What a winter we just went through! It seemed like it would never quite end. Yet as I write this, all sorts of tulips are in bloom, birds are nesting, and people are out on sunny afternoons getting back in their yards and making gardens. We at Willy Street Co-op are loaded up with all sorts of things to make gardening fun and effective. I put my cobrahead tool in the ground and worked up the dirt so easily I wish I could put one in your hands and show you how nice it works. We planted a row of runner beans in just a few moments. Of course the soil I’m working has been mulched for years and is pretty loose. You can build your soil up in a couple of seasons by applying some Purple Cow Compost in a trench made by dragging the cobrahead through it.

Community Gardens
Here in the city of Middleton, like our neighbors in Madison, we are creating plenty of agricultural space in various community gardens. Check out this link: www.urbanfarming.org where they say there are now over 60,000 gardens that they know about! Of course if you have a yard, a patio, or a balcony you can start your own garden right at home. I’ve seen trash-strewn city lots turn into gardens. Nature is very forgiving if you help it along.

Take Your Kids to Work Day
At Willy West we planted some flowers on Take Your Kids to Work Day near the roses that were planted last year. In spite of the tough conditions, the roses survived and the transplanted apple tree is ready to burst into bloom. A local kid offered up two homemade birdhouses so we might have guests by the time you read this. It seems like every bird, bee, and critter is energized this season. While I was working by the apple tree I spotted a tree frog, living in the pots by the tree.

That area is like an oasis to that frog. Pick up some seedlings and create your own urban oasis this year and share the restoration of an ecosystem. That system never really left, it just retreated to the corners of our lawns and parking lots and waits for you to step up and invite it to thrive.

We can all do our part with whatever we have. In last year’s drought, every tree frog in the neighborhood survived in little microclimates provided by even window air conditioners dripping onto the ground below. We can do better than that for a few cents. Just use your imagination and have fun!

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