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

An Example of our "No-Bend" Bed courtesy of Gardeners.com
An Example of our “No-Bend” Bed courtesy of Gardeners.com

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!

CSCG Build Weekend 2014