May 08, 2013

Spring Gardening Update

Wisconsin weather has been beautiful recently.  I had planned to wait on my container garden until Memorial Day weekend after the threat of frost has passed, but full sun and 75 degrees can be very persuasive.

I'm trying a new spot behind our garage this year, which required digging up the remnants of Chris' wildflower garden.  The wildflowers were quite beautiful but that sunny location is prime real estate for my containers.

After removing all the weeds and raking it over, I added three bags of cedar mulch.  I've heard that a two to three inch layer of mulch is necessary to smother weeds.

Part of the reason I planted today is because my local farmers market is open on Wednesdays.  I was surprised to only see five vendors when I arrived, but it's understandable since early spring was too wet for planting here.

I had hoped to buy less plants this year since I started seeds a couple weeks ago, however I'm not seeing much progress.  As you can see for yourself with the chard on the left and the lettuce on the right.  

I added the lettuce I bought today to the photo as a comparision because I was shocked when the farmer told me she planted the seeds 3 weeks ago!  Yeah, somehow I don't think my lettuce is going to look like that in just a few days.

Today I purchased herbs and lettuce, as it's still a bit early for tomatoes and peppers.  I bought home chives, parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme and buttercrunch lettuce.

I enjoyed getting a chance to chat with the two farmers I purchased plants from and was excited to learn that Dutch Acres Farm has eggs available every day in a self-serve fridge near my house.  They also sell beef and pork, which I've encouraged Chris to buy.

I shudder to think of the source of the meat that Chris currently eats and was reminded today by a speaker at work of the importance of not buying meat that comes from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).

Fedele Bauccio is the CEO and co-founder of Bon Appétit Management Company, which provides our food at work.  Clients for Bon Appétit include corporations, universities and museums.  Mr. Bauccio spoke passionately about America's food system and his presentation left me wishing that I was personally doing more to help.

He told the story of tomato growers in Immokalee, Florida being treated like slaves which led his company to boycott buying tomatoes for 5 months until changes had been made.  You can hear more information in the TEDx talk below.

"America's cheap and abundant food system is the envy of the world, but it cannot continue to rely on an invisible underclass of exploited laborers."
"The persistence of inhumane conditions and poverty wages for farm works has long been a tragic chapter in the story of American agriculture."


  1. Ug, you make me so jealous with your container gardens! They look great so far.

  2. All I've done so far is buy a basket of hanging flowers so you are way ahead of me! I buy almost all of my meat right from the farmer--I really like to know "where it's been"