modern and state-of-the art facility during March. Though in the exact same location, Klein’s new greenhouses and retail center will greatly improve our customers’ shopping experience.

 

With essentially the same footprint as the old, the new facility makes efficient use of all available space for increased plant and retail selection. Aisles will be wide and easy to shop–no more ramps or uneven surfaces to navigate and no more low pipes or gutters to duck under. Streamlined check out counters are located in a temperature controlled and air conditioned environment. Heat in the separate, energy efficient greenhouses is provided by an in-ground hot water system. Summer cooling is made easy with automatic shade curtains and roof and wall vents. Longtime customers will certainly appreciate the new comfort.

 

Among the biggest differences between the ‘old’ Klein’s and the new is the fact that our floral department will be front and center, rather than in the basement of the old farmhouse. The new floral department is located literally in the center of our retail area; with an open concept design, a large counter area and visible work space, and a large,
well-stocked, self-serve cooler for customers to grab floral arrangements and fresh loose flowers. Consultations for weddings, funerals and special events will take place in a beautiful, well-lit and air conditioned space set away from the hustle and bustle of the garden center.

 

Easy access in and out from both E. Washington Ave (Hwy. 151) and Stoughton Rd. (Hwy. 51) remains similar, but much improved. Available parking, however, has increased by threefold!

 

As we acclimate to our new space (a term used often when referring to plants), we at Klein’s realize 2018 is a year of many new experiences and new challenges. We expect both huge successes and a few mistakes as we learn and grow into our new digs. Knowing this will take some time, we ask for our customers’ patience and their vital feedback during this pivotal year.

 

A big Thank You in advance and hope to see you in the weeks, months and years ahead!

 

YOU ASKED THE MAD GARDENER . . .
I have geraniums and spikes in pots in the basement, when should I start watering them and how much to bring them back to life again?

 

If your geraniums and spikes are potted and in an area where they received some light (whether artificial or natural), they should have been watered once and a while throughout the winter; typically about once per month suffices in most basements (being careful that they dry out thoroughly between waterings). That said, years ago, geraniums specifically, were removed from their pots and allowed to be stored completely dormant throughout the winter. That was at a time, however, when basements were kept cooler than today and often had a root cellar. Today’s basements are usually too warm to store most roots dormant successfully.

 

But…I’m assuming your plants have made it trough the winter and are still green and viable. If so, usually about March 1 is a perfect time to begin bringing plants out of dormancy. By the time you move them outdoors there should be plenty of new growth and strong stems and roots. The move to the outdoors will usually set them back a bit again as they acclimate to the outdoors. But within a few weeks, and once the weather warms, they’ll rebound quickly.

 

Thanks for your question,
Klein’s Mad Gardener

 

DID YOU KNOW. . .
. . . that it’s easy to force dormant branches of your favorite spring shrubs into bloom in the dead of winter?

 

Forcing Branches for Winter Color
By B. Rosie Lerner and Michael N. Dana

 

Does the bleak, cold dullness of winter sometimes get you down? Then why not bring springtime into your home by forcing tree and shrub branches into bloom? Branches can be used as background for an arrangement or for an entire floral display, and you can prune your shrubs and trees as you selectively remove branches for forcing.

 

Early spring flowering trees and shrubs form their flower buds in the fall before the plants go dormant. After a period of at least 8 weeks of temperatures below 40°F (usually after January 1), branches can be cut and forced into bloom.

 

Most flowering shrubs are fairly easy to force, while trees are more difficult. The later in the winter you cut the branches, the shorter the forcing time becomes.

 

Gathering Branches
Select healthy, young branches with numerous flower buds, which are usually larger and more plump than foliar buds. When cutting fruit tree branches, choose those that have many spurs, the short compact side shoots which bear the flowers. Choose branches from crowded areas of the plant when possible, since you will be removing some of the plant’s natural spring display.

 

Follow good pruning principles when cutting the branches. Cut about 1/4 inch above a side bud or branch so that no stub is left behind. Cut the branches about 6-18 inches long; longer branches are easiest to use in floral arrangements.

 

Getting Branches to Bloom
After bringing the branches indoors, make a second cut on a slant just above the previous cut. If temperatures are below freezing when you cut the branches, immerse the branches full length in cool water for several hours or overnight. A large tub or basin may be helpful. This keeps the buds from bursting prematurely. If the weather is above freezing, there is no need for a soak.

 

Next, put the branches in a container which will hold them upright. Add warm water (110°F) no higher than 3 inches on the stems. A flower preservative will help prolong the vase life of the branches (see homemade recipes that follow). Allow to stand for 20-30 minutes, and then fill the container with additional preservative solution. Place the container in a cool (60-65°F), partially shaded location. Keep the water level at its original height.

 

Finally, when the buds show color, move the branches to a lighted room. But don’t put them in direct sunlight. At this time they can be removed from the storage container and arranged in the desired manner. Be sure the arrangement has an ample water supply at all times. To prolong its beauty, place the arrangement in a cool location, particularly during the evening. The following homemade preservative recipes are usable for most cut flowers.

 

Homemade Preservative #1
2 cups lemon-lime carbonated beverage
2 cups water
1 /2 teaspoon household chlorine bleach

 

Homemade Preservative #2
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon household chlorine bleach
mix with 1 quart water

 

Homemade Preservative #3
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon household chlorine bleach
mix with 1 quart water

 

Rooting
Rooting may occur on the branches of some species during the forcing period. If the rooted branch is desired for a new plant, remove the branch from the water when the roots are 1/4 to 3/8 inches long. All branches should be trimmed to a length of approximately 6-8 inches. Then pot individually, and keep moist until permanent roots are formed. When warm weather arrives, the new plant can be planted outdoors. However, protection may be needed for 1-2 years.

 

Best Branches for Forcing
The best blooming shrubs for forcing branches indoors include:
Bridal Wreath Spirea (Spirea prunifolia)
Cherry (Prunus sp.)
Crabapple (Malus sp.)
Flowering Almond (Prunus glandulosa)
Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles sp.)
Forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia)
Honeysuckle (Lonicera sp.)
Lilac (Syringa sp.)
Mockorange (Philadelphus coronarius)
Pussy Willow (Salix sp.)
Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
Redtwig Dogwood (Cornus sericea, C. stolonifera)
Rhododendron (Rhododendron sp.)

 

 

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.

 

CowPots™
‘The pots you plant!’

 

The best pots for starting your plants!
An exciting high-performing alternative to plastic and peat pots. CowPots™, manure-fiber based seed starter pots, are made by American farmers for plant lovers everywhere. These earth-friendly “pots you plant” are made with biodegradable, 100% renewable composted cow manure.

 

The CowPot manufacturing process removes all weeds, pathogens and odor. All that’s left is the natural fiber and goodness of manure: the perfectly plantable pot! Visit the CowPots website at www.cowpots.com for more detailed information.

 

Why are CowPots better?
–CowPots give seedlings a better beginning.
Tender, young roots easily penetrate the sides and bottoms of CowPots, growing freely… Healthier roots mean lifelong stronger plants.
–CowPots are great for seedlings!
CowPots stay intact for up to 12 weeks – plenty of time to give seedlings a good, strong start.
–Planted CowPots break down fast in the ground.
Composted manure naturally biodegrades quickly, so at 3 to 4 weeks, decomposition is well underway.
–CowPots give back to the planet!
Besides enriching your garden soil with the goodness of manure, CowPots are earth-friendly in even BIGGER ways…

 

By collecting and using manure to create a truly “green” product, Cowpots help farmers preserve clean, open spaces

 

Not only that, the ingenious dairy-farmers who invented CowPots also extract green-energy from the manufacturing process, using it to reduce their own farm’s carbon footprint.

 

The manure in Cowpots is a renewable resource, unlike peat which is mined from bog ecosystems or plastic which is derived from finite fossil sources.

 

NOTES FROM MY GARDEN JOURNAL–Tips and Observations from My Own Garden by Rick Halbach

 

ENTRY: FEBRUARY 3, 2018 (2018 Perennial of the Year: Allium ‘Millenium’)
I read today in one of my gardening magazines that Allium ‘Millenium’ has been selected as the 2018 Perennial of the Year. Though Klein’s has carried ‘Millenium’ for the last 3 or 4 spring seasons, it’s only now that this ‘perfect’ perennial is getting the attention it deserves. I’ve had a few clumps of this lovely allium near the front of my mixed perennial beds for a number of years now and can attest that all the accolades that this plant is receiving are true!

 

The Perennial Plant Association has awarded the title Perennial Plant of the Year® 2018 to Allium ‘Millenium’.
This herbaceous perennial, relative to the common onion, is a workhorse of the late summer garden. Bred by Mark McDonough, horticulture researcher from Massachusetts, ‘Millenium’ was introduced through Plant Delights Nursery in 2000 where it has proven itself year after year earning rave reviews. ‘Millenium’ is spelled with one “n”, as registered, but is occasionally incorrectly listed with two “n”s. This cultivar is the result of a multigenerational breeding program involving Allium nutans and A. lusitanicum (formerly Allium senescens ssp montanum), selected for late flowering with masses of rose-purple blooms, uniform habit with neat shiny green foliage that remains attractive season long, and for its drought resistant constitution.

 

The genus Allium contains more than 900 species in the northern hemisphere, but is perhaps best known for a dozen or so species of culinary vegetables and herbs: onion, garlic, leeks, shallots, scallions, and chives. The genus is also known for a few dozen ornamentals that grow from bulbs and sport tall stems with big globe-shaped blooms in spring. The vast majority of the genus is little known and absent from horticulture, yet possesses significant ornamental potential.

 

Allium ‘Millenium’ has numerous virtues to add to the landscape setting. Growing best in full sun, each plant typically produces an upright foliage clump of grass-like, glossy deep green leaves reaching 10-15” tall in spring. In midsummer, two to three flower scapes rise above the foliage with each scape producing two or three showy two-inch spherical umbels of rose-purple florets that last as long as four weeks. The flower umbels are completely round (spherical), not domed or hemispherical as they are in some Allium species. They dry to a light tan often holding a blush of their former rose-purple color. While other alliums can look scraggly in the heat of the summer, ‘Millenium’ does not let the heat bother it! Easily grown in zones 4-9 (possibly zone 3) makes it a great perennial in many areas of the country. In very hot summer climates it does appreciate afternoon shade.

 

No serious pest problems have been reported. Leaf spot may occur in overcrowded growing conditions. Deer and rabbits leave ‘Millenium’ alone. Alliums are sometimes avoided due to their reseeding behavior. Fortunately ‘Millenium’ exhibits 50% reduced seed production, raising less concern for self-sown seedlings.

 

Allium ‘Millenium’ has a fibrous root structure forming an ornamental herbaceous clump easily propagated by division. Once in the garden, ‘Millenium’ can easily be lifted and divided in either spring or fall. Cut back foliage in late fall.

 

Pollinators will flock to Allium ‘Millenium’! Butterflies and bees will thank you for adding ‘Millenium’ to your garden. Pair with shorter goldenrods (Solidago sp.) such as ‘Little Lemon’ that reaches one and a half feet tall. Goldenrods are late summer pollinator magnets that will offer beautiful contrasting golden yellow blooms. Another late summer re-blooming companion perennial to consider is Oenothera fremontii ‘Shimmer’ with its low-growing silvery foliage adorned daily with large yellow flowers that open late afternoon and fade to an apricot color by morning. Being tap-rooted this evening primrose is well behaved, not creeping through the garden, for which, rhizomatous spreading evening primroses are famously known. Allium ‘Millenium’ looks great backed with the silver foliage of Perovskia atriplicifolia, Russian sage, or the native Scutellaria incana, downy skullcap, with its numerous spikes of blue flowers above trim green foliage. Or simply plant ‘Millenium’ en masse and enjoy the rose-purple display!

 

This low-maintenance dependable perennial will not disappoint! Blooming at a time when most of our garden begins to decline in the tired excess of the season, ‘Millenium’ offers much needed color. It is truly an all-season plant that offers attractive shiny foliage spring through summer and caps off the season with its crown of perfectly round rose-purple flower umbels!

 

 

* * * * *

 

ENTRY: FEBRUARY 21, 2018 (Fungicides and Honeybee Demise?)
I found this fascinating little article while searching through a few of my favorite gardening websites this morning.

 

Chemical Fungicide Attracts Honey Bees
Recent studies have discovered a shift in the pollination preference of a honey bee. In the journal Scientific Reports, researchers state that they are now finding that honey bee foragers prefer to collect syrup laced with the fungicide chlorothalonil to regular sugar syrup found in nature.

 

Chlorothalonil and other fungicide chemicals can interfere with a honey bee’s ability to metabolize other compounds or chemicals, putting them in danger.

 

The trouble with these fungicides is that many people use them believing that they will only affect fungi. In reality, fungi are more closely related to animals than they are to plants, which means that fungicides are more harmful to the animals that interact or ingest them than they are to surrounding plants, which includes honey bees.

 

The largest contaminants found in honey bee hives are chemicals found in fungicides, which researches suspect that the honey bees are bringing it in themselves. Many are puzzled by this, believing that the honey bees would know to avoid the unnatural chemicals, but for some species, the preference and willingness to forage for these chemicals could be explained by their evolutionary history.

 

“Honey bee foragers are gleaners,” said University of Illinois entomology professor and department head May Berenbaum. “They’re active from early spring until late fall, and no single floral source exists for them for that whole season. If they don’t have a drive to search out something new, that’s going to seriously compromise their ability to find the succession of flowers they need. Unnatural chemicals might be a signal for a new food.”

 

Most concerning, however, is the research that shows that exposure to fungicides can interfere with a honey bee’s ability to metabolize acaricides used by many bee keepers to kill off varroa mites that can infest bee hives and kill off the bees quickly. This leaves the honey bees incredibly vulnerable to a harmful pest that target bees.

 

While the bees seem to prefer fields sprayed with fungicides, these chemicals are incredibility harmful and are polluting their beehives without their knowing. Since honey bees cannot see the effects of these chemicals, it is up to people to find a new way to protect their plants from fungi while also protecting honey bees from the fungicides.

 

 

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ENTRY: FEBRUARY 25, 2018 (Ramping up for Spring)
This is one of my biggest indoor gardening weekends of the entire year. I use March 1 as a key date for many of my indoor gardening tasks.

 

First and foremost, this is my first big seed starting weekend in my basement grow room. I’ve already started some seeds, but it’s during March that seed starting swings into high gear. Plants that need to be started about now include petunias, dianthus, snapdragons, geraniums, browallia, cuphea, portulaca and a few other minor players. After the seeds germinate on my propagation heating mat I move them to the top shelf of my grow rack until they are ready to be transplanted into cell packs or pots. I use an old shower curtain draped over the rack to retain any heat given off by the light fixtures. In this basement environment I try to use all heat that might otherwise be wasted.

 

Once my seedlings have developed their second set of true leaves, I carefully transplant them into cell packs and pots (size determined by plant vigor and how the plants are used in the garden). It’s best to transplant seedlings as soon as they can be handled. The smaller the seedling, the less shock from transplanting. I choose to transplant my seedlings rather than planting them directly in their final pots and cell packs so I can choose only healthiest and most vigorous plants, ensuring greater success in the garden.

 

The second major task of the weekend is to prune, trim and clean up all the geranium, coleus, salvia and assorted cuttings I’ve been overwintering. This will be their final pinching before they go into the garden in May. Any later than this and I lose a few weeks of valuable bloom time in our short summers. I also trim and shape my potted geraniums and other plants that will be spending the summer outdoors. Hibiscus is the exception. I pruned them in the fall rather than in the spring–again as not to lose bloom time.

 

Thirdly, I move all remaining dormant bulbs and plants from the cool root cellar to the warmer parts of the basement. I do this to give them a good start before I put them outside. My collection includes cannas, brugmansias, pineapple lilies, callas, dahlias, begonias and a few odds and ends. By the time they move outside in May, they’re already growing actively and sometimes nearly ready to bloom.

 

KLEIN’S RECIPES OF THE MONTHThese are a selection of relatively simple recipes chosen by our staff. New recipes appear monthly. Enjoy!!

 

For many, the best popcorn is not found in a small folded bag (oftentimes loaded with fake butter, salt and oodles of unnatural ingredients) then placed in a microwave, but rather shucked fresh by hand and then kettle-cooked on the stovetop. What it lacks in convenience, is made up for with freshness, crispness and the ability to top your low calorie and healthy treat with healthy and safe choices. Some local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farms offer fresh, field-grown popcorn in their share boxes. Kept dry and sealed, fresh popcorn can be stored for many months.

 

Popcorn (Zea mays var. everta) is a Native American plant grown for its tasty, exploding kernels. The two types of popcorn that are grown are pearl and rice. Pearl popcorn has round kernels, while rice popcorn kernels are elongated.

 

Growing popcorn and sweet corn in the same garden produces disappointing results because of cross pollination. Cross pollination yields popcorn with a high percentage of un-popped kernels and poor quality sweet corn. Popcorn matures 100 days or so after planting. Each ear yields one serving of popcorn, and each plant produces one or two ears. Popcorn doesn’t transplant well, so it is mostly grown from seeds planted directly in the garden.

 

Popcorn needs full sun and rich, well-drained soil. Work a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost into the soil before planting, and spread 1 ½ pounds of 16-16-8 fertilizer over the soil, watering it in thoroughly. Choose a location with access to irrigation because just like other corn plants, popcorn plants require plenty of water during the growing season.

 

Grow popcorn plants in groups to ensure good pollination and well-filled ears. A single plant produces ears with few or no kernels and a few plants produce ears that are poorly filled out. Most home gardeners grow popcorn in several short rows.

 

Plant popcorn when all danger of frost has passed and the soil is warm. Sow the seeds 1 to 2 inches deep and space them 8 to 10 inches apart. Rather than planting them in one or two long rows, create a series of short rows spaced 18 to 24 inches apart. The plant density assures good pollination.

 

Drought stress seriously impacts the quality of the harvest, so keep the soil moist at all times. Popcorn needs 1 ½ to 2 inches of water per week from either rain or irrigation.
Popcorn needs an abundance of nitrogen during the growing season. When the plants have eight to 10 leaves, side-dress with ½ pound of high-nitrogen fertilizer per 100 square feet. Spread the fertilizer down the sides of the rows and water it in. Side-dress again with ¼ pound of fertilizer once the ears form silk.

 

Weeds compete with popcorn for nutrients and moisture. Cultivate the soil around the plants regularly to eliminate weeds. Take care not to damage the roots or pull the soil away from the plants while cultivating.

 

Harvest popcorn when the husks are completely dry and the kernels are hard. Remove the husks after harvest and hang the ears in mesh bags in a well-ventilated area. After removing the kernels from the ears, store them in air-tight containers at room temperature.

 

 

PERFECT POPCORN—The key is to allow all kernels to come up to temperature before popping. Results yield none to few un-popped kernels and no burning.
3 Tbs. coconut or peanut oil
1/3 cup high quality popcorn kernels
1 Tbs. or more (to taste) butter (optional)
Salt to taste (optional)

 

Heat the oil in a 3-quart thick-bottomed saucepan on medium high heat. If you are using coconut oil, allow all of the solid oil to melt. Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil. Wait for the popcorn kernels to pop. When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer.

 

Now the most important part! Cover the pot, remove from heat and count 30 seconds. (Count out loud! It’s fun to do with kids.) This method first heats the oil to the right temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.

 

Return the pan to the heat. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping starts in earnest, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner.

 

Tip: As the popcorn pops, try to keep the lid slightly ajar to let the steam from the popcorn release (the popcorn will be drier and crisper).

 

Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl. Top with melted butter and salt to taste. Makes 2 large servings.

 

Fun toppings for the popcorn – Spanish smoked paprika, nutritional yeast (Num!), cayenne powder, chili pepper, curry powder, cumin, grated Parmesan cheese.

 

NATURAL NEWS–

 

Biological Mosquito Control Also Kills Fungus Gnats
Summit Mosquito Bits® (available at Klein’s), a popular biological control that kills mosquito larvae, is now also approved for the control of fungus gnats. The active ingredient in Mosquito Bits® is a biological larvacide called BTI (Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis). BTI is a naturally occurring bacterium that’s deadly to both mosquito larvae and fungus gnat larvae.

 

Fungus gnats can infest potted plants, and the insects can be difficult to control. Fungus gnats lay their eggs in the potting soil of houseplants and container plants, and the larvae live in the moist potting mix. In the larval stage, the fungus gnat maggots can cause plant damage by eating plant roots. After about two to three weeks, the fungus gnat maggots pupate to become the tiny black adult gnats that often take flight in a cloud of insects when a potted plant is moved.

 

To control fungus gnats, simply shake the granular Mosquito Bits® onto the potting soil in houseplants and other container-grown plants. Mosquito Bits® can also be mixed with potting soil prior to planting. When the plants are watered, the BTI in the Mosquito Bits® will be released. After subsequent watering, the BTI is washed below the soil surface. Fungus gnat larvae feed on the BTI and die.

 

The BTI in Mosquito Bits® also provides an extremely fast and effective way to quickly kill large populations of mosquito larvae. When spread on standing water where mosquitoes breed, Mosquito Bits® granules release a biological mosquito larvicide at the water’s surface. As the Mosquito Bits® settle in the water, hungry mosquito larvae eat the Bits and die.

 

Mosquito Bits® can be used in virtually all standing water, including ponds and water gardens, rain barrels, roof gutters, bird baths, flower pots and saucers, tree holes, unused swimming pools, old automobile tires, animal watering troughs and wherever water collects. Mosquito Bits® are also effective in grassy or marshy areas and where the mosquito population is extremely dense and a quick kill is needed.

 

Just sprinkle one teaspoon of Mosquito Bits per 25 square feet of water surface area or one tablespoon per 75 square feet. Mosquito Bits® will kill mosquito larvae for seven to 14 days. Additional applications of Mosquito Bits should be made in seven- to 14-day intervals for continued mosquito control.

 

 

MARCH’S PLANT OF THE MONTH:

 

Hops (Humulus spp.): The International Herb Association’s Herb of the Year™
Hops are a lovely, yet vigorous, vine that continue to grow in popularity in the Madison area; both as a quick growing ornamental or for the production of hops in beer making. Klein’s offers up to five hop varieties as potted plants in the springtime. While all produce the trademark hop flowers, Golden and Bianca hops are used ornamentally; whereas Nugget, Cascade and Willamette are used in the production of beer.

 

Location for Growing Hops
Select an area with plenty of sun. Hops need at least 6-8 hours of sun a day, so the South facing side of your home or an exposed site is a good location. Hop vines (called bines) can grow to over 25 feet and weigh over 20 pounds, so vertical space for a trellis is important as well.

 

Hops prefer well-aerated soil that is rich in nutrients and has good drainage. If you are going to plant several varieties, keep them well separated in your garden. Hop roots will spread quickly and take over the garden unless you separate them and trim the roots each season.

 

Hop Planting and Care
Hops should be planted in the spring, late enough to avoid a frost. Fertilize liberally before planting. Plant your hops in a mound and aerate the ground by turning it over several times to aid drainage, enhance growth and prevent disease. Place the rhizomes about 4 inches deep, and make your mound of soil about a foot high to aid drainage. Place the root side of the rhizome down. Cover the mound with some straw or light mulch to inhibit the weeds.

 

The hop bines grow vertically and require some kind of trellis. Your trellis could some heavy rope or twine going from ground level to your roof, or a few poles securely mounted in the ground. If using rope, select rough twine-like rope so the bines can grab onto it. Keep in mind that the hop bines can be 25+ feet long and weigh 20+ pounds. The trellis should be strong and secure.

 

Hops also enjoy lots of water and sunlight. In the dry climates or the heat of summer, they may need to be watered daily. Once the hops begins to grow, select the best bines and wrap them around your trellis to train them. You will need to train the hops for a few days, but eventually they will begin growing in a clockwise direction from east to west around your trellis. Train the best shoots and trim the rest off.

 

Harvesting and Drying your Hops
Your hops will continue to grow throughout the summer, and will be ready to harvest by late summer. The harvest in the first year may not be huge, and in fact it could be very small – hops don’t reach peak yield in the first year.

 

To determine when to harvest, you need to examine the cones. Mature hop cones will be dry to the touch, springy, have a very strong aromatic hop odor, and leave yellow lupulin powder on your fingers. Check the cones every day or two, and when you think they are ripe, pick one and open it. It should be filled with thick yellow-gold lupulin powder if it is fully ripened.

 

The hops may not all ripen at once, but you need to harvest each as it ripens. Dry the hops out in a warm dry spot in your house, and keep them away from sunlight. Sunlight can seriously damage picked hops. A paper bag is a good place to store them while drying. The hops should dry out in a week or two. After that, place them in a sealed bag and store the hop cones in your freezer. Remove as much oxygen as possible from the bag to avoid oxidization.

 

Maintenance of Your Hops
Cut the bines back to 3 feet or so after harvesting. The winter frost will kill off the bines, after which you can cut them back further and cover them until Spring. When Spring comes, take a spade and cut around the rhizome to trim the roots back to about a foot. Trimming the roots will prevent the hops from consuming your entire garden, as they tend to spread rapidly. Add some fertilizer, fresh mulch and a new trellis and you will be ready to grow hops for a fresh new season.

 

A properly cared-for hops garden will keep you in fresh hops for years to come.

 

Note: Hops can be dangerous for dogs to consume so please don’t feed your pets hops.

 

Five things everyone should know about . . . Hops
By Judith Reith-Rozelle

 

1. Wisconsin was once the nation’s largest producer of hops.
The 1860s saw “an unbounded zeal” in Wisconsin hop production, according to the Milwaukee Sentinel in 1867, when Wisconsin was growing 75 percent of the nation’s hops. The state’s brewing industry demanded hops at a time when wheat prices were declining, prompting many farmers to grow hops instead. The hop market crashed soon thereafter, but the boom-time infusion of cash helped establish a strong agricultural base in Wisconsin.

 

2. There’s a wine connection.
The Hungarian Count Agoston Haraszthy is believed to have grown some of the first hops in Sauk County, which became the epicenter of the Wisconsin hops craze. But the Count’s true love was grapes, and alongside hops he planted vineyards that were to become the heart of Wollersheim Winery, Wisconsin’s largest. Seeking a warmer climate for grape growing, Haraszthy moved to California, where he became a pioneer of the state’s wine industry.

 

3. And a pot connection as well.
The hop is a member of the Cannabis family. As its scientific name (Humulus lupulus) indicates, hops contain the chemical lupulone, which is a mild sedative. Long before the plant’s female flowers were used to provide flavor and aroma in beer, they served a medicinal purpose as a sedative and digestive aid (pillows filled with the flowers, for example, were used to induce sleep).

 

4. The Pacific Northwest rules.
Wisconsin breweries purchase most of their hops from that region. Washington state leads the pack, growing 77 percent of the nation’s hops.

 

5. But we’re seeing a mini-revival of hop growth here.
In Iowa, Sauk, Grant and Dane counties people are buying land and planting hops again. Gorst Valley Hops, near Black Earth, has developed a charter growers program, a cooperative of sorts for hop growers. In northern Wisconsin, many of the smaller brewpubs and microbreweries are beginning to grow their own hops—an example is the South Shore Brewery in Ashland. As you drive around the state, look for tall poles in long lines across a field. It could mean that hops are happening.

 

All of the above hop varieties are available at Klein’s in the springtime.

 

 

AROUND TOWN:
For neighborhood events or garden tours that you would like posted in our monthly newsletter, please contact Rick at (608) 244-5661 or [email protected] or Sue at [email protected]. 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.

 

2018 Green Thumb Gardening Series
Thrusdays, February 22 thru April 19, 6:30-9:00
Dane County UW-Extension Office, 5201 Fen Oak Dr, Suite 138

 

The Green Thumb Gardening class series will give you the practical knowledge to keep your home garden thriving! University of Wisconsin Extension educators and local horticulture experts will provide in depth and accessible information for everyone from the novice to the experienced gardener.

 

In Spring 2018, classes will be held Thursday evenings, Feb. 22nd – April 19th from 6:30-9:00pm at the Dane County UW-Extension office. Register for the complete class series at a discounted price or individual classes according to your interests.

 

2018 CLASS TOPICS:

 

March 1– Wisconsin Wildlife in the Home Garden
David Drake, UW-Madison Wildlife Ecologist, will discuss desirable and non-desirable wildlife in the garden. He will focus on creating wildlife habitat, pest exclusion, and control strategies.

 

March 8– Vegetable Garden Planning & Techniques
Dane County UWEX Small-Scale and Organic Produce Educator Claire Strader will cover organic techniques for growing vegetables, with an emphasis on practical strategies for a successful harvest.

 

March 15– Vegetable Families, Pests & Diseases
Learn about common vegetable families, best growing practices, and how to prevent common pests and diseases. Taught by Joe Muellenberg & Lisa Johnson, Dane County UW-Extension Horticulture Program.

 

March 22– Garden Landscape Design
Ben Futa, Director at Allen Centennial Garden, will cover fundamentals and elements of landscape design for your annual or perennial home garden.

 

March 29– Composting & Soil Composition
This class covers soil types, nutrients, pH, organic matter, fertilizers, improving soil fertility, art & science of composting, and best composting practices. Taught by Joe Muellenberg & Lisa Johnson, Dane County UW-Extension Horticulture Program.

 

April 5 – Diseases in the Home Garden
Learn how to prevent and manage diseases that afflict a variety of plants in the home garden. Taught by Lisa Johnson, Dane County UW-Extension Horticulture Educator.

 

April 12– Growing Berries
Learn how to propagate and cultivate a variety of berry fruits in the your home garden. Taught by Lisa Johnson, Dane County UW-Extension Horticulture Educator.
April 19– Weeds & Invasive Plant Management
Learn how to prevent and manage common weeds in the home garden as well as identification and control of terrestrial invasive species in Wisconsin. Taught by Lisa Johnson, Dane County UW-Extension Horticulture Program.

 

April 26– Annual & Perennial Flowers
Learn general techniques for selecting, planting, and caring for annuals and perennials. The session will also highlight new and recommended varieties. Taught by Lisa Johnson, Dane County UW-Extension Horticulture Program.

 

 

Dane County University of Wisconsin-Extension
5201 Fen Oak Dr, Suite 138

 

Rain Garden Workshop
Saturday, March 3, 9:00-11:00
5201 Fen Oak Drive, Rm 121
Madison, WI 53718-8827

 

Learn how installing a rain garden can help protect our lakes, rivers and streams and add beauty to your property!

 

This workshop will focus more on helping participants new to the world of rain garden design through the process of actually designing a rain garden plan for their property and less on the background and benefits of rain gardens. This workshop will include hands-on stations and resources to lead participants through the process of site selection, sizing, site preparation, and plant selection. Information on installation and maintenance will also be provided. Experts will be available to help participants through the process and answer questions.

 

Participants should come to workshop with the following:
1-basic site plan of their property to help staff determine the best location for a rain garden (arial photo from Googlemaps)
2-general size of roof to help size the garden
3-basic understanding of where the water on property drains

 

Participants will have the option of ordering native plants at a discounted rate through the Plant Dane Native Plant Program. Visit www.ripple-effects.com/plantdane for details.

 

Questions? Contact Christal Campbell, [email protected]countyofdane.com, 608-224-3746.

 

 

The Madison Area Municipal Stormwater Partnership
c/o Dane County Land & Water Resources Department
5201 Fen Oak Drive
Madison, WI 53718-8827

 

Winter Fruit Pruning
Saturday, March 3, 1:00-4:00
West Madison Agricultural Research Station, Madison, WI 53717

 

When it comes to pruning fruiting plants, form follows function. Learn hands-on alongside Assistant Professor of Horticulture, Amaya Atuchua, the best pruning techniques to promote a bountiful harvest while supporting the long-term health of fruit-bearing selections. This class will explore a variety of fruits accessible to the home gardener including apples, blueberries, and grapes.

 

Cost is $15

 

 

Allen Centennial Gardens
620 Babcock Dr. on the University of WI campus, Madison

 

Primula Sale
Saturday, March 10, 8:00-4:00
Olbrich Botanical Gardens

 

Capture the first signs of spring with a colorful and classic primula at the Primula Sale at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Take home a rainbow of primroses in striking purple, red, yellow, orange, and pink, all grown from seed in Olbrich’s greenhouses.

 

These primulas are hardy and will bloom year after year in your garden. Often one of the first flowers to bloom in spring, some primulas also bloom again in the fall when the weather becomes cool. Primulas are cool weather perennials that do best when planted in the ground. They make wonderful gifts, so purchase them for your friends and yourself!

 

Olbrich’s primulas are grown in fiber pots instead of hard plastic pots. The fiber pots are “compostable, not plantable,” meaning that the primulas must be taken out of the pot and planted in the ground or a container. Then the fiber pot can be added to your compost bin. All proceeds from the sale benefit the Gardens. Plants are $5.00 each.

 

Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison

 

Olbrich Garden’s Spring Show: Under the Sea
March 10 thru March 25
Daily from 10:00-4:00
In the Olbrich Atrium

 

Splish! Splash! Dive in to Olbrich’s Spring Flower Show – Under the Sea! Descend below the waves (without ever getting wet!) for a fantastical underwater adventure overflowing with vibrant plants and fragrant flowers. On your journey, you will encounter an ocean full of colorful fish, sea turtles, jellyfish, a mermaid, and more!

 

Your captains, the Olbrich Horticulture Team, will guide you to the deepest depths of the ocean floor to spot rare bottom-dwelling sea creatures, glowing with bioluminescent light. As you look through the porthole of your submarine, you may catch a glimpse of a spooky shipwreck and even some sunken treasure!

 

Plunge in and take a swim with us! As the boisterous crab Sebastian sings, “We got no troubles – Life is the bubbles! Under the Sea!”

 

Admission: $5 for adults 13 & up, $3 for children 3-12, children 2 and under are free. Proceeds benefit Olbrich Gardens.

 

Select flowers from the show will be available for purchase on Monday, March 26, 12:00-while supplies last.

 

Olbrich Botanical Society members are the first to glimpse the beauty of spring in this indoor exhibit of spring blooms from 8-10:00 a.m., Saturday, March 10. Commons! Olbrich’s Bolz Conservatory will open at 9 a.m. for an exclusive early viewing. Members receive 20% in Olbrich’s Growing Gifts Shop all day from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

 

Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison

 

Pollinator-friendly Gardening
Saturday, March 17, 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
Class

 

Explore the life histories of Wisconsin’s native bees and other pollinators and how they fare in our gardens and landscapes. Learn gardening practices that create and enhance pollinator habitat and promote conservation. Indoors, with brief garden walk if weather permits. Instructor: Susan Carpenter, Arboretum native plant gardener. Fee: $30. Register by March 12.

 

The cost is $30. Registration is required for this event. Register @ arboretum.wisc.edu/classes/pollinator-friendly-gardening/

 

University of Wisconsin Arboretum
1207 Seminole Highway
Madison, WI 53711

 

Annual Spring Symposium
Saturday, March 17, 9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
at Rotary Botanical Gardens

 

Registration deadline: March 14

 

Price:
$65 for RBG Friends
$85 General Public
*Note – fee includes lunch *
to register.

 

Megan Cain
Megan will present Beyond the Herb Rack: There are few greater delights than grabbing a handful of fresh herbs to complete your evening meal. And creatively incorporating herbs into your garden design can help elevate your garden from ordinary to extraordinary!

 

She will share the simple step by step process of building an herb spiral to add structure and interest to your garden. In addition, Megan will share how to artistically mix herbs into your plantings, unique and colorful varieties to grow, and super easy ways to preserve herbs for off season use.

 

Richard Hawk
Richard will present Perennial Favorites: Old and New, focusing on a variety of proven plants from 30 years of trials, including new selections and old favorites. He is the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Plant Evaluation Manager. Richard is responsible for the comparative evaluation of perennials and woody plants each year.

 

He is the principal author of Plant Evaluation Notes, an author and contributing editor for Fine Gardening, and writes for other horticulture publications such as Perennial Plants, The American Gardener, and Nursery Management.

 

In 2005, Richard received the Perennial Plant Association’s Academic Award for teaching excellence, and the Plant Evaluation Program received the Award for Program Excellence from the American Public Garden Association in 2008.The Chicago Botanic Garden has been evaluating and recommending superior garden plants to home gardeners and the green industry since 1988.

 

Mark Dwyer
Mark will present Hardscaping in the Garden, while plants are an important component in our garden spaces, the uses of paths, patios, decks, fences, rocks and other “hardscaping” elements are also vital in creating and defining a beautiful and functional garden space.

 

He has been the Director of Horticulture at Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville, WI for the past 19 years. He directs the continued maintenance and improvement of this 20 acre botanical resource with a talented grounds staff and many dedicated volunteers.

 

Previously, Mark worked at Fernwood Botanical Garden (Niles, MI) and as a landscape designer in Appleton, WI. Mark has degrees in landscape architecture (University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana) and urban forestry (UW-Stevens Point). Mark’s true passion is obtaining, growing, observing and photographing all types of plants.

 

Rotary Botanical Gardens
1455 Palmer Dr., Janesville, WI

 

2018 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Open House
Sunday, March 18, 11:00 – 3:00 pm
Monona Terrace
1 John Nolen Dr., Madison, Wisconsin

 

Join us for the 26th Annual CSA Open House! Learn about FairShare CSA Coalition and Community Supported Agriculture at this free to the public event.

 

Meet your local farmers from a variety of CSA farms to learn more about their farm, pick-up locations, on-farm events, and 2018 sign-up information. Explore different share options such as veggies, meat, eggs and chose your own CSA share for this growing season while snacking on local food samples.

 

Free workshops throughout the event will help you learn how to make the most of your CSA experiences. This event will celebrate our FairShare CSA farms and inspire people to support a strong local food system. We hope to see you there!

 

For more event and CSA information see our Natural News section of this newsletter or visit www.csacoalition.org

 

Phenology
Saturday, March 24, 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
Class

 

Phenology is the study of periodic occurrences in nature, especially as they link to climate and weather. The March equinox is the perfect time to think about spring unfolding. We’ll explore literary and scientific approaches to monitoring the natural year. Instructor: Kathy Miner, Arboretum naturalist. Fee: $20. Register by March 20. Meet at the Visitor Center.

 

The cost is $20. Registration is required for this event. Register @ arboretum.wisc.edu/classes/phenology/

 

University of Wisconsin Arboretum
1207 Seminole Highway
Madison, WI 53711

 

Dane County Late Winter Farmer’s Market
Saturdays, January 6 thru April 7, 8:00-noon
Madison Senior Center
330 W. Mifflin

 

For details visit www.dcfm.org

 

MARCH IN THE GARDENA checklist of things to do this month.
___Pinch back over wintered geraniums one last time. Root cuttings if needed.
___Check perennials for heaving during warm spells. Remulch as needed.
___Check for early spring bloomers like crocus, winter aconite & hellebores.
___Begin uncovering roses by month’s end.
___Continue bringing out your cooled forced bulbs for indoor enjoyment.
___Inspect stored summer bulbs like dahlias, cannas and glads for rotting.
___Check for and treat for pests on plants brought in from the garden.
___Keep birdfeeders full. Clean periodically with soap and water.
___Keep birdbaths full and clean for the return of the first robins & other arrivals.
___Repair and clean out birdhouses. Early arrivals will be here soon!
___Inventory last year’s leftover seeds before ordering or buying new ones.
___Seed starting is in full swing: petunias, tomatoes, peppers and cole crops.
___Sterilize seed starting equipment and pots with a 1:16 bleach solution.
___Shop for summer bulbs like gladiolas, lilies and dahlias.
___Remove mulch & rodent protection (chicken wire) from tulip and crocus beds
___Use the winter days to plan next summer’s garden.
___March is the month to prune most fruit trees and apply dormant oil.
___Prune late summer and fall blooming shrubs.
___Do not prune spring blooming shrubs like lilacs, forsythia or viburnum.
___Begin bringing in branches for forcing: pussy willow, forsythia, quince, etc.
___As the days lengthen and new growth occurs, increase fertilizing houseplants
___Check your garden for any plant damage from weather or rodents.
___Ready the lawn mower—just a few weeks to go.
___Visit Klein’s—the showrooms are filling up with spring annuals. Pansies, violas, calendula, cole crops & onion sets become available by month’s end.

 

Some of our very favorite seed and plant sources include:

 

For seeds:
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds @ www.rareseeds.com or 417/924-8887
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
Seeds of Change @ www.seedsofchange.com or 888/762-7333
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
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
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!

 

A SEED STARTING PRIMER–
Starting your own plants from seed can be both rewarding and frustrating for the beginning gardener. From experience, it’s best to start out slow. This eliminates some of the frustration. Experience will gain you knowledge and confidence. Before starting your seeds, read the packet and get a little basic information. Some seeds are best sown directly in the garden come spring and not started indoors. It’s best to do a little research by going on-line or purchasing a good gardening book. The packets themselves will usually tell you whether to direct sow in the garden or how many weeks before our last frost date to sow indoors. Our last frost date is about May 10. Using a calendar, count back from May 10 and this will be your sow date.

 

One can start seeds on any sunny windowsill and in almost any container. Warmth and moisture are critical in getting most seeds to germinate. But a few pieces of basic and inexpensive equipment purchased at your garden center and/or hardware store will help you get started and make your seed starting experience a great success. Here is a shopping list:

 

*A heating mat–makes seeds germinate quickly and uniformly
*A few 10×20” trays without holes
*A few clear humidity domes
*A sterile seed starting mix
*A 4’ shop lamp w/ 2 fluorescent bulbs (you don’t need “gro-lights”)
or a seed growing rack if you’d like to make an investment
*A few 10×20” trays with holes
*A few sheets of empty cell packs, e.g. 4-packs or 6-packs
*A water mister
*A timer
*A soilless potting mix
All of the above items, except the timer, are available at Klein’s.

 

Again, following package instructions, sow the seeds, as many as you want, in a very shallow, open container, filled with moistened seed starting mix. This container can be anything from very low or cut off dairy containers to disposable food storage containers. Per package instructions, cover or don’t cover the seed. Some seeds require light for germination. Next place your seeded containers in a tray without holes, mist them till well watered and cover with a humidity dome. Place your covered tray on the plugged in heating mat under the shop light. Set your timer so the shop light is on for 13 hours (off for 11 hours).

 

In a few days, as your seeds begin to sprout, remove them from under the humidity dome and place in a well-lit, warm location. Keep your seeds and seedlings moist. Different seeds sprout at different rates so this can take from a few days to a few weeks. Once all your seeds have germinated, unplug your heating mat. You can now move all of your seedlings to under the shop light still set at 13 hours.

 

Once your seedlings have 2 sets of “real” leaves it’s time to “prick them out” (transplant them). Do this by placing a sheet of empty cell packs in a tray with holes. The holes now become necessary for proper drainage. Fill the cells with soilless potting mix and moisten well with the mister. Using a pen or pencil “dibble” a hole into each of the cells. This is where you’ll now place your seedling. Remove the seed starting mix and seedlings as a clump from their starting containers. Gently break apart this root ball, separating your seedlings. The pen or pencil will come in handy as an added tool to help separate the seedlings. Carefully place one seedling in each of the holes you put in the prepped cells. Gently firm in with your finger tips. Mist well to water thoroughly and place in a warm, well lit area. Using your shop light again makes this easy. The seedlings may seem weak and somewhat abused, but they’re very resilient and will pop back quickly. When watering, fertilize your new plants with a very dilute solution, rather than at full rate. By May 10 your flowers and vegetables should be ready to put in your garden and you can say that you did it yourself–beginning to end.

 

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.

 

IN MARCH:
—Transplanting is in full swing on the transplanting line in our back greenhouses.
Employees work 8-10 hour shifts planting thousands of plugs and tiny seedlings into the cell packs you purchase in the spring. Once planted, the flats move by conveyor and then monorail into the various greenhouses, all kept at different temperatures depending on the plant.

 

—The greenhouses and showrooms are filling fast with thousands of hanging
and potted plants. We’re constantly moving product around, trying to make the best use of space.

 

—By the end of the month we’re moving product outside into cold frames and
hoop houses. We move product that is very cold tolerant, such as pansies, dianthus, dusty miller, alyssum and even petunias. The cold keeps them compact and pest free and hardens them off for the transition outside. We also need the room in our ever-filling greenhouses.

 

—Perennial plugs and bare roots arrive and are stepped up into 3 1/2”, quart and gallon sizes. Our perennials are grown quite cold so they invest their energy into rooting out, rather than growing. Plants remain compact. Any remaining perennials from last season are moved outdoors from an unheated greenhouse.

 

—Geraniums are pinched and shaped for the last time by the first week of the
month. Any later pinching will delay blooming too much for spring sales.

 

—Retail items are arriving nonstop for unpacking and pricing, everything from
garden ornaments and pottery to pesticides and fertilizers.

 

PERMANENT FEATURES–
KLEIN’S MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
Have our monthly newsletter e-mailed to you automatically by signing up on the right side of our home page. We’ll offer monthly tips, greenhouse news and tidbits, specials and recipes. . .everything you need to know from your favorite Madison greenhouse. And tell your friends. It’s easy to do.

 

THE MAD GARDENER–“Madison’s Firsthand Source for Expert Gardening Advice”
Ask us your gardening questions by e-mailing us at [email protected]. Klein’s in-house Mad Gardener will e-mail you with an answer as promptly as we can. The link is posted on our home page and in all newsletters.

 

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.

 

TO WRITE A REVIEW OF KLEIN’S, PLEASE LINK TO

 

FACEBOOK
Follow Klein’s on Facebook where we post updates and photos on a regular basis.

 

TWITTER
Join Klein’s on Twitter where we post company updates and photos on a regular basis.

 

SENIOR CITIZEN DISCOUNT
We offer a 10% Off Senior Citizen Discount every Tuesday to those 62 and above. This discount is not in addition to other discounts or sales. Please mention that you are a senior before we ring up your purchases. Does not apply to wire out orders or services, i.e. delivery, potting, etc.

 

RECYCLING POTS & TRAYS
Plastic flower pots and garden edging can now be recycled as part of the City of Madison’s rigid plastic program. Flowerpots and edging must be free of dirt and can be placed in your green recycling bin. For more information call 267-2626 or visit www.cityofmadison.com/streets/recycling/plastic.cfm

 

KLEIN’S “BLOOMING PLANT OR FRESH FLOWER CLUB”
Send or receive 3 month’s, 6 month’s or a whole year’s worth of seasonal blooming plants or fresh flower arrangements and SAVE!!

 

There’s no easier way to give gorgeous blooming plants or fresh flower arrangements, month after month. Each month a seasonal blooming plant or fresh arrangement will arrive on yours or a loved one’s doorstep. You choose the start date and we’ll make your special delivery the very same day each month.

 

For just $75, $150 or $300, respectively, we’ll send 3 month’s, 6 month’s or a year’s worth of seasonal blooming plants–perhaps a bulb garden or azalea in the spring, one of our famous large geraniums or a tropical hibiscus in the summer, a chrysanthemum or Thanksgiving cactus in the fall or one of our homegrown poinsettias or cyclamen for the holidays and winter months. Selection of the blooming plant will be based on availability.

 

And for just $90, $175 or $350, respectively, receive one of Klein’s lovely fresh floral arrangements. All arrangements will be seasonal and will contain only the freshest flowers. All arrangements are Designer’s Choice, but are sure to satisfy the most discerning lover of fresh flowers.

 

Prices include delivery within our delivery area. Enclosure cards will accompany all gift deliveries if desired. For delivery details visit the “Permanent Features” section of our newsletter below. If your chosen delivery date happens to fall on a Sunday or holiday, we will deliver it on the next available delivery day. All regular delivery conditions apply.

 

Join our Blooming Plant or Fresh Flower Club by calling Klein’s at 608/244-5661 or 888/244-5661 or by stopping in. We request that payment be made in full before the first delivery and prices do not include sales tax.

 

DELIVERY INFO

Klein’s Floral and Greenhouses delivers daily, except Sundays, throughout all of Madison and much of Dane County including: Cottage Grove, DeForest, Fitchburg, Maple Bluff, Marshall, McFarland, Middleton, Monona, Oregon, Shorewood Hills, Sun Prairie, Verona, Waunakee and Windsor. We do not deliver to Cambridge, Columbus, Deerfield or Stoughton.

Current delivery rate on 1-4 items is $7.95 for Madison, Maple Bluff, Monona and Shorewood Hills; $8.95 for Cottage Grove, DeForest, Fitchburg, McFarland, Sun Prairie, Waunakee and Windsor; and $9.95 for Marshall, Middleton, Oregon and Verona. An additional $3.00 will be added for deliveries of 4-10 items and $5.00 added for deliveries of more than 10 items. For deliveries requiring more than one trip, a separate delivery charge will be added for each trip.

 

A minimum order of $25.00 is required for delivery.

We not only deliver our fabulous fresh flowers, but also houseplants, bedding plants and hardgoods. There may be an extra charge for very large or bulky items.

Delivery to the Madison hospitals is $5.95. Deliveries to the four Madison hospitals are made during the early afternoon. Items are delivered to the hospital’s volunteer rooms and not directly to the patients’ rooms per hospital rules.

There is no delivery charge for funerals in the city of Madison or Monona, although normal rates apply for morning funeral deliveries to Madison’s west side (west of Park St.). Our normal rates also apply for funeral deliveries in the surrounding communities at all times. Although we don’t deliver on Sundays, we will deliver funeral items on Sundays at the regular delivery rate.

 

Morning delivery is guaranteed to the following Madison zip codes, but only if requested: 53703, 53704, 53714, 53716, 53718 and Cottage Grove, DeForest, Maple Bluff, Marshall, McFarland, Monona, Sun Prairie, Waunakee and Windsor.

We begin our delivery day at 8:00 a.m. and end at approximately 3:00 p.m. We do not usually deliver after 4:00 unless specific exceptions are made with our drivers.

Except for holidays, the following west-side zip codes and communities are delivered only during the afternoon: 53705, 53706, 53711, 53713, 53717, 53719, 53726, Fitchburg, Middleton, Oregon, Shorewood Hills and Verona.

During holidays (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc.) we are able to make morning deliveries to all of the above areas. We are not able to take closely timed deliveries on any holiday due to the sheer volume of such requests.

It’s best to give us a range of time and we’ll try our absolute hardest. Orders for same day delivery must be placed by 12:30 p.m. or by 2:30 p.m. for Madison zip codes 53704 and 53714.

 

DEPARTMENT HEADS: Please refer all questions, concerns or feedback in the following departments to their appropriate supervisor.
Phone: 608/244-5661 or 888/244-5661

 

Horticulturalist & General Manager–Jamie VandenWymelenberg [email protected]
Accounts, Billing and Purchasing—Kathryn Derauf [email protected]
Delivery Supervisor & Newsletter Coordinator—Rick Halbach [email protected]
Owner, Floral Designer & Purchasing—Sue Klein [email protected]

 

RELATED RESOURCES AND WEB SITES
University of Wisconsin Extension
1 Fen Oak Ct. #138
Madison, WI 53718

 

Plant Disease Diagnostics Clinic
Dept. of Plant Pathology
1630 Linden Dr.
Madison, WI 53706

 

Insect Diagnostic Lab
240 Russell Labs
1630 Linden Dr.
Madison, WI 53706

 

U.W. Soil and Plant Analysis Lab
8452 Mineral Point Rd.
Verona, WI 53593

 

American Horticultural Society

 

Garden Catalogs (an extensive list with links)

 

Invasive Species

 

Community Groundworks
3601 Memorial Dr., Ste. 4
Madison, WI 53704

 

Madison Area Master Gardeners (MAMGA)

 

Wisconsin Master Gardeners Program
Department of Horticulture
1575 Linden Drive
University of Wisconsin – Madison
Madison, WI 53706

 

The Wisconsin Gardener

 

Allen Centennial Gardens
620 Babcock Dr.
Madison, WI 53706

 

Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave.
Madison, WI 53704

 

Rotary Gardens
1455 Palmer Dr.
Janesville, WI 53545

 

University of WI Arboretum
1207 Seminole Hwy.
Madison, WI 53711

 

University of Wisconsin-West Madison
Agricultural Research Center
8502 Mineral Point Rd.
Verona, WI 53593

 

PLANTS POISONOUS TO CHILDREN:
Children may find the bright colors and different textures of plants irresistible, but some plants can be poisonous if touched or eaten. If you’re in doubt about whether or not a plant is poisonous, don’t keep it in your home. The risk is not worth it. The following list is not comprehensive, so be sure to seek out safety information on the plants in your home to be safe.
•Bird of paradise
•Bull nettle
•Castor bean
•Chinaberry tree
•Crocus
•Daffodil
•Deadly nightshade
•Dieffenbachia (dumb cane)
•Foxglove
•Glory lily
•Hemlock
•Holly berry
•Indian tobacco
•Iris
•Jimsonweed
•Lantana
•Larkspur
•Lily of the valley
•Marijuana
•Mescal bean
•Mexicantes
•Mistletoe
•Morning glory
•Mountain laurel
•Night-blooming jasmine
•Nutmeg
•Oleander
•Philodendron
•Poison ivy
•Poison sumac
•Pokeweed
•Poppy
•Potato
•Privet
•Rhododendron
•Rhubarb
•Water hemlock
•Wisteria

 

PLANTS POISONOUS TO PETS:
Below is a list of some of the common plants which may produce a toxic reaction in animals. This list is intended only as a guide to plants which are generally identified as having the capability for producing a toxic reaction. Source: The National Humane Society website @ http://www.humanesociety.org/
•Aconite
•Apple
•Arrowgrasses
•Autumn Crocus
•Azaleas
•Baneberry
•Bird-of-Paradise
•Black locust
•Bloodroot
•Box
•Buckeye
•Buttercup
•Caladium
•Carolina jessamine
•Castor bean
•Chinaberry tree
•Chockcherries
•Christmas berry
•Christmas Rose
•Common privet
•Corn cockle
•Cowbane
•Cow cockle
•Cowsliprb
•Daffodil
•Daphne
•Day lily
•Delphinium (Larkspur)
•Dumbcane
•Dutchman’s breeches
•Easter lily
•Elderberry
•Elephant’s ear
•English Ivy
•European Bittersweet
•Field peppergrass
•Foxglove
•Holly
•Horsechestnut
•Horse nettle
•Hyacinth
•Iris
•Jack-in-the-pulpit
•Jerusalem Cherry
•Jimsonweed
•Lantana
•Larkspur
•Laurels
•Lily of the valley
•Lupines
•Mayapple
•Milk vetch
•Mistletoe
•Monkshood
•Morning glory
•Mustards
•Narcissus
•Nicotiana
•Nightshade
•Oaks
•Oleander
•Philodendrons
•Pokeweed
•Poinsettia
•Poison hemlock
•Potato
•Rhododendron
•Rhubarb
•Rosary pea
•Sago palm
•Skunk cabbage
•Smartweeds
•Snow-on-the-mountain
•Sorghum
•Star of Bethlehem
•Wild black cherry
•Wild radish
•Wisteria
•Yellow jessamine
•Yew