Learning experiences from Eleventh New Ventures Gardening Seminar

March 19, 2011, Northwood School, Minong, WI, USA

Approximately 200 avid gardeners attended the event. They came from Duluth, MN, Rice Lake, Trego, and Hayward, WI to name a few. One speaker especially caught my attention. Francois Medion, is a French gardener who worked for many years with Paris and United States chefs. He grew vegetables and greens for restaurants. He is a gardener who believes in planting edibles into the landscape. For example, you can pair container cabbage plants near cedar and pine. Nasturtiums can be grown in containers to brighten dark corners which are mostly planted in evergreens. Medion suggested the following and I have personally eaten all of these species:

Edible flowers for garnish and salads: Sweet violets, Anise hyssop, Borage and Nasturtiums.

Edible wild plants: Oyster-leaf, Purslane, French and blood sorrel, leeks and fiddlehead ferns. NOTE: 2/1/2012. I don’t remember eating oyster-leaf but feel certain the speaker spoke of plant.

Edible roots: Evening primrose, Jerusalem artichoke

For the third year, Happy Tonics exhibit drew many visitors who were interested in the monarch life cycle. For the first time this year, gardeners told us that they are now growing common milkweed. Some attendees stated they also grew other species of milkweed. It was heartening to learn that in 2011 more gardeners are incorporating butterfly gardens to welcome the monarch butterfly and other pollinating species. A few visitors spoke of their experiences with the swallowtail butterfly, yellow and black species. Others told of sightings of Luna and sphinx moth.

Cassie Thompson, eighth grade student at Northwood School, Minong, assisted us at the Gardening Seminar. She is a long time advocate for the monarch butterfly. For years, Cassie has been raising milkweed on her property. She has established a colony of common milkweed to welcome the monarch butterfly.

As an exhibitor, Happy Tonics sold common milkweed and native crop seed. I spoke to visitors about crops including beans and corn that also has wild relatives. The purpose of wild species is to keep domesticated native species hardy. Wild relatives insure biodiversity of species. Happy Tonics buys seed from Native Seeds/SEARCH, a native seed company, from Tucson, Arizona. Seed is gathered from the Tarahumara, Hopi and Navajo tribes. Native heirloom seed is drought hardy and is better able to survive Climate Change.  We have had great success with native seed. In 2010, we grew a Three Sisters Garden at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake. The garden was captured on Discover Wisconsin TV. Diane Dryden, Board Member of Happy Tonics, taught the film crew about the concept of growing a native garden.

After exhibiting at the New Ventures Garden Seminar for the third year, we are learning that gardeners are actively doing their part to help pollinators by planting butterfly gardens into their own landscapes. This is good news because we need to create a floral corridor across America in order to protect pollinators. We need to plant biodiversity of nectar and host plants. Loss of habitat is so severe that the USDA and Xerces Society have determined that farming practices of using pesticides and planting only monoculture crops have harmed pollinators. We need to reestablish native prairie and pollinator gardens across the country.

In April, our online stores reopen.  Visit Happy Tonics web site at www.happytonics.org to order native seed for crops and monarch butterfly.

Happy Tonics on the move

posted by Mary Ellen Ryall

March 2, I did a radio interview with Jim Dick, Managing Director, Discover Wisconsin. The topic was Earth Day and why it is important.  The broadcast is scheduled to air on radio stations across the state on March 10. As many of you may realize, Happy Tonics sponsors the Washburn County Earth Day Event in Shell Lake. This year’s event is on April 23. See event details at www.happytonics.org

 March 11, Happy Tonics and invited guests will attend the Discover Wisconsin Premiere & Gala in Spooner, WI, 6 p.m. at the Palace Theatre ; 7 p.m. Gala at Northwest Sports Complex Ballroom. The syndicated television network broadcast will air on Saturday, March 12. The Washburn County TV program includes the Monarch Butterfly Habitat, Shell Lake, Woodcarving Museum, Shell Lake and others. Michelle Voight, Executive Director of Washburn County Tourism Association (WCTA), was instrumental in getting Washburn County promoted as a Tourist and Vacation Destination. Washburn County WCTA members that include businesses and nonprofit organizations are featured in this TV program.

Stations and Times: Local access channels: WDEE TV 4, Deerfield; WSCS TV 8, Sheboygan; Channel 12, Cottage Grove; New London, Cable 6; City Channel 25, West Allis; JATV 12, Janesville; PEG Station Channel 6, Mauston; W43BR Baraboo; FSN North and FSN Wisconsin, All stations air on Saturday, 10 am; WQOW, Eau Claire, Sun. 5 p.m.; WKOW, Madison, Sat. 6:30 p.m.; WFRV Green Bay, Sat. 5 p.m.; WJMN, Marquette, Sat. 6:30 p.m., WAOW, Wausau, Sat. 6 p.m.; WXOW, La Crosse, Sun. 5 p.m.; WYOW, Eagle River, Sat., 6:30 p.m., WIFR, Rockford, IL, Sat., 6:30 p.m., KFXA, Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, IA; WDIO, Superior/Duluth, Sun. 5:30 p.m., WIRT, Hibbing, MN, Sun. 5:30 p.m.; WITI, Milwauke3, Sunday, 9 a.m.;   

 March 16 – Environmental Film Feast at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College (LCOOCC) will feature speaker Kevin Schoessow, Agricultural Agent, Spooner Agriculture Research Station. Subject: Composting. One can’t have a soil enriched garden without composting.  A rare film, “Life in the Soil” will be shown. Food prices may continue to rise to offset rising fuel cost at the pump. One way to be sustainable is to plant a vegetable garden. Soil is just as important as seed. Many seed companies are charging more for garden seed this year.  Join us at LCOOCC on March 16, 12 Noon to 2:30 p.m. 13644 Trepania Road, Hayward, WI.

 We are pleased to announce that Pat Shields, Happy Tonics Board Member and Faculty at LCOOCC, recently received an International Faculty Award to attend the seminar on sustainability in Costa Rica and Nicaragua this summer. The National Science Foundation is a co-grantor.  Shields will be submitting the college’s 3 year grant with the Center for Traditional Medicine in Esteli, Nicaragua, on March 16th and leaves for Nicaragua on March 17th. 

 March 19 – Happy Tonics will be exhibiting at the 11th Annual New Ventures Garden Seminar, Northwest School, Hwy. 53, Minong, WI. We will promote Earth Day Event and Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake. Cassie Thompson, young environmental advocate will assist us. She lives in Minong and is an inspiration for youth across the Nation to get involved in Volunteerism.

Happy Tonics to Exhibit at 11th Annual New Ventures Gardening Seminar

Saturday, March 19, 2011
Northwood School
9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (registration begins at 8:45 a.m.)
Costs: $14 (includes lunch and snacks). Pre-register by mailing payment to Northwood School Community Ed. N14463 Hwy. 53, Minong, WI 54859. More Info.: 715 466-4692 x 501 

Four sessions, plus a bonus:

  • Choose the Right Vines for Your Garden, Bonnie Blodgett
  • The Fragrant Garden, Bonnie Blodgett
  • Beautiful Partners, Francois Medion
  • Pruning and Azaleas, Mervin EiselPresenters from: BorealScapes, Duluth, MN;Brainerd Lakes area, MN; St. Paul Press
     

Happy Tonics Exhibit will be about Monarch Butterfly Habitat and IV Annual Washburn County Earth Day Event in Shell Lake on April 23 from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.  The nonprofit organization will have Three Sisters Native Vegetable Seed and Milkweed Seed for sale at their table.  Stop by and say hello.

 

%d bloggers like this: