What do butterfiies, weed and strawberries have in common? All are topics of upcoming meetings sponsored by the Dodge County Master Gardener group.
Longtime Master Gardener Gae Bergmann will give a presentation on May 26 focused on Attracting and Raising Monarch Butterflies. Bergmann has raised over 500 Monarch butterflies on her Fox Lake property. Bergmann grows four varieties of milkweed plus a variety of flowers to nourish them, resulting in her homestead being certified as a Monarch Waystation.
She will share the reasons it is essential to begin raising these beautiful insects, the life stages of the butterfly, the procedures to follow for success, why it is necessary to plant milkweed, and how each participant can become more involved.
Columbia County UW-Extension Ag Educator George Koepp will present 'How Do I Manage Weeds in My Spaces' on June 23. Koepp will discuss and share tips on dealing with weeds and help participants develop a plan of attack to deal with weeds in the lawn, flower and vegetable gardens, and sidewalks and driveways.
Koepp encourages people to use an integrated approach by using mechanical, biological, cultural/mulching, and if all else fails, chemical weed control methods. He grew up on a farm and lived most of his life in the eastern part of the Baraboo Bluffs, near Cascade Mountain in Portage. He taught High School Agriculture and Biotechnology at Baraboo High School for 26 years and then joined the UW-Extension team in Columbia County in August 2011.
The public is invited to join the Dodge County Master Gardner on July 28 for a tour of Kirschbaum Strawberry Acres (KSA) on Highway 151 south of Beaver Dam.
Stan Kirschbaum started Kirschbaum Strawberry Acres as a hobby farm on County Road W between Beaver Dam and Juneau in 1980 with a 1/3 acre strawberry planting. It expanded to its current location on Highway 151 with 15 acres of fruiting berries each year and about 40 acres of winter rye for weed free berry mulch.
What started as 99 percent u-pick has evolved into 50 percent u-pick and 50 percent already picked strawberries, most which is sold as fresh production on the farm. Recently KSA joined with the only licensed winery in Dodge County, Edwin Brix Vineyard in Juneau. The second bottling of Wild Stan's Strawberry Wine was done August 24, 2015.
Kirschbaum is a 1970 graduate of Beaver Dam High School with a degree in Biology and a Chemistry Minor from UW-Oshkosh. He is a member and past president of the Wisconsin Berry Growers Association and has been growing strawberries since 1980.
Anyone with an interest in gardening is welcome to attend the free programs. Master Gardener meetings are held on the fourth Thursday of the month. Unless otherwise noted, the meetings are at 6:30 p.m. in the Administration Building, 127 E. Oak St., Juneau. For more information visit wimastergardener.org/ or dodge.uwex.edu/master-gardener/