Photo by Rob Zimmer Whitetails are among the most common garden problem dealt with by local gardeners.

Photo by Rob Zimmer Milorganite is a popular garden product for multiple reasons. It is a great fertilizer, as well as a soil amendment and useful in discouraging certain pests from invading your yard and garden.

Last week, I began my garden product guide series with information on garden soils, amendments and fertilizers.

This week, I’ll begin to cover some of the many options available for weed control, pest control and fungicides.

Just as intimidating to most gardeners as the selection of fertilizers, soils and soil amendments, pest control and weed control shelves at the garden center are a frightening place to those who aren’t sure what to buy.

Bottles, jugs, jars and packages line the shelves, filled with products promising to help control gardeners’ biggest problems and woes.

You’ll find multiple products claiming to repel or keep out deer, rabbits, moles, chipmunks, squirrels and more. Dozens of products that claim to eliminate insect pests, caterpillars, beetles, aphids, ants and other crawling creatures.

You’ll also find dozens of products that claim to work on fungal diseases, blossom end rot, blight, black spot and more.


2 ‘Stepping On’ sessions start in March

The Shawano County Department of Human Services’ Aging Unit will offer “Stepping On” workshops in Shawano and Tigerton this spring.

The seven-week program is designed to reduce falls and build confidence in older people.

The Shawano sessions will be held from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Tuesdays, beginning March 14, at ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano, 100 County Road B. Sessions in Tigerton will run from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Thursdays, beginning March 30, at the Tigerton Community Center, 221 Birch St.

The free sessions will include information on why people fall and how to prevent falls; simple balance and strength training; the role vision plays in keeping your balance; how medication can contribute to falls; ways to stay safe when out and about in the community; what to look for in safe footwear; and how to check your home for safety.


Workshops on March schedule at nature center

A variety of activities are planned at Navarino Nature Center during the month of March.

A rain barrel workshop will be held at 9 a.m. March 11. Rain barrels can store up to 55 gallons of water from snow melt or rain water to help your flowers or garden weeks after the rain has stopped. Make your own barrel in the workshop for $35 a barrel, or purchase a pre-made barrel for $45. RSVP to 715-758-6999 or


Nonprofit Profile

Photo by Carol Wagner The FRESH project is being implemented in Shawano and Menominee counties. Members of the committee overseeing the project include, from left, Kari Hopfensperger, Jo Anne Schedler, Kim Ihrcke, Nancy Schultz and Nick Mau.

FRESH project volunteers are ready to start putting their plans into action. FRESH stands for Food, Resources, Education, Security, Health.

“We have a new program that we’re bringing to the community,“ FRESH food council co-chair Kim Ihrcke said. “We have a community that has needs.”

Those needs were expressed in a survey in which people said their households were struggling to get healthy food.

A good portion of the western side of Shawano County along with a pocket in the city of Shawano are in “food deserts,” where poverty is greater than 20 percent and the distance to a grocery story is more than 10 miles in a rural or one-half mile in an urban area.

The FRESH project wants to have good food available for everyone by educating and getting the community on board with their goals, such as growing the Share the Bounty program. The program is already working, but the committee feels it could cover a much broader area.


Volunteer Profile

Photo by Carol Wagner Cari Van Gheem volunteers for Bridge the Gap, a program for people with autism.

Cari Van Gheem volunteers for Bridge the Gap, a program for people with autism.

She graduated from Gillett High School and earned a medical assistant degree from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. Van Gheem works for an insurance company in Green Bay.

Van Gheem likes to swim, garden, sew, camp and fish. A few years back, she had an overabundance of pumpkins so she put them on a trailer at the end of her driveway to take for free or leave a donation for Bridge the Gap.

“Needless to say all the extra pumpkins were gone and the people who stopped were so generous I decided I needed to do this every year,” she said.

She and her husband of 12 years, DuWayne, live in Cecil. He works at a paper mill in Green Bay.

Q What is Bridge the Gap?

A “Bridge the Gap is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that focuses on helping individuals on the autism spectrum.”

Q How does it help?



Once in a while during a news broadcast we hear of human interest stories that touch our hearts and move us to tears. On those occasions, I can be standing in the middle of the room my eyes filling, in a moment’s notice. Usually these stories are good-news stories, of people helping out in a tragedy, or someone giving a complete stranger a kidney, or a Go Fund Me account that garners hundreds of dollars in mere days.

One such human interest story came across Fox 11 News the other day. Wanting to learn more about the story, I Googled it and came across where I learned about a couple of delightful children. Two little 5-year-old boys from Louisville, Kentucky, were best friends and attended the same school. When Jax, one of the little boys, was told by his momma that his wild hair needed a cut, he decided he wanted to get his head shaved really short so he could look just like his friend, Reddy.


Exploring the mysteries of vacuum cleaners

On Wednesday, as I watched the snow fall past my window, I was thinking of how March is coming in like a lion, and hoping it will remember to go out like a lamb.

Snow in March is not a strange thing, and as much as I was ready to see the end of the snow, it is rather pretty out. The driving and walking will have to be done with caution again, but we should be experienced with that by now.

Meanwhile, back in the house, I was having company over, and that meant that I had to drag out the dreaded vacuum cleaner. First of all, let’s look at the word vacuum. What possessed anyone to spell a word with two u’s together? I am not a great speller, and it is always a challenge for me to spell the word.

Plus, I wonder what my grandmother did when her rugs needed cleaning? I have an idea she did not have wall-to-wall carpet, and I would think any rugs she had were hung outside and beaten.


Clintonville tasting includes beer, wine, food

Tickets are available for the Clintonville Area Chamber of Commerce’s sixth annual Caps and Cooks Beer and Wine Tasting. The event will be held from 6-9 p.m. March 25 at Clintonville Lanes and Banquet Hall, 250 County Road I.

Tickets are $25 for a single, $85 for a four pack, $120 for a six pack or $215 for a 12 pack. A non-alcoholic ticket costs $10. Tickets are available at B & H Fashionwear, B & H Footwear, Tadych’s Econofoods and the chamber office. Ticket prices include a souvenir glass, Hawaiian lei, and tastings of wine, beer, cheese, chocolates and hors d’oeuvres.



Photo by Rob Zimmer Roses and other flowering shrubs may bloom better with certain fertilizers and organic amendments.

Photo by Rob Zimmer Soils come in a wide range of styles and types. Some are best used in containers, while others are used in garden beds.

Many of the questions I receive from gardeners deal with fertilizers, soils, pest control and other products from the garden shelf. Visiting the garden center can be an intimidating experience for many gardeners, confused by the hundreds or thousands of different packages that line the shelves.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll take a look at some of the products found on the shelves at your local garden center and help make some sense of it all.

This week, the topic is fertilizers, soil and soil amendments. These products are often the most overused, misused and misunderstood gardening products. This misuse has an impact, as we see during the summer when many of our lakes and rivers turn bright green with algae bloom.

Have a soil test done

What type of fertilizer to add to a garden, lawn or container is probably the top question I receive from gardeners during the beginning of the growing season each year.


Nonprofit Profile

Photo by Carol Wagner The St. Michael’s Angels sing and play at the Masses at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Keshena. Shown with the Rev. Joel Jores are, from left, Riley Tucker, Ruthie Tucker and Mary Wilber.

Mary Wilber and sisters Ruthie and Riley Tucker comprise the St. Michael’s Angels. They play and sing at the 8:30 a.m. Mass on Sundays at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Keshena.

The girls all play guitar, and Ruthie also plays the ukulele.

“I enjoy playing and I do it for my aunt who passed away,” said Mary Wilber, 15. “She liked to sing and I do it for her.”

“I’m in it because I really like to play music, and it feels good to help out at our church,” said Riley Tucker, 15,

“I do it because I love to play guitar and ukulele,” said Ruthie Tucker, 17. “I like to give back to my church as well.”

They alternate Sundays, playing their instruments one week and being accompanied by Jonathan Wilber on piano the next week.

The group formed four years ago when Dennis Jansen, a member of St. Michael’s, organized a group of adults and kids to sing and play instruments at Mass.


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