To learn about exciting plans for the Crowley Station platform, see the website for the Lakefront Porch on Wilson Street at Crowley Station: Lakefrontporch.org. Learn more about the Lakefront Porch in this article, madison.com!
Find Your Garden in Madison
CSCG garden beds are perfect for gardeners living downtown who desire a small piece of land to grow herbs, flowers, and vegetables that do not require too much space, but there are only a few beds. There are more community gardens in Madison. They vary in size, requirements, and locations. Look for the garden that fits you best at danegardens.net. The map below is a great way to explore local gardens in the Madison area. You can be on the wait list for multiple community gardens at once.
Blair Street Gardens
If you are interested in growing more than vegetables, join a group of neighborhood gardeners at Blair Street Gardens. These volunteers have been beautifying the Isthmus since 1985, blairstreetgardens.org
Community Gardens Map
2021 Garden Season
Welcome to the new gardening season! Please follow CDC and city public health guidelines when you come to the garden. Wear a mask when others are around, and bring your own tools if you have concerns about sharing.
If you have received a garden assignment from us, you are welcome to begin as soon as you complete your registration form, and we receive your plot fee. All gardeners must complete the registration form each year.
The Welcome email includes:
- Important dates
- Registration form
- Link to membership guidelines
- Plot fee information
- Storage bench lock combinations
2021 Garden Changes:
- Use social distancing whenever at the garden.
- Bring your own tools if you are concerned about sharing
- Consider becoming a leader for the garden this fall. We need all the help possible to make sure the garden continues in 2022!
Sending health and ease your way,
Crowley Station Community Garden Leadership Team
2020 Garden Season
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/622592304. Meeting ID: 622 592 304
- Use social distancing whenever at the garden.
- Bring your own tools. (Currently there aren’t any sanitizing supplies at the garden).
- No volunteer hours are required this year. You can still help by completing tasks on the task list.
- No monthly garden meetings
- Consider becoming a leader for the garden this fall. We need all the help possible to make sure the garden continues in 2021!
Tuesday, June 16, 2020: Summer Garden Meeting, at the Garden (or on Zoom depending on State Guidelines)
Saturday, October 31, 2020: Closing Day plot must be trench composted by this date in order to remain in good standing.
Autumn Gardening: Planting Garlic!
If you’re planning to continue gardening with us at CSCG for the 2018 season, it’s time to get your garlic cloves in some soil! Garlic is typically planted in the Fall and harvested the following summer. Our raised garden beds are sunny, rich, and well-drained; which is perfect for garlic.
Garlic should be planted 6 weeks prior to freeze. Planting garlic can be purchased at many local locations. This year we tried Pehoski Purple and German Extra Hardy-Porcelain. Make sure to get a variety that will do well in this region.
Separate the cloves from each bulb.
This year we tried a pre-soak that was recommended to us by the folks at Paradigm Gardens. This soak gives the garlic a fertilizer boost and reduces any diseases that could be carried on the garlic bulbs. After the cloves are separated, put them in warm water with a tablespoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of fish emulsion. We used Age Old Organics, Fish and Seaweed Emulsion. Soak the garlic in the mixture for 1-12 hours (the longer the better). Drain the cloves and them soak them in Vodka for 10 minutes. This is what will kill any diseases.
Plant the cloves into prepared soil about 3” deep and about 6-9” apart. Plant with the tip of the clove as straight up as possible (or you’ll get wonky shaped garlic!) and the root side down. Cover the cloves with 1-2” of soil.
Cover the garlic with generous layer of straw mulch to protect it from the freeze and thaw of our harsh Wisconsin winter. You may want to protect your garlic from hungry critters by covering with a layer of chicken wire. It also may be a good idea to mark where you planted each clove so it’s still obvious next spring. We color coded ours so we can keep track of which variety and method does best. Let your garlic hibernate!
In the spring, add more mulch to help encourage growth, retain moisture, and keep the weeds at bay. Make sure to keep the area around your garlic free of weeds. Later in the spring your garlic will begin to flower. Remove these flowering stalks to encourage growth of the garlic bulb itself instead of it putting its energy into flowering (you can eat these, they’re called garlic scapes!). In June, the garlic will stop producing new growth. At this time, remove any remaining mulch and allow the soil to dry out. Harvest in mid-July or August when you have 5 full green leaves remaining or 50% of the leaves have died from the bottom. The garlic can be removed and allowed to dry for 2-3 weeks in a cool, airy location. Enjoy your garlic now or store it to use through the fall and into the winter! Consider setting aside a few bulbs to replant!
If you need any help planting or need extra tips, feel free to reach out to us!
– Grayson & Krista
About a month ago we had our opening day at the garden. I apologize for not having a post up sooner about it, but it’s been a busy month. We had great turnout and it was great to meet so many new people.
A few people planted their gardens that day and since then more and more plots are getting filled in.
Sprouts are beginning to show in some beds and established plants are flourishing.
The great news is that all our plots are filled this year and we even have a waiting list! It sounds like Crowley Station is becoming more known in the community which is a great thing.
We had our first workday this past Saturday. We did some maintenance and added a cork board to the bulletin board. We also fixed the rain barrel funnel so it will fill up with water more efficiently.
We also made put laminated name cards in every garden plot.
After the last few days of rain, there is finally a significant amount of water in the rain barrel. Remember to use the rain barrel before using the water spigot. Thanks!
Is Spring Here?
It seems like after the crazy snow and rain of last week, spring might finally be here! We are ready at Crowley Station Community Garden to start planting. Our opening day is coming up on Saturday, April 16. Stop at the farmer’s market for some fresh veggies and then come on down to the garden to plant your own. We’ll be there between 10 and 2 taking registration info and payments and having a nice little social to kick off the planting season. We’ll also be decorating name plates for our garden beds to let the community and garden visitors know who we are. I can’t wait to see everyone and meet my fellow gardeners.
Looking forward to Spring
It’s finally feeling like spring! We shall hope that this warm weather continues and we get lots of spring rain to fill up our rain barrels, which will be going out in a few weeks.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Emma and I’m the new Communications Director for 2016. I’m excited to be in this role and have lots of ideas for the coming planting season! I’ve been gardening since I was small and loved to eat dirt-covered carrots right out of my family’s garden. This is only my second summer as a gardener with Crowley Station but I’m happy to be a part of the leadership team.
The leadership team have been meeting to plan this season and we are all looking forward to opening day. The date for opening day this year is April 16th from 10-12. We’ll be taking deposits and registrations and making name plates for our garden plots.
We met last week to discuss our goals for 2016 and this is what we came up with:
- We are working with various people at the city and water utility to finalize our new lease of the Garden space. Our goal is to have that finalized soon. We will have more details on that as the lease terms get worked out.
- There are so many community gardens in Madison doing great work. This year we’d like to develop a deeper relationship with some of them. Keep an eye out for volunteer opportunities and jointly-hosted events with other gardens this summer.
- Last year we had some problems with theft of our produce. This year we would like to minimize that, by making our gardeners more visible and increasing neighborhood awareness of Crowley Station Community Garden.
- We would like to update some of our policies and make the handbook the best it can be. Since Crowley Station has such an interesting history, we’d also like to document that in some way.
- We decided that a 5-year goal for the Garden will be to increase the number of raised beds in the space.
Our next meeting is March 24th at Barriques on West Washington, from 7:00-8:30. We’d love for anyone to join us!
Putting Your Garden to Bed Workshop Recap
By: Danna Olsen
I attended the last gardener workshop of the season at McFarland’s Community Garden. The topic of the evening was “putting your garden to bed and planning for next season.”
Katie Getty-Syoen gave us a tour of the gardens. I was particularly impressed with the children’s garden area. After running into many obstacles trying to get a school garden started, Katie got involved with a 4-H program and created a playful space with and for kids at the McFarland Community Garden. This space has a big sandbox, a desk planted with sedum, a mini produce/ lemonade stand and a whimsical garden bed. Her creativity and perseverance is an inspiration.
Below are some notes from the workshop of what to do at the end of the season.
- Before the first hard frost, make sure to harvest remaining tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc.
- Root vegetables should also be harvested before the ground freezes.
Remove Dead Plants
- Disease-free weeds/plants should be composted or used as mulch.
- Diseased plants should be bagged and discarded off-site.
Get Ready For Next Season
- Be ready to cover late season hardy vegetables and cold tender perennials with row cover or a plant blanket.
- Add compost to your garden plot.
- Plant cover crops (e.g. Clover, buckwheat, field peas/oats)
- Try lasagna mulch by layering paper, cardboard, used straw/hay and vegetable scraps to build both structure and fertility or layer mulch of autumn leaves or hay on your garden bed.
- Plant garlic and other spring bulbs (select the largest bulbs you can find).
- This is a good time to clean and sharper tools.
Compost and Happy Hour Planting Party this Friday, May 1st
CSCG Members, loved ones, friends, and neighbors,
This past Saturday we traversed Dane County on a mission for free compost and struck black gold! All beds were given some compost so our plots are now nutrient rich and ready for planting. Stop by the garden sometime this week and see how it’s shaping up already.
Join us this Friday, May 1st, for a Happy Hour Planting Party Work Day at the garden from 6:00–8:00pm. Bring beverages and snacks to share while we sort through weeds, seeds, and compost to wind down the week. It’s the perfect time to start planting some of the early spring vegetables that can withstand coldish weather. See our Education Director Danni Niles’s previous post for more suggestions, or keep reading using the gardening resources section of our website as your guide:
Garden Plots Still Available for 2015
We still have several beds available for the 2015 season! Fill out a registration form and email it to CrowleyStationGarden@gmail.com to get started. Then join us on Opening Day, April 18! More information about fees, required volunteer hours, and our gardening standards is available on our website.
Crowley Station Community Garden is more than just some soil to grow plants. Together we work to improve this space for our neighborhood while getting to know each other and forming friendships. This year we will host Dane County Master Gardeners and hold educational workshops on various gardening topics such as thwarting pests and maximizing productivity from raised beds. We also have one educational plot used to teach members how to garden; harvests from this bed are donated to the Grace Episcopal Food Pantry. We have social events like yoga classes, concerts, and potlucks and welcome suggestions from our members.
If you live on the isthmus and would like an opportunity to get your hands dirty, grow some organic plants, and get to know your neighbors while learning how to garden better and adding to the beauty of Downtown Madison, it sounds like CSCG might be just what you need this summer! Read more about us on our website. If you like what you see, fill out a registration form asap. With spring settling in a little more every day, the time to start planting is right around the corner and you don’t want to miss out!
Join Us for Opening Day! April 18, 2015 @ 1pm
Come one, come all! Mark your calendars for the Crowley Station Community Garden Opening Day 2015. Meet at the garden on April 18th at 1:00pm, which is also the first downtown Farmer’s Market. Pick up some farm fresh goodies and enjoy the first market, then head down W. Wilson to the garden. Bring something delicious to share as we say hello to each other and our garden for our second season!
On Opening Day we will:
- Assign plots to new members
- Collect fees
- Introduce our wonderful garden leaders
- Take volunteers for our committees
- Assign garden mentor/mentee pairs
- Provide new member orientation
- And, most importantly, enjoy a potluck/social!
This is a required event for all members. If you absolutely cannot join us, please let Membership Director Krista Farrell know by April 17. Otherwise, your plot will be reassigned.
We’ll see you there!
Second Transition Meeting Recap, 2/17/15
A few members of the Executive Team met on Feb. 17th to finish discussing some lingering transitional items for our new leaders. We also discussed some exciting developments and ideas around the top three Crowley Station Community Garden Goals detailed in the previous post.
The highlights are:
Registrations for 2015 will be sent to past members today and are due by March 1 for those who would like to keep the same plot as last year. Returning gardeners will be given first preference. After March 1st, there will be open registration for anyone who wants to get involved with our active CSCG group! New registrations are due by March 15th. An updated registration form will be posted to our website shortly. If you are looking for a community garden this season, visit the Member Expectations section for more information.
CSCG now has an Instragram account! #crowleystationcommunitygarden
We encourage you to post creative and attractive pictures of our garden with the above hashtag to help promote awareness and increase our visibility. As we emerge from winter into spring through summer growth and fall harvests, share your progress with our greater community with pictures!
Treasurer and Co-Chair Courtney Stacy will keep a wishlist for items that would benefit our community garden. Ideas are welcome! Please contact her if you have any suggestions for materials that will continue to improve the CSCG, located in the First Settlement Neighborhood, and enjoyment of this community meeting space for everyone.
2015 Crowley Station Community Garden Goals
Tonight the Executive Team met for the first time in 2015. After catching up on the big changes going on in our lives, we got down to the exciting work of planning the garden for the next year. It was a super productive meeting. Every leader had ideas for how they could help the garden grow and be more awesome. We also had some great ideas for the whole garden to work on. We wanted to share our top three goals for 2015 with our members and the community.
1. To develop and distribute well thought out and designed literature for garden members and the community. This will include refining our handbook, creating brochures for on site promotion, and more!
2. To increase the promotion and visibility of the community garden. This year we will focus on creating a solid plan for the next two years on how to promote the garden efficiently and exquisitely. We hope to increase the diversity of members and help create a following and support network for the garden’s continued success.
3. To increase the productivity and health of the garden plots to the point where members have enough surplus to donate to the food pantry on top of the donations coming from our educational plot.
To accomplish all these things we will need the continued support of our garden members and community friends. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or contact an Executive Team leader!
Work Party: July 31 5:30-8:30PM
Crowley Station Community Garden will be hosting another work party on Thursday, July 31, 2014 from 5:30-8:30PM. For this event we will be building our last raised bed, Doty St. All members and friends of the garden are welcome to attend and help out with this event. We are also asking for use of a cordless drill and more buckets, as we have to fill the bed by hand.
This raised bed is quite special. It is called a “no-bend” bed. It will be sitting on a raised stand that allows the gardener to use the bed without having to bend over and put extra stress on their back.If our garden did not have steps leading up to it, a person who used a wheel chair would be able to easily garden in this “no-bend” bed unlike the other raised beds. It also allows someone to place a stool or chair by the bed while they are weeding or planting thus eliminating the need to put stress on their back, knees, ect. Placing a bed a at different height also brings the garden new depths and elements of design that is critical in making an urban garden inviting and engaging. This bed will serve the garden in a host of splendid ways!
Now, it might seem silly to go to all this effort. However, community gardens are places where the public can explore the many varied issues around food including how accessibility plays a role in the availability of healthy food. Members of our community who live with accessibility issues, like seniors, are at an increased risk of also being food insecure. Having access to a community garden can help those members increase the amount of healthy food that is available to them. Yet, it doesn’t do any good to have the gardening experience be painful or impossible! A “no-bend” bed is just one solution among many that helps a community garden be more welcoming to the many diverse members of its community. Other solutions include: paths that are wheel chair accessible meaning that they are large enough for a wheel chair to go through and smooth enough not to get stuck, hanging containers, extra seating and shading for members to rest during the harsh summer months, easy access to water through light-weight hoses, and more. We hope that our first “no-bend” bed encourages other community gardens to think about accessibility issues and discover new solutions.
Community Gardens are only as strong as the diversity and empowerment of its members. Our neighborhoods are not made up of only one type of person and neither should our gardens!
2014 Build Weekend
Many members of the community have been working tirelessly to lay the foundation for Madison’s newest community garden, Crowley Station Community Garden. This process has taken months. Meetings filled with design details and policy development went well into the April and May of this year. Some gardeners were beginning to wonder if anything would get planted this year at all!
Finally, on June 25 we got the materials needed to build our community garden. A call went out to registered members of the garden and the community for a Build Day on June 27 from 3-8PM. Twelve people showed up and got busy putting out beds from NaturalYards.com together. That was the easy part! We then started to move 13 tons of organic soil, by hand, up a small hill, up some steps, and into the beds. One day was not going to be enough! Saturday work continued for another five hours ending right before people began to find places for Madison’s Rhythm and Booms. The job was completed on Sunday at 5PM. A one day project turned into a whole weekend.
I think it can be safely said that all those hours of endless work were worth it! The garden looks beautiful. Many neighbors are already commenting on how wonderful the space looks now. Great things are going to grow in this garden. Please follow us to read the stories of our community garden and the gardeners who create it!