Memorial Day serves as measuring stick for gardens

Jerry Apps
Author Jerry Apps shares his Memorial Day garden report from his Waushara County home.

For my vegetable gardening friends, my Memorial Day report. Where you garden surely makes a difference, especially in states like Wisconsin where the growing season varies greatly from south to north in the state. What you read here might be quite different from other places.

My garden is located in Waushara County, not really north, but not south either. We’ve gardened here for more than 50 years, some years great, some years so-so, and some years not so good. Never knowing what to expect contributes to the fun of gardening.

Everything is a bit late this year. Our first planting was April 28. On that date we planted early potatoes, late potatoes, carrots, radishes, peas, kale, onions, lettuce and beets. All are up and growing, except for the late potatoes, which, as my dad would say, are “cracking the ground,” meaning they were on their way but not as far along as the early potatoes.

On May 19, Steve and Natasha set out broccoli and cabbage plants and with cool, wet weather; they are doing well.

On Memorial Day weekend, (May 26) we planted sweet corn of several types, snap beans, zucchini, cucumbers, pumpkins, late squash and 25 tomato plants that I started from seed. With cool weather, the tomato plants are a bit scrawny, but they now have lots of room to grow. My dad always said that a garden should have some flowers, so we planted a short row of zinnias and a couple rows of sunflowers.

We have a bluebird house a few feet from the garden. As we worked in the garden a pair of blue birds were busy flying in and out of the house. They, along with gardeners also know that spring has arrived.

THE OLD-TIMER SAYS: What would life be without a garden?

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work go to