Herb Workshop: Saturday, June 13, 2015

Herbs are some of the best plants for container gardens, beginner gardeners, and those who like to cook. Whether you are new to gardening or an herb expert, there will be something special for you to learn in this workshop. Join us at the garden this Saturday, June 13, 2015 at 4PM. This event has a $5 suggested donation. We’ll cover the following:

∗ How to Plant Herbs
∗ Companion Plantings
∗ Benefits of Herbs
∗ How to Harvest
∗ The Many Uses Beyond Cooking

Workshop run by Pat Niles: 
After obtaining a degree in Horticulture – Crop Production from the University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign, Pat has spent the last four decades working in flower shops, green houses, the extension service and on organic farms. She has used her extensive experience to run her own CSA farm in southern Wisconsin. Her customers have grown to love her veggies, fruits, culinary flowers, herbs, and her vast gardening knowledge. Along the way Pat has shared her enthusiasm and knowledge in classrooms, workshops, and online. It’s rare to find someone who is as comfortable and engaged in the field as in the classroom!

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:

https://crowleystationgarden.org/handbook/gardening-resources/

Gardening: Where to start?

It was so lovely to get to meet all the new members to Crowley Station Community Garden last Saturday! I met a lot of members who were new to gardening, and they all had such wonderful questions. I thought I’d take the opportunity to write out a few of the most basic questions in case others were wondering how to get started.

What do I do first? 

Ah, such a broad question! It can be intimidating to start a new project, especially when the subject matter can be as expansive as gardening. Your first garden, though, is a chance for you to take chances and really dive into the exciting world of gardening. Don’t worry so much about doing things right. Just dig in! Your bed at Crowley Station is pretty small; that means it’s easy to fix if a “mistake” happens. “Mistakes” are really just experiments where the results don’t match your expectations. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been gardening, you will still experience surprises every year.

Generally, the first thing you want to do is prepare the soil. Adding some compost is a great first step. There are also probably some small weeds in your bed. You can pull those or just work them into your new compost. Second, pick ONE plant that you want to try this year. Feel free to plant more than just one thing, but maybe you do extra research online, reading books, or asking fellow gardeners about that one plant that you love.

What can I plant in the Spring? 

Good things to start in the spring include short day, cold hardy plants. Most seed packets will mention these traits. Try herbs, greens like lettuce and spinach, and root crops like carrots and beets. Save your tomatoes and peppers for warmer temperatures. As evident today, we could still get snow even though our last frost date was April 15!

How do I plant seeds?

First, read the back of the seed package. This will tell you how close together you can plant your seeds and how deep your seeds should be. Some seeds are really tiny. Remember that you can always thin, pull unwanted plants, later when things are bigger. Water your seeds after planting. You can then cover your plants with something like straw or leaf mulch. Olbrich Gardens has a leaf mulch sale until the end of May. Don’t forget to check your bed at least weekly for weeds and watering.

If you have any further questions feel free to contact me, the Educational Director, or leave comments below. Happy Gardening!

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!