Honestly, it’s not as bad as it sounds. I am referring to the milk jugs and the new light rack I am using to grow seedlings for my garden. When I found myself asking my garden pals this weekend if they wanted to see my jugs and my rack, I got a few laughs but I didn’t realize how totally funny it sounded until a male garden pal laughed and said, “Yes, I want to see your jugs and your rack!” Oh, geez, this is a slightly dirty spin on my garden projects — which are dirty to begin with!
The exciting news is that my experiment of using milk jugs as little greenhouses has sprouted success. Thank you to hometown Wisconsin friend Maggie Strunk Leyes for inspiring me. Here are two jugs with little sprouts inside:
I am also stoked about my new grow lights which arrived via Amazon last week and have been shining on my happy crop of tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. The green glow of the lights has prompted some to ask if I’m growing marijuana plants. But, although it is legal to grow 6 pot plants per adult in Colorado, I am not growing weed.
With the coming of Spring, the season of farmers’ markets is upon us. Although here are many available near my home in Denver, Colorado there is none so wonderful as the Dane County Farmer’s Market in my home state of Wisconsin. This Saturday morning institution encircles the state capitol in downtown Madison and features a wide variety of local produce, honey, jams, meats, cheeses, flowers, plants, delicious bakery and more. If I am ever in Wisconsin, I devote every Saturday morning to a visit to my favorite outdoor shopping venue. My first stop is always Stella’s Bakery to line up for a few loaves of their famous spicy cheese bread; a favorite of my husband and family. Next, I stock up on goodies to snack on — fresh cheese curds, berries, fresh cut greens, carrots and popcorn. I always bring a friend and a camera and never leave without seeing a familiar face or picking up a bouquet or two of fresh picked flowers.
Peonies — ahh!!!!
Ran in a friend at the market, Elizabeth Krause.
The beautiful backdrop and plethora of colorful edible selections is just one aspect of this lovely field trip. There is always a corner featuring some political campaign, street musicians sharing their tunes, carts selling coffee, smoothies, burritos, and more as well as ample people watching and tempting local restaurants and shops just steps outside the crowded circle of market stalls.
My best advice is arrive early (7ish) with a pocket full of cash and a large cloth bag to haul your purchases. Better yet, bring a wagon because you might find a pot of flowers you can’t resist. Take time to sit down with your purchases, people watch, listen and breath in the aromas, eat some decadent bakery and relax. Save time to enjoy lunch at Marigolds or walk down State Street to have a beer on The Terrace at the University of Wisconsin Union. Its a beautiful day!!!
Nancy and I enjoyed the morning at the market.
If I lived in Madison, I sign up for the Paddle and Portage in a heartbeat. It sounds like a blast!!!
After eight airport hours traveling from Denver to Madison, WI, I asked my hostess Nancy if we could go for a walk. My friend lives on a pastoral country road in Waunakee, a rural community near Madison, surrounded by rolling hills, green vistas and farm fields. Our hike took us to the fields next to her property which were planted with a vast array of vegetables, neatly rowed and precociously sprouting from the abundant spring rains. The fields of onions, lettuce, peppers, kale and more were much bigger than my community plot but not expansively large like the corn fields across the road. I wondered if theses were plots designated for sales at local farmer’s markets. Yes, Nancy, told me, these fields are populated by industrious Hmong gardeners who grow food to supplement their incomes. Almost immediately, we were greeted by a very friendly little man named Vang who offered us onions and rhubarb. And profusely refused any attempt to give him money for the vegetables. Vang gave us a little tour of his plots and talked to me about his organic methods.
When we returned with our cameras the next day, we explored further traversing more fields, past makeshift scarecrows made from plastic bags, rows of raspberries, strawberries, beans, basil and more. I was most interested to see the garden trellises made from the branches of trimmed sumac bushes growing along the margins. And the distinctive straw hats of the Hmong gardeners working hard hoe the weeds and harvest for the famous Saturday farmer’s market at the Madison Capital.