SALEM LAKES — A complaint about weed harvesting on Rock Lake and a request for financial support from the Rock Lake Restoration Association (RLRA) to update the lake management plan were heard by the Salem Lakes Village Board Monday night.

Karen Ihlen, an officer of the Rock Lake Highlands Association, told the board the weed harvesting conducted prior to the weekend of Aug. 2 created a health and safety issue.

“It left all the debris in the water to rot and stink,” Ihlen said. “The massive disturbance of silt made the water quality bad.”

She said she also believes the amount of area cut may have been larger than the 30-foot swath allowable by state Department of Natural Resources permit.



“This mess traveled to the public beach area,” Ihlen said, adding the E.coli reading on Aug. 5 was so high it closed the beach for first time in 30 years. “I think the health and safety of our citizens was compromised by the actions of a few.”

The Rock Lake Highlands Association has historically had a difference of opinion from the Rock Lake Restoration Association with regard to weed harvesting that dates back to contentious meetings in 2012.

The conflict over harvesting came to a head June 9, 2012, when a harvester hired by RLRA and permitted by the DNR was blocked from entering the lake by members of the Rock Lake Highlands Association after zebra mussels were discovered on the contractor’s equipment.

That year, the Rock Lake Restoration Association incorporated and created a lake management plan, with some funding assistance from the then town of Salem, that allowed it to apply for a weed harvesting permit.

“We have harvested over 100,000 cubic yards of plant material, which otherwise would have become muck,” Hoke said.

“There is an increase in boating, fishing and swimming by lakefront owners and local residents as well,” Hoke said.

Hoke said the DNR is requiring a five-year update to the management plan, which is expected to cost $5,000. He asked the board to consider helping fund the cost of this plan.

Trustee Dennis Faber said when the Camp and Center Lake Rehabilitation District began leasing land from the municipality on which to store its weed harvester, he requested the annual $5,000 payment be set aside for lakes to assist in situations like this. However, that was not part of the final motion.

He asked that discussion about using those funds for such purposes be added to a future agenda. Trustee Mike Culat agreed.

You can look at “lasagna” gardening two ways. The first is to grow the herbs you would use to season the pasta dish such as oregano, basil, thyme, onions, garlic and parsley and designate it as your lasagna garden.

The other way, however, is not edible. It is a method of starting a new garden bed without the work of taking out sod, the garden chore I abhor more than any other. The basic principle of lasagna gardening is to put down layers of cardboard, paper, manure, compost and mulch in thick enough layers that they shade out any grass or weeds growing there. You can use whatever materials you have available.

And you can build the layers as deeply as you need to. If you are starting your bed on well-established sod, it may take deeper layering to make sure the grass goes away. Best of all, there is no need to till and disrupt the natural structure of the soil. We are actually mimicking what goes on in the woods or prairie naturally where leaves or grasses simply fall on the soil, making deeper and deeper mulch.

Not disturbing the structure of the soil means you will have a better growing medium, since the channels for roots are intact. Tilling breaks up these channels by filling in the pore spaces, and the roots have to work harder to move through the soil.

I have an area where the grass grows very poorly because of too much shade, so I decided to establish a bed of hostas. I saved corrugated cardboard boxes for several weeks. Since this area had little to no grass to contend with, I was able to transplant the hostas where I wanted them, just digging holes directly into the soil.

Then I got out my handy box cutter and began to lay out the bed around the hostas with cardboard. I laid the cardboard right next to the plants, covering as much of the soil as I could, and overlapping the cardboard. Then I covered all the cardboard with deep shredded hardwood mulch and watered everything in well.

Since this area is shady, it stays fairly moist so I don’t have to water very often. The plants don’t need deep watering more than once a week to establish.

In a new bed that has grass to contend with, it’s better to create the new bed before planting. In a sunny area, be sure to sprinkle the lasagna garden regularly to help break down the cardboard. In a new bed, you can be ready to plant right through the mulch and cardboard in about six weeks. The cardboard should be fairly well broken down or at least soft enough to dig through.

So if you start your new bed now while we’re in the heat of summer, you should have a beautiful new planting spot in fall.

Kate Jerome, a Kenosha writer and teacher, holds a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and is the former Urban Farm director at Gateway Technical College. She is the owner of the consulting business Kate Jerome’s Garden to Kitchen. Her website is www.kjerome.com.

Summer is a great time to explore Wisconsin’s rich natural resources. When you camp, bike or hike, you may encounter diverse trees, shrubs or vines, but none are as easily recognizable as “poison ivy” (Toxodendron radicans) with its distinct three leaflets.

Poison ivy, native to North America, is a perennial woody vine but can also have variable growth habits, from being an upright shrub or a creeping groundcover in its early stage. It is a common pesky plant found in pastures, roadsides, fence rows, wooded forests, beaches and parks.

Poison ivy has distinct alternate compound leaves with three leaflets, where the middle leaflet is slightly larger in size and attached to a short stalk. Generally, the leaflets are oval shaped with pointy tips, with variable margins and textures (serrated, even, lobed, shiny, dull or hairy). In late summer, poison ivy produces clusters of whitish berries and its seeds are spread by birds through droppings.

The plant is noted for its toxic resinous oil called urushiol, causing severe itching, inflammation or blisters on the skin. The entire plant, including its roots, leaves and stems, can secrete the urushiol oil.

Generally, urushiol is a colorless oil, but it can have a slight tinge of yellow in main stems and roots. The oil has strong adherence and can spread through garden tools, clothing materials, boots or even pets that have been in contact with the plant. Urushiol can remain active even on dead plants and roots for two years, and any attempt to burn the dead plants can risk releasing the toxic vapor, causing severe allergic reactions.

To prevent poison ivy injury, get a positive identification of the plants on your property and mark off the section that contains a large population of then. Young boxelder seedlings (opposite leaves) and Virginia creeper (five leaflets) can be easily confused with poison ivy. Always wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants with boots when spending time in the poison-ivy infested area.

Isolate the contaminated clothes, including gloves and boots, after working in the infested area and wash them in hot, soapy water. Use wipes to clean gardening tools that may have come in contact with the plant.

If exposed to the urushiol oil, wash the infected skin in running cold water immediately. Avoid using complexion soap, as it tend to spread the oil on the skin. Poison ivy cleansing products (like Tecnu skin cleanser, Poison Ivy scrubs) can help remove the oil from the skin with four to eight hours after exposure.

Magnesium sulfate can also help to detoxify the oil and ease the itching. It is best to apply preventive lotions (like Ivy Shield, Ivy block lotion) while working in a known infested area to minimize the risk of poison ivy effect on skin.

Always wear long, thick, water-proof rubber gloves when treating and handling poison ivy plants. The use of herbicides containing active ingredients like glyphosate (Roundup) and triclopyr (Brush killer) are effective in controlling poison ivy. Spot treat the young plant on less windy days or cut the main stems of the shrub or woody vine to the ground and paint the stump with concentrated herbicide. Fall treatment is effective in controlling poison ivy. Always read the product label for its safety and use instructions.

Do not put the poison ivy brush materials into your regular compost pile. It is best to bag the brush, label it and put it in the trash. Do not burn the brush pile.

After removing the brush, clean the infested ground for any leftover poison ivy berries, leaves, stems and roots. The oil can still remain active in the soil surface even after the cleanup and it is best to avoid exposing the contaminated soil surface by adding layers of clean wood chip mulch on the site.

Established in Wisconsin in the 1990s, the Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica) is a voracious defoliator of many landscape and garden plants. Roses, birches, lindens, grapes, raspberries, Norway maples, beans, apples, plums, crabapples, elms, beech, asparagus and rhubarb are some of its favorite plant species.

Typically, Japanese beetles begin to emerge in late June and early July in Wisconsin, with peak activity for six to eight weeks. Adult beetles are active during the daytime and can fly an average of one to two miles. The female beetles prefer to lay eggs in the soil of lawns and other turfgrass areas. The eggs hatch in about two weeks and the larvae (white grubs) feed on and can damage turf grass.

Japanese beetles are tough to control in the landscape, especially when bees and other beneficial insects are active during the same time. Following are some best management options to control Japanese beetle adults and grub that can minimize impacts on pollinators:

Although Japanese beetle feeding damage may be noticeable on landscape plants, well-established trees and shrubs generally tolerate damage without impacting bud emergence the following season. However, regular, severe defoliation can make some landscape plants more susceptible to secondary problems. Tree species like birch and lindens suffering from severe foliar feeding damage over years can attract native borers, which can kill the stressed trees. To minimize the stress of defoliation on sensitive tree species, boost plant health during growing season with water, nutrients and other proper tree care practices. For large trees with defoliation concerns, it is advisable to consult a certified arborist about management options. To find a certified arborist, visit https://www.treesaregood.org/findanarborist/findanarborist.

Small shrubs like roses, and young Japanese maples, can be protected using nylon insect screens (mesh size less than or equal to 1/4 inch) from late June to early September over the plant and securing the edge of the screen to the ground.

Hand picking or knocking the beetles into a container of soapy water can be helpful for small plants when limited numbers of adult beetles are present in a yard or garden.

Acelepryn (Chlorantraniliprole) is a reduced-risk insecticide product and is effective in controlling adult beetles on ornamental plants as a foliar application. It has low toxicity to bees, other pollinators, pets and humans. Read the product label for spray application instruction.

Pheromone lure traps are not recommended for Japanese beetles. Such traps can indeed capture large numbers of Japanese beetles, but attract many more to the general area, which can result in additional damage.

Choosing less-favored plant species can minimize the impact of Japanese beetles in the landscape. Plants like arborvitae, boxwood, clematis, dogwood, forsythia, hemlock, hickory, holly, juniper, lilac, magnolia, northern red oak, pine, red maples, sweet gum, tulip tree and yews have shown lesser feeding damage to Japanese beetle. (Referenced from Iowa State University Extension).

Bacillus thuringiensis galleriae (Btg) is a bio-insecticide which can help protect foliage from adult Japanese beetles. It can be found in the product beetleGONE!, which is approved for organic production. Btg has a broad label and can be used on a wide range of landscape plants.

Organic insecticides containing azadirachtinor pyrethrins can be sprayed on landscape plants in late evening once pollinator activity subsides. Repeat the application as needed according to the product label until the beetle activity subsides for the season. Be sure to read the insecticide product label for its instruction and safety precautions.

Hand picking or knocking the beetles into a container of soapy water can be helpful for small plants when limited numbers of adult beetles are present in a yard or garden.

Bacillus thuringiensis galleriae (Btg) and organic insecticides containing azadirachtin or pyrethrins (as noted for trees and shrubs) cand also be used on vegetables and berry crops.

Withhold turf irrigation from July to mid-August when the beetles are in their peak active season. This may help in preventing the adult beetles from laying their eggs in dry turf areas.

Mow any flowering weeds before scheduling liquid applications of preventive or curative grub treatment products in turf areas. This will minimize the spray impact on any foraging bee activity during application periods.

Mowing of flowering weeds is not needed if using granular or pelleted grub treatment products in the turf followed by light irrigation to move the product into the thatch layer. Other option is to use the reduced risk insecticide product Acelepryn followed by light irrigation as preventive grub treatment application in turf.

Use of biological control products like Bacillus papillae (Milky spores), fungal organisms like Beauveria bassiana and Metarrhiizium brunneum and entomopathogenic nematodes have provided inconsistent control of Japanese beetle grubs in field tests. The effectiveness of the biological control products can be greatly influenced by environmental conditions including temperature, soil type, soil moisture and pH.

I’ve been reading quite a bit about climate change and its effect on the world of horticulture. For those folks whose livelihood depends on the crops they grow, it’s an especially serious — and scary — challenge. I know we’ve all been concerned about our Midwest farmers due to the excessive spring rains. Hobby gardeners have seen the impact, too.

Odd-sized tulips, half-dead forsythia; warmer, shorter winters, hotter summers; erratic precipitation and newer, stronger pests along with unusual diseases are just a few of the things we can attribute to climate change.

Harlequin bugs (Murgantia histrionic) — once limited to Mexico, then to the southern United States — are now commonplace in Wisconsin. These brightly colored insects can decimate your cruciferous crops, but they don’t stop there. They’ll eat grapes, beans, squash, potatoes, horseradish and a plethora of other foods and they eat far more than their fair share; their appetites are nearly insatiable.

Technically, they aren’t really supposed to be in our part of the world; previously, our region wasn’t warm enough for them to flourish. Thankfully, our northern region still only allows the population to produce one new generation a year; in southern regions they can reproduce up to three times.

These observed phenomena are confirmed by legitimate scientific data verifying the ice sheets are melting, the oceans are warming rapidly and the weather is more “unpredictable” and extreme. Experts believe that greenhouse gases from human activity are behind much of it, though I’ve heard there are some powerful skeptics out there. I am not one of those skeptics; I trust the science — and my own eyes.

Climate change and these realities are accepted science in most of the world and those of us who spend time in gardens, in forests, at the beaches or anywhere in nature can see and feel the truth of it. While we need to think globally — and have the option to get involved in climate justice initiatives — what can we do in our little corner of the world to combat climate change? Practicing permaculture principles, growing everything organically, collecting rainwater, growing less turf and planting more trees are just some of the things we can do to make a difference.

We’re going to have to do our homework, too, and be better informed. The “right plant, right place” proverb is changing. What used to be the right plant may no longer be suitable. We need to select plants for our zone, but broaden our palette a bit. Instead of the usual suspects, perhaps choose varieties that are more resilient when faced with the extremes. With the rise of new pests and disease, diversity in our landscapes is more important than ever, too.

Another important note that will help us all: We should be communicating with fellow gardeners and horticulturalists, getting involved in our local garden clubs and communities and paying attention to the things that seem “out of the ordinary” — and discussing those things.

Rae Punzel is a Kenosha writer and horticulturalist. She owns Bennu Organics, a horticulture services and consulting business. Contact her at bennuorganics@gmail.com.

“Water utility workers were flushing out the fire hydrants, and my kids and their friends followed them to each fire hydrant and LOVED playing in the water. What a perfect day for them to be doing this! My son (Gunner) kept saying, ‘This is the best day of summer ever!!’”

ummer Fun at Anderson Park - Family Reunion 2019. Caden and Dawson Bezotte with Charlie and Arron Koessl

Summer squashes can mature quickly under warm weather and the fruits will be ready to harvest within four to eight days after flowering. Harvest the summer squash when the fruits are tender, small to medium size and it’s easy to puncture the fruit skin with a fingernail. The seeds inside the fruit should also be soft and edible. Typically the elongated varieties should be harvested when the fruit reaches two inches or less in diameter and are about six to eight inches long. Scallop (patty pan) types are harvested when the fruits are about three to four inches in diameter.

Mulching during growing season benefits the tomato plant in many ways. Mulching helps in conserving soil moisture, smothers annual weeds, keeps the soil temperature relatively cooler and minimizes the soil splash carrying the fungal spores to the lower leaves. To mulch your tomatoes, use organic materials like clean straw, rice hulls, crushed corncobs or shredded newspaper (black ink) around the base of the plants and between the rows to about two to three inches deep. Do not use treated grass clippings or any plant parts from black walnut or butternut trees for mulching.

Too much shade, hot weather, dense planting (seedlings not thinned at proper distance apart) and over-fertilization can cause poor root growth in radishes.

Caging is an effective way to support and contain an overgrown tomato plant. Standard wire mesh cages sold at the garden centers need additional anchorage to support the plant and are not big enough to contain large-size tomato plants. Gardeners can build their own tomato cages using concrete reinforcement mesh or hog pen fence formed into a cylindrical ring with the bottom ends staked into the ground. These large cages provide better support to the indeterminate tomato varieties. They can also be installed in raised beds and the mesh size is large enough to allow easy harvest of the fruits inside the cage.

Vijai Pandian is a horticulture educator for UW-Madison Extension in Kenosha, Milwaukee and Racine counties.

Have you ever considered using perennials, groundcovers and even shrubs in containers for summer interest? In our Midwestern climate, few perennials will make it through the winter in a pot, but if you are willing to plant them in the ground at the end of the season, you can increase your palette of plants manyfold.

Garden centers are beginning to put their summer plants on sale, and this is a great time to refill your containers that have tired pansies or spent spring bulbs with color to get you through the rest of the summer.

Perennials and groundcovers are a bit more expensive than annual plants, but you get the bonus of enjoying them in the containers and then increasing your plants in the landscape. The expense is well worth it, especially because of the increased choices available.

Sedums will give you many choices in color, size and texture, from creeping groundcovers to the stalwart upright Autumn Joy. There are varieties with blue, silver and maroon leaves, and flowers in all shades of red, pink, coral and white. They thrive in most conditions, especially the dry soil usually found in containers. Best of all, the upright varieties have lovely fresh leaves in early summer, the blossoms open in mid to late summer, and then they dry on the plant for fall interest.

Lavender is another plant of choice for its lovely purple blossoms and silvery-gray foliage. Again, these plants thrive in drier conditions so are well suited to a container. One recommendation to help them survive the winter is to plant them in the garden in early fall, and plant the entire pot without disturbing the root ball too much. This helps them establish themselves better for winter.

Even a pot of hostas combined with vining moneywort provides fresh green foliage all summer. Variegated hostas will give you a lovely, unusual pot of color.

Coreopsis, with its mantle of golden yellow, will bloom all summer in a container. All you have to do is deadhead it regularly, and combine it with silvery lambs ears or maroon-purple leaved bugleweed with its complement of pink or purple flowers for a striking combination.

Roses, especially miniatures, make wonderful container plants. They tolerate dry conditions and will bloom for you in all shades and shapes throughout the summer. Their foliage is a lovely backdrop to combine with other herbs and perennials, and the blossoms give you color and fragrance as well.

Once you begin thinking about using perennial plants in containers, the sky’s the limit as to what you can use. Wander through the garden center with a whole different view of perennials and groundcovers! Just remember that they must be planted in the ground to survive the winter.

Kate Jerome, a Kenosha writer and teacher, holds a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and is the former Urban Farm director at Gateway Technical College. She is the owner of the consulting business Kate Jerome’s Garden to Kitchen. Her website is www.kjerome.com.

The benefits of gardening and spending time in garden environments have been documented since the earliest times.

Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the “Father of American Psychiatry,” documented the positive effects of working in the garden for individuals with mental illness.

Then in the 1940s and ’50s, this specialized therapy was used to rehabilitate war veterans. This expanded the practice; it has since been embraced for a much wider range of therapeutic possibilities.

There has been an ongoing research study since 2010 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham that partners cancer survivors with garden coaches to plan, plant, maintain and harvest vegetable gardens at the survivors’ homes over a 12-month period of time.

The researchers measure things like range of motion, strength and flexibility, improved diet (with increased vegetable consumption) and general well-being. As you might suspect, the results have been incredibly positive — and the majority of the participants continued to garden after the initial year.

These therapy techniques can help participants learn new skills or regain those lost due to trauma of all sorts.

Horticultural therapy has been shown to help improve memory, language skills, cognitive abilities and socialization. When used for physical rehabilitation, it can help improve coordination, balance and endurance as well as strengthen muscles.

It comes as no surprise to many of us that gardening is scientifically proven to be good for all sorts of health concerns — even the very soil we work holds microbes that have anti-depressant properties. There are studies involving a substance in soil called mycobacterium vaccae, which seems to mirror the effects on neurons that certain pharmaceutical medications provide. This bacterium may stimulate serotonin production, which makes us feel relaxed and happier. The added bonus is that the bacterium has no adverse health effects.

Most avid gardeners will tell you that they are most peaceful and happy in their gardens, and science can explain why, at least in part. It doesn’t seem to matter if we garden for the beauty of it or to grow our own food — or both. The benefits from gardening are too numerous to count.

There is happiness, health and peace to be found in a garden. Let’s get our hands dirty — and get happy — today!

As Summerfest 2019 starts its final weekend, there’s still plenty of time to catch a regional favorite (The Love Monkeys Saturday night) and a Pleasant Prairie-based band (Christian hard rockers Skillet, also Saturday night).

And if you’re not fond of standing in a huge crowd, craning your neck to see who’s performing on stage, the Milwaukee festival offers other attractions, including the Summerfest Store (because you NEED another Summerfest T-shirt, right?), cool summer fun with paddleboats and stand-up paddleboard and kayak lessons and the always popular Skyglider ride.

Also performing: country teen sensation Tegan Marie (8 p.m., Uline Warehouse) and two Milwaukee faves: The Love Monkeys (8 p.m., JoJo’s Martini Bar) and Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound (8 p.m., World Stage). Kenosha-based Christian hard rockers Skillet — made up of John Cooper (lead vocals/bass), Korey Cooper (guitar/keyboards), Jen Ledger (drums/vocals) and Seth Morrison (lead guitar) — perform at 10 p.m. at the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard Stage. The group’s latest album, “Victorious,” is set drop on Aug. 2.

Promotion: From noon to 3 p.m., the first 1,500 people who donate new or gently used children’s books (preferably picture books and early readers for children, birth through age 10) with a $10 minimum value will receive one admission ticket.

Also performing: Mellow singer/songwriter Jason Mraz (9:45 p.m., BMO Harris Pavilion), Milwaukee’s own Willy Porter (8 p.m., Uline Warehouse) and Mexican acoustic rock guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela (9:45 p.m., Uline Warehouse). The World Stage goes classy with the Florentine Opera Company performing at 2 p.m., and Steely Dane — a Steely Dan tribute band featuring former Kenoshans Al Falaschi and Courtney Larsen — performs at 6 p.m. at the BMO Harris Pavilion.

Promotion: Celebrate the final day of this year’s Big Gig with Summerfest Fan Appreciation Day. Everyone gets in free ... from noon to 3 p.m.

The Four Seasons Garden Club’s “Secret Garden Walk” tour on Saturday (July 13) features gardens at seven private homes, plus an “Introduction to Chiwaukee Prairie,” presented by the Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund.

The tour features “the diverse worlds these talented and generous homeowners share with us,” said Garden Club member Lynda Guy, who helps coordinate the event each year.

Guy added that club members “look for outstanding gardens” to feature on this popular tour each summer.

Organizers also try to pick tour stops that are located close to one another to make it easier for people taking part in the self-guided tour.

Home of Dale Van Vlissingen, 10708 Lakeshore Drive in Pleasant Prairie. Her gardens are “inspired by Lake Michigan in front and the Chiwaukee Prairie to the back.”

Van Vlissingen’s gardens have been “evolving over the last 15 years,” she said, and “continue to be a labor of love and a work in progress.”

Her front yard opens to Lake Michigan across the street, with a white picket fence — interlaced with several varieties of clematis — providing structure. Her yard also features a flagstone patio, with a bubbling fountain, along with a wooden deck.

The Garden Club’s Guy calls this “a classic ‘cottage garden’ look. It’s just so darn pretty!”

Home of Pat and Jodie Cascio, 9827 Third Ave. in Pleasant Prairie. The couple attribute the “whimsical creativity” in their gardens to their “past experiences, family and dreamed-up imaginations.”

Their garden “began almost 10 years ago with a blank slate, an enthused gardener and a sod cutter.”

Today, that “blank slate” is home to “hundreds of varieties of plants, several garden beds and a variety of trees decorating our yard.”

As the gardens increase in size, the Cascios have gone vertical to capture more space, including tall, self-watering planter columns.

Home of Kris and Randy Rich, 9902 11th Ave. in Pleasant Prairie. “We bought our house 14 years ago from a nice couple who enjoyed gardening,” Kris Rich said. Rich believed “it would be an easy task taking on someone’s existing gardens” but discovered “how wrong I was.”

The Richs have spent the past 14 years “pulling, moving, sharing and composting plants,” with Kris Rich, adding that “every minute has been a labor of love.”

Now, their huge vegetable garden “feeds my family, friends and families of friends — and what is leftover I can and preserve,” Kris Rich said.

Home of Ruth and Tom Clark, 6861 Third Ave. in Kenosha. “In the more than 30 years that we have lived in this home, our garden has changed and evolved many times,” Ruth Clark said.

She calls their garden a series of “happy accidents,” with plants shared by neighbors and a former sandbox morphing into their granddaughter’s vegetable garden. Those “happy accidents” also apply to Tom Clark’s mosaic pieces, created using broken china. Look for his art pieces throughout the garden.

Home of Heather Carnevale, 1709 79th St. in Kenosha. Carnevale calls her garden “January dreams,” talking about dreaming of creating an English rose garden after moving into the home in January of 2011.

Since then, the garden has bloomed and now features more than 100 roses, with varieties including English, hybrid teas, floribundas, grandifloras, shrubs and climbers.

“My other love is lilies,” Carnevale said, and – thanks to her collection — “the smell of the lilies wafts through the neighborhood each summer.”

Home of Liz and Paul Dutton, 1923 81st St. in Kenosha. “This is my second time on the garden tour,” Liz Dutton said, “and since then, I have doubled the size of my yard.”

Working on such a large garden, she explained, “is not work; it’s how I play. Gardening centers me. It’s a grounding, comforting necessity for me.”

She’s been “planting this property for 30-plus years, and I keep planting.” Her aim is to “build a yard that keeps blooming from March through November.” Her style of gardening, she added, is “beautiful imperfection.”

Home of Pat Haun and Belinda Grantham, 8323 43rd Ave. in Kenosha. When they bought their home, the backyard was so overgrown, a shed was completely hidden, and a thistle weed “was so established,” Belinda Grantham said, “it had to be chopped down with an ax to be removed.”

Their goal, she added, “is to have our front yard look inviting and our backyard to be relaxing.”

The tour is the garden club’s main fundraiser each year. Proceeds are used to support community efforts and scholarships.

Don’t you absolutely love it when you visit a gardening friend and come home with plants? It’s what we do as gardeners and plant lovers — we share our beloved treasures.

Buying plants can be so expensive, and it helps all of us to have even better gardens when we can share with others. I recently put out the call to my friends that I was putting in a new shade garden and I would be willing to trade some sun plants for shade plants. I had iris, coneflowers, black-eyed susans and penstemon that needed dividing.

So, the plants have drifted in — hostas, hellebores, solomon’s seal, ferns. Instead of having to design my bed and start from scratch, I’m getting to be creative with my gifted plants. And I will start with a fairly full garden instead of with small plants that cost a fortune. I can save my pennies for those special plants I want to purchase.

This sharing is such a joy, especially because it means that every time I look at those plants, I get to remember the friend who gave them to me. It’s a double joy — beautiful plants and sweet friendship.

I save all of my plastic pots since I know they will be put to use to share plants. One thing I’m fairly careful about is cleaning out the containers with a 10 percent bleach solution just to make sure no disease gets transferred. There is nothing quite as devastating as introducing a pest or disease into the garden that you didn’t have before.

I also check any plants that have been shared carefully before putting them in the garden. I actually have an area where I leave them in sort of a quarantine for a week or so to see if there are any problems. If something appears, I dispose of the plant. I assume my friends do the same thing. It may seem cruel, but as gardeners, we are nothing if not practical. Nobody wants more work, especially of trying to control a problem that wasn’t there earlier.

Another great trick to saving money is to purchase perennials that are fairly substantial in size, and then dividing them among friends even before putting them in the garden. My gardening friends and I love to shop of course, and making an evening or afternoon of it with the aim to buy plants you all love and share immediately is immensely satisfying. This doesn’t work with shrubs, but perennials and annuals are prime candidates. Spending $20 on a good-sized perennial with a good root system and then dividing it three ways means you all get a good start on a plant for only $7 apiece. And lunch with friends as a bonus!

Kate Jerome, a Kenosha writer and teacher, holds a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and is the former Urban Farm director at Gateway Technical College. She is the owner of the consulting business Kate Jerome’s Garden to Kitchen. Her website is www.kjerome.com.

July is the prime time to keep up with your garden maintenance. Beyond weeding and mulching, there are other essential chores that can help your landscape and garden plants stay healthy and fresh.

1 Schedule your second lawn fertilization with 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet around the first week of July. For grasses in shaded areas, use 1/2 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. Irrigate your lawn lightly after scheduling your fertilization.

2 Prune tomato suckers and train the vine to increase air flow movement around the plant. Tomato suckers are the short shoots that arise on the leaf axil. On three-feet row spacing, leave the bottom two suckers and the main stems of the tomato to develop. Any other suckers are pruned on a continuous basis about once a week.

3 Schedule a preventive fungicide application using chlorothalonil or copper based products labeled for vegetable use to protect your tomatoes from early blight and septoria leaf spot disease. These two diseases cause severe defoliation on the lower leaves and could collapse the entire plant if unchecked at an early stage.

4 Invasive wild parsnip is in bloom, so be cautious when mowing along the roadsides and ditches. The poisonous sap of wild parsnip can cause significant blisters and rashes on exposed skin under sunlight. When working on an infested area, always wear rubber gloves, goggles, long-sleeve shirt, pants and boots. It’s wise to work after sunset to minimize the risk of getting your skin exposed to sunlight.

5 It is high time to prune spring flowering shrubs like lilac, forsythia, weigela, viburnums, fothergillas, fringetree, flowering quinces, snowberry, Japanese kerria, daphne, deutzia. Pruning at this time of the year will not affect the flower bud development for next season; however, don’t wait until mid-July to prune the spring-flowering shrubs.

6 Many ash trees in the southeast Wisconsin region have been hard hit with emerald ash borer and are showing signs of dead limbs, cracked bark and dead trees. Call a certified arborist to prune dead ash trees and branches. Prompt pruning of the dead limbs and trees can minimize the storm damage risk. You can find the list of certified arborists at https://www.treesaregood.org/findanarborist.

Vijai Pandian is a horticulture educator for UW-Madison Extension in Kenosha, Milwaukee and Racine counties.

With its attractive purple-pinkish to white fragrant flowers, dame’s rocket (Hesperis matronalis) is a highly invasive plant that can quickly displace the native vegetation along roadside ditches, wooded and open areas. Dame’s rocket is commonly visible in its peak blooming stage from late spring to early summer and can be confused with garden phlox due to its similar flower color.

However, the two species have a few distinguishing characteristics: the garden phlox has five petals whereas dame’s rocket has four petals, and the leaves of garden phlox are opposite and non-serrated whereas dame’s rocket has alternative and serrated leaves.

Dame’s rocket lives about two to three years and reproduces by seeds during its second or third year of growth. To successfully manage dame’s rocket, it is important to cut or mow the flower head immediately after it’s done blooming to prevent the seed formation. Hand pulling and bagging the plant for landfill disposal can be effective on small areas.

Weed control in asparagus should be started early in the season before the weeds emerge in the bed. Organic pre-emergent herbicides like corn-gluten meal can be applied in the spring (too late to apply now) to prevent the germination of the weeds. Hand hoeing or shallow cultivation (no deeper than two to three inches) using a rototiller between the rows can help in keeping the weeds under control. Mulching to a depth of three to four inches around the plant can prevent and smother the weeds.

Spot treatment with Roundup can be sprayed immediately after the last harvest of all spears on the emerged broadleaved and grassy weeds, but make sure the herbicide does not get in contact with the ferns or spears.

Grassy weeds in the patch can be controlled by using a selective herbicide like Poast. It should be sprayed on actively growing grass and should not be applied more than twice in the season. Read the product label for safety and instruction.

One of the popular misconceptions to control garden weeds is the use of salt. Though salt can provide some weed control without harming asparagus, it will ruin the structure of the soil due to the sodium content. Salt can eventually kill the asparagus plant and can leach into nearby garden soil and destroy desired crops. Sodium in the salt displaces the other nutrients from binding the soil and can cause poor water penetration. Do not apply salt in your garden.

Vijai Pandian is a horticulture educator for UW-Madison Extension in Kenosha, Milwaukee and Racine counties.

Many gardeners, farmers and landscape professionals are ready to throw in their soggy towels in complete despair this spring. Many of us are tempted to get out there in our rubber boots and “just do it” anyway, but we’d do well to proceed with caution.

Stomping around in the too wet garden bed is simply not a good idea because it causes soil compaction; soil is fragile and should be handled with care.

The right combination of air, soil and water is a delicate balance, and when we compact our soil it reduces the air flow and limits our baby plant root system’s ability to flourish. If we take care of our soil, it will reward us with wonderful results. While the saturated soil is not the best for planting, there are many things we can do while the ground dries out a bit.

Landscape projects that have been put on the back burner because planting, weeding and harvesting took precedence last season are good things to tackle if the soil is too wet. Is there a fence that needs mending — or installed? Is there a garden bed border that would add the perfect touch? If you’ve been considering taking out an area of turf and turning it into a perennial bed, now is a good time to do it; just try not to further compact the new bed in the process.

Container plantings are popular during wet springs, and help satisfy our seasonal appetites by getting our hands in the (potting) soil and planting our herbs, vegetables and colorful annuals.

How do we know if our soil is ready to do its work? There is a very simple soil test that will give you the answer. Pick up a small handful of soil and squeeze it together as if making a ball. If you are able to squeeze water out of the soil or it stays in a ball when you open your hand, it’s too wet. If, on the other hand, it breaks apart easily when you bounce it in your hand or toss it in the air, it’s safe to plant and do all those other wonderful spring gardening chores we love so much. Whether it’s digging, planting or weeding, loose, moist soil is the ideal.

We all know that mulching is fabulous, and hopefully we finished our fall mulching in a timely fashion; if we did, it is helping tremendously. Mulch reduces weed growth, protects our perennials from extreme temperatures, helps limit soil erosion and run-off, retains moisture and helps to create an organically rich soil ecosystem as it breaks down. If we didn’t do our mulching, we’re likely looking at a lot of weeds right now.

Depending on your garden’s location, perhaps now is the time to get some neglected (or dream!) projects underway, and this soggy spring will serve as a reminder that end of the season mulching more than pays us back for our efforts.

Rae Punzel is a Kenosha writer and horticulturalist. She owns Bennu Organics, a horticulture services and consulting business. Contact her at bennuorganics@gmail.com.

Dear Car Talk: Is it possible for lug nuts to loosen over a period of time (after 2,500 miles) if they were improperly installed?

I had seasonal tires changed at a service location, and about a month later, six lug nuts were missing (four on the right rear and two on the left rear).

The service center is stating that it is unlikely that they are responsible. However, I am hearing and reading otherwise from other sources. — Barbara

Oh, it’s very likely that they are responsible. Someone forgot to tighten your lug nuts or didn’t tighten them enough. And that’s exactly what will happen.

Over time, they’ll slowly work their way loose. Every time you hit a pothole or a bump, they’ll get a little looser. Until finally, one falls off. Of course, you won’t notice that. Then, a few days or a week later, another one falls off. Eventually (if you’re lucky), the car will start shaking, and the wheel will make banging noises as it wobbles around. That’s when you check and find out you were one lug nut away from a major accident.

Normally, when we install tires, we’ll start by tightening the lug nuts in a crisscross pattern. Then we’ll go around once clockwise to make sure they’re all tight. It’s a simple job, really. It’s something shops do many times a day. But doing it wrong can be deadly; it’s important to have safety systems in place so no one drives out of your shop with loose lug nuts. That’s auto mechanics 101.

Who knows what happened in the shop that day? Maybe the mechanic’s battery powered wrench was low on power? Maybe the roach coach arrived, and he had a sudden urge for a tofu burrito and forgot which wheels he’d already tightened.

In any case, I’d let this shop know that, having spoken to other mechanics, you are quite certain they neglected to tighten your lug nuts properly, and it created a very dangerous situation for you. Tell them you hope they will be putting better systems in place with their employees to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

It’s the time of year when a walk through the garden centers or even a friend’s yard brings lustful thoughts about plants to acquire for one’s own garden.

But beware! Some plants that are freely sold have a dark side. It’s your responsibility as a steward of the environment to know what you are buying and just what its characteristics are as far as escaping the bounds of the landscape. I put in gooseneck loosestrife a few years ago, and it quickly took over a bed. I didn’t like the fact that it seemed capable of taking over so I took it out (and it took me several years to get rid of it all).

A couple of examples that most of us are familiar with are the kudzu vine of the southeast and the purple loosestrife of our wetlands. But did you know that English ivy, vinca and Virginia creeper can be just as invasive? And oriental bittersweet has become almost as invasive as grapevine in the northeast part of the country.

Some of the characteristics that make an invasive plant include no natural enemies, rapid growth and early maturity, production of many seeds, ability to reproduce by runners or stolons, seeds that are dispersed widely, seeds that germinate quickly and seeds that are produced asexually.

Most native plants don’t become invasive easily, so it’s worth the time to do the research on any plant you are buying. The ones that tend to give us trouble are those that are imported from other parts of the world, other climates. Tatarian honeysuckle, multiflora rose, garlic mustard and buckthorn are good examples.

Without management, invasive plants can eventually dominate an entire ecosystem, reducing the natural diversity by changing the environment and crowding out the native species. Diversity in a biologic community means stability, and changing one part of the system sends a ripple throughout the system.

Many invasive species are not appropriate in the natural landscape, but we need to consider the situation of each “invasive” plant before doing whole scale removal. We need to consider the ecological impact on an individual habitat before sweeping in with our chainsaws and herbicides.

For example, what about the tree of heaven that grows in the heart of the city between cracks in the sidewalk? Tree-of-heaven is a major weed species, but if it’s the only thing that will grow in the harsh urban environment, I certainly wouldn’t recommend taking it out.

What about the thicket of white poplars that graces the nearby bank of the Des Plaines river and is home to an amazing number of bird species? Removal of these would not only mean loss of habitat for the birds, but also a serious erosion problem for the riverbanks.

Kate Jerome, a Kenosha writer and teacher, holds a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and is the former Urban Farm director at Gateway Technical College. She is the owner of the consulting business Kate Jerome’s Garden to Kitchen. Her website is www.kjerome.com.

Members of the Silver Lake American Legion and VFW Posts give a gun salute at the Memorial Day service at the Schultz-Hahn American Legion Post 293 in Silver Lake.

Fran Carr and husband Bill Carr, an 86-year-old Korean War veteran, watch the flag and colors pass during Monday’s Memorial Day parade in Twin Lakes.

Jim Holter, far left, and other members of the Kenosha Area Vietnam Veterans Honor Guard fire a salute during the Kenosha Area Vietnam Veterans service honoring POW/MIAs at Library Park on Monday.

Bennet Clinkingbeard, second from left, Cub Scout Pack 570, holds the Navy flag before the start of the Kenosha VFW Junker-Ball Post 1865 flag retirement ceremony on Monday.

Roy Beals, Sr., second from right, past commander of Kenosha VFW Junker-Ball Post 1865, places a flag for burning during a flag retirement ceremony on Monday, May 27, 2019. Beals was honored with a plaque unveiling for his service to the Post. Manny Salas, third from left, and Dewey Linhart, right, salute.

Manny Salas, second from left, salutes as Roy Beals, Sr., right, past commander of Kenosha VFW Junker-Ball Post 1865, places a flag for burning during a flag retirement ceremony on Monday, May 27, 2019. Beals was honored with a plaque unveiling for his service to the Post.

Roy Beals, Sr., past commander of Kenosha VFW Junker-Ball Post 1865, places a flag for burning during a flag retirement ceremony on Monday, May 27, 2019. Beals was honored with a plaque unveiling for his service to the Post.

Jim Zeszutek, right, commander of Navy Club Ship 40, salutes during a service at Navy Park on Monday, May 27, 2019. The Kenosha Police honor guard is behind him.

A memorial wreath is cast into the harbor. Navy Club Ship 40 service at Navy Park on Monday, May 27, 2019.

Bob Brown, left, a Marine Corps veteran and Navy Club Ship 40 chaplain, salutes the flag during a Ship 40 service at Navy Park on Monday. See more Memorial Day photos on pages A5 and A6.

Kenosha Police honor guard fires a salute during the Navy Club Ship 40 service at Navy Park on Monday, May 27, 2019.

Above, Don Burns rings the bell during the Navy Club Ship 40 service at Navy Park on Monday. In the photo at left, veterans Phil Morris, left, and Jon Sutter carry the colors into the American Legion Paul Herrick Post 21 service at Green Ridge Cemetery on Monday.

A memorial wreath is cast into the harbor. Navy Club Ship 40 service at Navy Park on Monday, May 27, 2019.

Jack Rose throws a flower into the harbor after the Navy Club Ship 40 service at Navy Park on Monday, May 27, 2019.

Sue Green hugs Larry Olle, a member of the Kenosha Area Vietnam Veterans honor guard before the American Legion Paul Herrick Post 21 service at Green Ridge Cemetery Monday, May 27, 2019.

Hailey Reynolds holds a flag during the American Legion Paul Herrick Post 21 service at Green Ridge Cemetery Monday, May 27, 2019.

Veterans Phil Morris, left, and Jon Sutter carry the colors into the American Legion Paul Herrick Post 21 service at Green Ridge Cemetery Monday, May 27, 2019.

Terry Litz, left, a U.S. Army veteran salutes with Linda Jordan during the American Legion Paul Herrick Post 21 service at Green Ridge Cemetery Monday, May 27, 2019.

Al Vittori, right, salutes during the American Legion Paul Herrick Post 21 service at Green Ridge Cemetery Monday, May 27, 2019.

Jared Ziegelbauer, second from left, leads a honor guard of Boy Scouts from Troop 522 during the Pleasant Prairie VFW 7308 service at Old St. Mark’s Cemetery on Monday, May 27, 2019.

Jared Ziegelbauer, right, leads a honor guard of Boy Scouts from Troop 522 during the Pleasant Prairie VFW 7308 service at Old St. Mark’s Cemetery on Monday, May 27, 2019.

Kenosha Police honor guard fires a salute during the Pleasant Prairie VFW 7308 service at Old St. Mark’s Cemetery on Monday, May 27, 2019.

Rick Janus, said he honors the memory of his father, a Vietnam Air Force veteran, as he plays taps during the Pleasant Prairie VFW 7308 service at Old St. Mark’s Cemetery on Monday, May 27, 2019.

Jacob Reynolds, left, Brooklyn Reyolds and Hailey Reyolds joined their aunt Cherie Bowker, fourth from left, for the Kenosha Area Vietnam Veterans service honoring POW/MIAs at Library Park on Monday, May 27, 2019.

Vietnam veterans create the Battlefield Cross during a Memorial Day ceremony Sunday at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery outside Union Grove.

Flags adorn veterans' graves at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery outside Union Grove.

1st Sgt. David Litrenta salutes during the POW/MIA ceremony, which was part of the Memorial Day ceremony Sunday at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery outside Union Grove.

Mary M. Kolar, secretary-designee for the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, speaks during a Memorial Day ceremony Sunday at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery outside Union Grove.

U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis., speaks during a Memorial Day ceremony Sunday at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery outside Union Grove.

Gov. Tony Evers speaks during a Memorial Day ceremony Sunday at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery outside Union Grove.

Lisa Bizler, representing Gold Star Mothers, places a wreath during a Memorial Day ceremony Sunday at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery outside Union Grove.

Pastor David DeBerge delivers the benediction during a Memorial Day ceremony Sunday at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery outside Union Grove.

Sgt. Tom Nachtwey plays taps at the conclusion of the Memorial Day ceremony Sunday at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery outside Union Grove.

This rain-drenched and cooler than average spring has been challenging to everyone, but I see my fellow gardeners out there visiting garden centers and favorite perennial suppliers regardless.

While the farmers are having the worst spring in recent history that borders on devastating, hobby gardeners are the eternal optimists. The sun will come out and the soggy ground will dry enough to work in our beds … eventually. We just know it.

Many have settled for focusing on container gardening while impatiently waiting, but I have also witnessed many mud-clad rubber boots as well. Gardeners are a hardy lot, to be certain.

There are benefits to our wetter than usual spring, too. Most have pleasantly discovered that spring flowers have lasted longer than usual and the blooms have been exceptional. Truth be told, though, torrential rains and drought are two sides of the same coin, and there is reason for concern.

What can we do to prepare for future rains and continued climate abnormalities as time goes on? Soil management is an excellent place to start, and landscapes DO matter when it comes to flooding rains as well as drought.

Permaculture principles work regardless. Permaculture is an ecological design movement created in the 1970s by Australian ecologists David Holmgren and Bill Mollison. The word “permaculture” is a contraction of the words “permanent” and “agriculture” and is an approach to sustainable food production and creating a symbiotic ecosystem that benefits all the beings involved. Permaculture, at its foundation, is information and design intensive and keeps a long-term vision for the land and the planet as a whole.

Modern permaculture designers were not the first people to make use of these principles to build soil and control erosion. Some of the most famous ancient sustainable farming designs used terracing methods to catch and store water and grow food on lands that would otherwise be deemed “useless.”

Geoff Lawton forever proved that these principles of water-conservation worked in a project called “Greening the Desert” in Jordan. Through a beautifully designed combination of mulching, microirrigation, contour swales and thoughtful planting, the team managed to grow food — in a relatively short time — where no one ever thought it possible. (Search “Greening the Desert” on Youtube for more on this seemingly miraculous project.)

What does this have to do with our rainy weather and too much water, you may ask? Well, those same permaculture principles that focus on water conservation plan for flooding as well. Those very same landscape modifications will direct the waters where harm is reduced and benefit is maximized. Those who have wetlands on or near their land, for example, know that extreme rains and water run-off on their property isn’t as detrimental as it can be for others. Permaculture principles allow us to work with Mother Nature instead of against her, and the benefits are long-lasting. These very principles will become even more important as climate change becomes more and more evident.

While we continue to believe that the rains will slow and the sun will come out, there are also things that we eternal optimists can do now to manage our soil and landscapes that will benefit us far into the future.

Rae Punzel is a Kenosha writer and horticulturalist. She owns Bennu Organics, a horticulture services and consulting business. Contact her at bennuorganics@gmail.com.

Members of the Silver Lake American Legion and VFW Posts give a gun salute at the Memorial Day service at the Schultz-Hahn American Legion Post 293 in Silver Lake.

Fran Carr and husband Bill Carr, an 86-year-old Korean War veteran, watch the flag and colors pass during Monday’s Memorial Day parade in Twin Lakes.

Jim Holter, far left, and other members of the Kenosha Area Vietnam Veterans Honor Guard fire a salute during the Kenosha Area Vietnam Veterans service honoring POW/MIAs at Library Park on Monday.

Bennet Clinkingbeard, second from left, Cub Scout Pack 570, holds the Navy flag before the start of the Kenosha VFW Junker-Ball Post 1865 flag retirement ceremony on Monday.

Roy Beals, Sr., second from right, past commander of Kenosha VFW Junker-Ball Post 1865, places a flag for burning during a flag retirement ceremony on Monday, May 27, 2019. Beals was honored with a plaque unveiling for his service to the Post. Manny Salas, third from left, and Dewey Linhart, right, salute.

Manny Salas, second from left, salutes as Roy Beals, Sr., right, past commander of Kenosha VFW Junker-Ball Post 1865, places a flag for burning during a flag retirement ceremony on Monday, May 27, 2019. Beals was honored with a plaque unveiling for his service to the Post.

Roy Beals, Sr., past commander of Kenosha VFW Junker-Ball Post 1865, places a flag for burning during a flag retirement ceremony on Monday, May 27, 2019. Beals was honored with a plaque unveiling for his service to the Post.

Jim Zeszutek, right, commander of Navy Club Ship 40, salutes during a service at Navy Park on Monday, May 27, 2019. The Kenosha Police honor guard is behind him.

A memorial wreath is cast into the harbor. Navy Club Ship 40 service at Navy Park on Monday, May 27, 2019.

Bob Brown, left, a Marine Corps veteran and Navy Club Ship 40 chaplain, salutes the flag during a Ship 40 service at Navy Park on Monday. See more Memorial Day photos on pages A5 and A6.

Kenosha Police honor guard fires a salute during the Navy Club Ship 40 service at Navy Park on Monday, May 27, 2019.

Above, Don Burns rings the bell during the Navy Club Ship 40 service at Navy Park on Monday. In the photo at left, veterans Phil Morris, left, and Jon Sutter carry the colors into the American Legion Paul Herrick Post 21 service at Green Ridge Cemetery on Monday.

A memorial wreath is cast into the harbor. Navy Club Ship 40 service at Navy Park on Monday, May 27, 2019.

Jack Rose throws a flower into the harbor after the Navy Club Ship 40 service at Navy Park on Monday, May 27, 2019.

Sue Green hugs Larry Olle, a member of the Kenosha Area Vietnam Veterans honor guard before the American Legion Paul Herrick Post 21 service at Green Ridge Cemetery Monday, May 27, 2019.

Hailey Reynolds holds a flag during the American Legion Paul Herrick Post 21 service at Green Ridge Cemetery Monday, May 27, 2019.

Veterans Phil Morris, left, and Jon Sutter carry the colors into the American Legion Paul Herrick Post 21 service at Green Ridge Cemetery Monday, May 27, 2019.

Terry Litz, left, a U.S. Army veteran salutes with Linda Jordan during the American Legion Paul Herrick Post 21 service at Green Ridge Cemetery Monday, May 27, 2019.

Al Vittori, right, salutes during the American Legion Paul Herrick Post 21 service at Green Ridge Cemetery Monday, May 27, 2019.

Jared Ziegelbauer, second from left, leads a honor guard of Boy Scouts from Troop 522 during the Pleasant Prairie VFW 7308 service at Old St. Mark’s Cemetery on Monday, May 27, 2019.

Jared Ziegelbauer, right, leads a honor guard of Boy Scouts from Troop 522 during the Pleasant Prairie VFW 7308 service at Old St. Mark’s Cemetery on Monday, May 27, 2019.

Kenosha Police honor guard fires a salute during the Pleasant Prairie VFW 7308 service at Old St. Mark’s Cemetery on Monday, May 27, 2019.

Rick Janus, said he honors the memory of his father, a Vietnam Air Force veteran, as he plays taps during the Pleasant Prairie VFW 7308 service at Old St. Mark’s Cemetery on Monday, May 27, 2019.

Jacob Reynolds, left, Brooklyn Reyolds and Hailey Reyolds joined their aunt Cherie Bowker, fourth from left, for the Kenosha Area Vietnam Veterans service honoring POW/MIAs at Library Park on Monday, May 27, 2019.

Vietnam veterans create the Battlefield Cross during a Memorial Day ceremony Sunday at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery outside Union Grove.

Flags adorn veterans' graves at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery outside Union Grove.

1st Sgt. David Litrenta salutes during the POW/MIA ceremony, which was part of the Memorial Day ceremony Sunday at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery outside Union Grove.

Mary M. Kolar, secretary-designee for the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, speaks during a Memorial Day ceremony Sunday at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery outside Union Grove.

U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis., speaks during a Memorial Day ceremony Sunday at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery outside Union Grove.

Gov. Tony Evers speaks during a Memorial Day ceremony Sunday at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery outside Union Grove.

Lisa Bizler, representing Gold Star Mothers, places a wreath during a Memorial Day ceremony Sunday at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery outside Union Grove.

Pastor David DeBerge delivers the benediction during a Memorial Day ceremony Sunday at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery outside Union Grove.

Sgt. Tom Nachtwey plays taps at the conclusion of the Memorial Day ceremony Sunday at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery outside Union Grove.

Although we certainly have a wonderful heritage of vegetables that are unmistakably American, many ethnic vegetables have made their way into our cuisine. These vegetables have their own ethnic recipes, but can also often be substituted for other vegetables we are quite familiar with.

Pak choi is a staple of Asian stir fried dishes, although it also makes a delightful slaw or fresh salad. The pale green or white stems and dark glossy green leaves are all edible, and the crisp texture of the stems makes a good substitute for celery although the flavor is closer to a very sweet cabbage. The leaves are excellent in any dish calling for greens.

Baby pak choi has become quite popular for grilling. There is also now a red pak choi with dark maroon leaves and thin green stems.

Pak choi is quite simple to grow, as long as you keep in mind that it is a cool season vegetable. If you didn’t grow your own transplants, purchase them now and use the vegetable quickly as it will bolt as soon as the days begin to lengthen.

Lacinato kale, also called dragon kale or Tuscan kale, is a staple in Tuscany, most often used in traditional minestrone. The dark, almost black seersucker leaves are tender through the entire summer, never becoming bitter or tough. Long after spring cabbages have begun to turn fiery and tough in summer, kale keeps providing sweet, tender greens for the table. It produces well into fall, actually being sweetened by frost. Also, try a Russian kale called Winterbor — beautiful ruffly reddish leaves and tasty addition to stews and salads.

Asian eggplants are much smaller than traditional bulbous American or Italian eggplants, and thus are much more tender. They grow thin and long, and come in white, green, pale pink, lavender and darkest purple. The skin is also thinner on Asian eggplants, so they seldom need to be peeled before grilling or roasting.

Eggplants need full sun and rich soil and, since Asian eggplant plants are smaller, seldom need any staking or support. They will need protection from flea beetles early in the season, however, so planting a trap crop of Chinese cabbage or covering with floating row covers will suffice.

Chioggia beets are Italian heirlooms, also known as the bull’s eye or candy cane beet. The outer fuchsia skin encloses creamy flesh and concentric pink rings. The stems of the greens are striped red and green and are among the most tender of beet greens.

One advantage to the Chioggia beet, aside from its heartbreaking sweet flavor, is that the beets don’t get woody through the summer. They can be left in the garden and harvested all summer long.

Chioggia beets produce best in somewhat fertile, loose soil. When the tiny greens emerge, you will notice that they are in clusters, regardless of how carefully you space them. They need to be thinned to about four inches apart or they will not produce bulbs. The thinnings can be tossed into a salad or transplanted.

Kate Jerome, a Kenosha writer and teacher, holds a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and is the former Urban Farm director at Gateway Technical College. She is the owner of the consulting business Kate Jerome’s Garden to Kitchen. Her website is www.kjerome.com.

One of the very first things I learned when I started my horticulture adventure was that soil and dirt are two very different things. Soil is where we plant our favorite perennials, vegetables, houseplants, fruit trees, cover crops and annuals. Dirt, on the other hand, is what we find on the bottom of our shoes, in our vacuum cleaners and on our vehicles.

Oddly enough, the same exact potting soil you use for your favorite houseplant becomes dirt when it is mistakenly relocated to the carpet.

We don’t really worry about improving our dirt — we simply want to eliminate it. Soil, on the other hand, is precious and the healthier it is, the better our “harvests” will fare. Whether the goal is to grow a bumper crop of organic produce or a landscape full of flowers, the importance of soil health is the same.

Starting with a soil test is advantageous to discover your type of soil and what deficiencies it might have, but there are also some general things that can be done starting today.

Soil needs to breathe to be healthy. A broad fork will loosen compacted soil, allowing water and air to flow with little damage to the soil structure or the microorganisms living there. Tilling is not the same. Tilling damages soil structure significantly and should be avoided whenever possible. It also brings weed seeds up to the surface where they can grow and flourish.

Leave old plant roots in the ground unless they are diseased or have become invasive. The root systems become wonderful organic matter as they decompose.

Mulch, mulch, mulch! While frequent refreshes of wood chip mulch can become tedious, every single layer of good mulch improves the soil’s health. That means the shredded leaves in the fall, as well; piling them on nice and thick is like gold for your soil — and the things you will grow in it.

Adding a rich compost to the garden is like giving your soil a continuous supply of food. Just remember, compost (whether made from food scraps or manure) needs to be done “cooking” before applying to the soil. Aerated compost tea is filled with microorganisms like aerobic bacteria, nematodes, protozoa and fungi that are incredibly beneficial to your soil.

Coffee grounds, teabags and eggshells are all wonderful additions to the soil. If you put brewed tea in a spray bottle and spray on seedlings or foliage, the tannic acid helps plants grow healthy and strong. Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen and can help plants grow faster, whether it’s tomatoes or turf. Crush your calcium-rich eggshells really well and add them to the soil; they may even help prevent blossom-end rot if sprinkled around tomato plants!

Consider researching and planting a cover crop in the fall; this is a sure way to improve your garden’s soil health.

A few simple things will go a long way to creating an organic-rich soil environment for your plants as well as all the microorganisms and other creatures that live there. The investment in this ecosystem pays considerable dividends. Dr. Charles E. Kellogg reminds us, “Essentially, all life depends upon the soil … There can be no life without soil and no soil without life; they have evolved together.”

It is our privilege and responsibility to take care of our soil, so that it can continue taking care of us.

Rae Punzel is a Kenosha writer and horticulturalist. She owns Bennu Organics, a horticulture services and consulting business. Contact her at bennuorganics@gmail.com.

The weather is warming, albeit slowly, which means the insects are hatching and coming out from winter hibernation. We all hate it when the mosquitoes come, but there are so many other good guys out there that it serves us well to encourage them in the garden for balance.

It’s so important to a balanced garden to correctly identify insects. I know many gardeners who assume that any bug is a bad bug, and immediately begin spraying. Using pesticides kills many beneficial insects in the process. By recognizing and encouraging beneficial insects to reside in your garden, you will have a healthier garden that actually takes less work.

It takes a little work to learn to identify the good guys, but once you do recognize them you’ll get a smile every time you see one in your garden, knowing it’s helping you take care of your plants.

The best thing you can do if you don’t recognize a bug is to catch it in a small jar where you can observe it carefully and make your identification. Then either get on the internet, get to the library or take the bug to the county Extension office for help.

Aphid midges are delicate little “mosquito copies” with long legs. The larvae are bright orange, about an eighth of an inch long, and prey on about 60 species of aphids.

Assassin bugs are quite distinct with long narrow heads and curving beaks; these may have elaborately flared crests on their back ends. Some are brightly colored, and the adults and nymphs feed on flies and large caterpillars, especially tomato hornworm.

Praying mantis is a large bug with a distinct profile. It has a long body and short front legs that it holds in what look like prayer hands. These don’t appear often, but when they do, they make short work of all types of pests.

Ground beetles are the long-legged beetles in blue-black or dark brown with a shiny coat that we see darting under rocks and brush during the day. They prey on slugs, cutworms and cabbage root maggots in the soil. Some types also go after Colorado potato beetle larvae, gypsy moth and tent caterpillars.

Lacewings are ethereal pale green or brown flying insects with the large delicate wings. Although the adults don’t eat, the nymphs, resembling little alligators, are voracious feeders on aphids, thrips, mealybugs, small caterpillars and mites.

Rove beetles look similar to earwigs, so don’t be so quick to squash. They have short stubby wings and a long abdomen that can resemble the pincers of the earwig. They fold their abdomen up over itself when disturbed. They love aphids, springtails, nematodes, fly eggs and maggots.

Last but not least, ladybugs are familiar to all of us and are well known for their taste for aphids. However, their larvae may not be as familiar. These also look like short alligators, black with red stripes, and they have huge mouths for feasting.

Kate Jerome, a Kenosha writer and teacher, holds a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and is the former Urban Farm director at Gateway Technical College. She is the owner of the consulting business Kate Jerome’s Garden to Kitchen. Her website is www.kjerome.com.

In the last column we learned about grounding, and today we’ll look at another one of Mother Nature’s therapies called “forest bathing,” or Shinrin-yoku. Not to be confused with Naked Gardening Day on Saturday, forest bathing has nothing to do with traditional bathing.

Alan Watts reminds us, “You didn’t come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here.” Unfortunately, many people today have lost touch with the natural world and their origins — and often their health suffers because of this. So many of us settle for electronic screens, offices and homes with recirculated air pumping out of our heating and cooling units and dull artificial lighting. We can do better!

The trees will soon be full and green in our area of the country and it will be the perfect time to try forest bathing — preferably on a regular basis. It’s not at all challenging. It costs nothing, requires no special equipment or skills, can take as little or as much time as is available, and can be done any time of the day — or night, if you prefer. The concept is quite simple: Visit a natural area like Petrifying Springs or Hawthorn Hollow and walk calmly in order to discover the relaxing, restorative and rejuvenating benefits. In nature, we can proactively reset our stress buttons!

Humans intuitively know this; we know that nature is good for us. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to spent time in tropical greenhouses know how those negative ions produced by the plants improve our overall well-being, especially in the middle of a cold Wisconsin winter. (I highly recommend it!) Greenhouses are wonderful things, but there’s nothing to be compared to being outdoors in our natural world.

One of the ways forest bathing improves our immune function has been in the news recently. Scientists have discovered that trees give off organic compounds that support our natural killer (NK) cells that strengthen and support our immune system’s ability to fight off cancers.

Excessive walking isn’t actually necessary, either. You can walk slowly to a favorite place in the woods, have a seat, take off your shoes and practice some grounding while you’re there. Then, simply BE.

Breathe deeply, open all your senses and be mindful of your surroundings and leave the cares of the day behind for a time. That’s all there is to it. Mother Nature’s medicine and healing are waiting for us in the forest.

Rae Punzel is a Kenosha writer and horticulturalist. She owns Bennu Organics, a horticulture services and consulting business. Contact her at bennuorganics@gmail.com.

Do you remember the last time you walked barefoot? Was it on a sandy beach, a lush green lawn or through pine needles? Many years of research has shown that connecting to our Earth’s natural energy can diminish chronic pain, fatigue and other ailments that plague so many people today. Besides, it just feels really good.

This “direct contact” is referred to as Earthing or grounding.While the ground is still a bit too cold for such activities, we can start planning our barefoot excursions right now.

Just as most of us recognize a definite lift in our spirits when walking through a forest full of lush trees, working in the soil or visiting a greenhouse full of tropical plants, grounding connects us to our origins.

There is something so comforting about being in nature, and there is science to back up the healthful claims. While it is certainly psychologically beneficial, there are also known physiological effects as well.

While I don’t pretend to understand all the science behind grounding, it was explained to me in such a way that even I could understand. When we walk barefoot in our backyard or on a beach — or wherever we happen to be outdoors where our feet can touch Earth (even on rock), we absorb electrons. These gifts from the Earth in the form of electrons can be described as Mother Nature’s biggest and best antioxidants, as they help to neutralize excess free radicals that cause inflammation and disease.

Because the Earth is a conductor of electrons (as are we and all other living things), when we come in direct contact (think “skin to skin”) with our planet, we are quite literally recharging.

Our bodies are composed mostly of water and minerals — a combination that is an excellent conductor of electrons — providing there is direct skin contact or some other conductive channel through which they can flow. This “recharging” upgrades our physiology and allows our bodies to better cope and repair; this promotes vitality, better sleep and general well-being. Additionally (as if that weren’t enough!), grounding also harmonizes and stabilizes our bodies’ biological rhythms, reduces chronic inflammation (and its associated pain), making the most of one of the most naturally powerful anti-aging and inflammatory remedies known to humankind.

A publication in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health titled “Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons,” states, “Reconnection with the Earth’s electrons has been found to promote intriguing physiological changes and subjective reports of well-being. Earthing (or grounding) refers to the discovery of benefits — including better sleep and reduced pain — from walking barefoot outside or sitting, working or sleeping indoors connected to conductive systems that transfer the Earth’s electrons from the ground into the body.”

That’s good enough for me! I do believe that Mother Nature knows best, after all. So, despite the cooler ground temperatures in our area, perhaps a few childlike barefoot moments when the temperatures allow would be a worthwhile investment in our health. Then when temperatures are warmer on a consistent basis, a “naked feet” outing might be added to our daily “to do” list. When you go out to plant, weed, water or just “be” — consider leaving the shoes behind.

Rae Punzel is a Kenosha writer and horticulturalist. She owns Bennu Organics, a horticulture services and consulting business. Contact her at bennuorganics@gmail.com.

When Tiffany Krihwan was 10 years old, she learned how to sail, taking lessons and spending time on the water with her grandfather.

Editor's note: This is the first of two profiles of volunteers who will be honored at Tuesday's Reaching for Rainbows event. The second profile, featuring Lena Cooksey, will be published Monday.

When a group of Special Olympics athletes on a Kenosha-based women’s basketball team were competing recently for a chance to play in the state finals, they decided that win or lose, they were not going to go to state.

If you have a shoebox filled with old video game cartridges stuffed in a closet, you may want to think twice about throwing them out.

Head coach Paul Chryst talks about the Badgers' 61-0 rout of Central Michigan on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium.

The University of Wisconsin shut out Central Michigan 61-0 on Saturday for its second straight shutout.

Badgers quarterback Jack Coan went 26 for 33 with three touchdowns and 363 yards in Wisconsin's shutout of Central Michigan. He talked about his day after the game.

The University of Wisconsin shut out Central Michigan 61-0 on Saturday for its second straight shutout.

Badgers quarterback Jack Coan went 26 for 33 with three touchdowns and 363 yards in Wisconsin's shutout of Central Michigan. He talked about his day after the game.

Head coach Paul Chryst talks about the Badgers' 61-0 rout of Central Michigan on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium.

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