How does your garden grow?

Jerry Apps
The tomato plants, which like warm weather, are not doing well—with Apps reporting that half dozen died and had to be replaced.

As has been my custom for several years, I offer periodic reports about our central Wisconsin vegetable garden and its successes and failures. This is my May 25 (Memorial Day) Report.

Until the last week or so, the weather has been cool, and generally dry. Vegetables planted on April 26: Both red and white potatoes are up and growing well. Same for the onions, peas, and radishes. Carrots are up, but not looking especially good. The lettuce and kale are only average, mostly up but not yet receiving any glowing comments. Same for the rutabagas and beets.

On May 19, Natasha and Steve set out the tomato plants I had started back in April, along with some cabbage, broccoli, and kohlrabi plants they purchased. The tomato plants, which like warm weather, are not doing well—indeed a half dozen of them died and had to be replaced.

In my more than four decades of starting tomato plants, this year has to go down, so far, as “Not very tomato successful.” The hard-working gardeners also planted green beans, cucumbers, winter squash, pumpkins, gourds, sweet corn, and a row of sunflowers.

The rains came in late May, not too much, just enough, along with some high 70s and low 80s temperatures. Ideal for our sandy garden spot. The deer fence is up, so now we wait to see what happens. Besides the weather, which can make all the difference for success or failure, gardening requires lots of patience and a considerable amount of loving care.

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

Jerry Apps

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