Spring Plant Sales!

Starting seeds is a gardener’s favorite way to save some money and grow only the very best varieties. This whole process can seem overwhelming for new gardeners. You can still have your tomatoes and peppers without starting seeds yourself. All you need to do is buy some starts! The Farmer’s Market on the square is a Crowley Station favorite since you only have to carry plants a couple of blocks before planting them. However, you might be surprised by the selection and savings by heading out to the annual plants sales that happen April to May. Here is our round-up of plant sales that happen around Madison in the Spring. In the comment section, please let us  know if we missed any!

Troy Community Farm Plant Sale
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This annual plant sale has a fabulous selection of hardy vegetable starts that are perfect for your food gardens. Prices range from $1.50 – $8.00. These plants are also certified organic!

 

 

Plant Sale with the Pros – Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Friday, May 6, 2016 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. & Saturday, May 7, 2016 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Get great plants and expert advice from area professionals this year at Plant Sale with the Pros. The sale features everything from annuals and perennials to ornamental grasses and shrubs. Olbrich’s staff carefully chooses unique plants that do best in this climate. Find the newest, hardiest, disease-resistant cultivars on the market. Local plant pros, master gardeners, and Olbrich’s horticulturists will be available to answer questions.

Proceeds from the plant sale benefit Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Shop early since quantities are limited. Shoppers are encouraged to bring cartons, wagons, or boxes for carrying plants. Cash, checks, MasterCard, Visa, and Discover are accepted. Maximize your support of the Gardens by using cash or check.

Master Gardener Plant Sale

Sunday, May 22, 11AM-3PM (May 29th Rain Date)

Hundreds of perennials for shade or sun, vegetable & herb starts, annuals and more will be available!   Master Gardeners will be around to answer your gardening questions.  Proceeds will help purchase seeds & supplies for community gardening programs.  Plants are reasonably priced.  Cash or check only.

Dane County/UW Extension Office parking lot at 5201 Fen Oak Drive, Madison 53718

UW Arboretum Native Plant Sale

For a completely different type of plant sale check out the Arboretum on May 7, 2016, 9AM-2PM. There will be large tents near the Visitor Center where more than 100 species of native grasses; woodland, prairie, and savanna plants, and trees and shrubs will be available to purchase. I’d suggest coming early. This is a popular sale in Madison!

Closing Day & Elections

Closing day is scheduled for Saturday, November 7th at 12:00pm. This is a mandatory event for all garden members. Failure to attend will result in bad standing* and removal of all plants in your plot.

The purpose of closing day is getting the garden ready for winter by wrapping up any maintenance projects, cleaning out plots and planting cover crops to protect the soil, holding elections for the garden leadership team next year and celebrating the end of a successful season together with a potluck.

  • You are required to compost your weeds/plant debris within your plot boundaries or remove the material from the property. Diseased plants should be bagged and removed from the property.
  • Between old plant refuse and cover crops, mulch shouldn’t be needed, however if you wish to add something else, it must be approved. Mulch such as leaves and marsh hay are encouraged, but materials such as wood chips etc. may cause damage to the soil or issues in your plot next season.
  • Volunteer hours will be awarded to those that attend.

If you are able, please bring a snack or beverage to share. After our hard work, we will celebrate the season with a potluck.

*Good Standing:

To end the season in good standing, you must have paid all dues and completed 4 volunteer hours per plot. Being in good standing allows you to be refunded your security deposit AND gives you the opportunity to apply for a plot next season.

Elections for 2015 Garden Leadership Team:

We will also hold elections for next year’s garden leadership team during closing day. Descriptions of the positions can be found below or on the CSCG website: https://crowleystationgarden.org/handbook/leadership-organization/

The success of Crowley Station Community Garden relies on dedication and hard work from the leadership team. It is a very important role that isn’t difficult! The leadership team meets once a month at the garden meetings (open to all members) and discusses the status of projects, events and issues within the garden. If there are projects that pertain to their role, leaders put in some time to complete those tasks throughout the month. They are encouraged to enlist the help of other garden members to complete these tasks and keep the garden running smoothly. This is a great way to fulfill volunteer hours and make a difference in the success of the garden.

Please let us know if you have any questions about any of the leadership roles!

Memorial for Becky Selleck

Last year Crowley Station Community Garden was created through the work of many dedicated community members. One of those members was Becky Selleck. Becky volunteered to be the first Educational Director and had a vision of the community garden serving everyone in the neighborhood. She worked to establish a relationship with the Episcopal Grace Food Pantry and started the first Educational Plot to teach members how to get the most our of their gardening experience. She was always willing to jump into a project with a smile or a sympathetic ear if a member was struggling. It was amazing to have her energy involved in the project.

Sadly, Becky Selleck passed away this Summer in an accident. Her Madison friends wanted a way to honor her gifts and life. They reached out to Crowley Station Community Garden in hopes they could find a partner for a memorial that would align well with everything that Becky worked for.

Together we have decided to rename the Educational Plot to Becky Selleck. We also hope to work on some expansion projects for the garden as well.

Please join us on Friday, August 28th, 5:30-8PM at the Crowley Station Community Garden for a potluck, stories, and an opportunity to donate to the memorial project!

Sounds of Summer in the Garden

Last Sunday was the Summer Solstice. It was a bright, sunny day with temperatures in the high 80s. Nothing could have felt more Summery. The community garden celebrated by inviting local artists to play in the garden as a part of the city wide event Make Music Madison. Neighbors, gardeners, and friends came out to the garden to enjoy lovely music and their own picnics. It was a grand way to usher in the Summer!

We started with the folk/rock sounds of John Kostle. He was a champ on the guitar and in the intense sunshine that covers the whole garden at 4PM. He started the event off in a great way. There were songs that everyone knew and could sing along with and other fitting songs for a Summer day at the garden.

The Strays came next bringing instruments (including a large double bass!), jazzy vocals, and their own possy. This young group had a fabulous sound. A mix of jazz and pop had everyone popping into the garden off the street to hear what was going on. For a group of “stray” musicians, they have the beginnings of a really excellent group.

The following artist, Mackenzie Benish, slowed thing down just a notch with her original songs on the guitar. The lyrics were excellent, each song telling a story, almost like old folk songs but with a more modern sound. She was another trooper in the sun. Her performance was right in the middle of the sunshine as the audience all moved into the little bit of shade offered at the garden.

As the sun began to set, Richard from the Big Swell came by to sing some rock anthems. Sadly, as it was dinner time, much of our audience went home for the night. Richard still sang his heart out and those that stayed had a great time.

Twilight at the garden brought out a shimmery crescent moon and a bold, pink sunset. Robert Trader took advantage of this magical setting to perform his folk/rock songs. His voice carried over the whole garden and even to the apartment balconies across the street from the garden. It was a great performance that really finished the concert off in the best way. Many peopled were wooed from the street into listening to the urban lyrics and heartfelt melodies.

We want to thank all the performers who donated their time to performing at Crowley Station Community Garden. You made sunday the fabulous event that it was! Thanks also to everyone who came out to enjoy the garden with us. We really have one of the best communities around!

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!

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!

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!

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!

2015 Executive Team

Crowley Station Community garden is run by a team of members. We have five positions: Communications Director, Treasurer, Volunteer Coordinator, Maintenance Director, and Educational Director. Two of those positions also served as Co-Chairs this year. This group of leaders makes all decisions for the garden. Meetings are open to all members, though. On October 1 members in good standing were encouraged to submit candidate statements for any positions they’d like to run for to serve in 2015. We were supposed to then have an electronic survey for election ballots. Only five members submitted  statements and thus our five positions were filled for next year.

The members of the 2015 Executive Team have been wonderful to work with. All of them put in many volunteer hours above the required four. Many of them worked on special projects or even served on the planning group this Spring. Their passion for the project and enthusiasm to serve has been evident throughout the growing season. Please join me in congratulating them on becoming the next Crowley Station Executive Team!

Maintenance Director: Grayson Smith
I feel that I have the knowledge necessary to solve material choices, construction, and aesthetic as a graduate of industrial design working in the furniture industry. Problem solving is in my nature. I’ve been involved in this garden since last winter and have grown to understand the community, politics, and capabilities of the people involved. I look at taking on this position as not only a personal challenge, but also a lot of fun! I hope to be qualified enough to satisfy the hard working team of CSCG. Thank you!

Volunteer Coordinator: Krista Farrell
I would like to run for the Volunteer Coordinator position again next year. I feel really fortunate to be involved with such an amazing project and would love to continue to be involved with a leadership role. I feel like I only dipped my toe into the possibilities for the Volunteer Coordinator position this year and am excited about all of the potential for next year. I have a lot of great ideas for how to establish more community at the garden and am eager to see them through! I have been able to form an organized system to carrying out the responsibilities of this role this year and have ideas how to improve things for next season, if given the opportunity. Mostly, I am excited about the opportunity to serve along with and learn from the other amazing members of this community. Thank you for your consideration!

Communications Director: Lisa Winkler
The CSCG is an exciting grass roots effort to develop an underused public area into a welcoming gathering space for our community.  With all the hard work and commitment of the volunteers in its first year, it will be essential to the success of this initiative to have effective communication with our stakeholders, neighbors, and the local area providers we want to fully utilize this garden.  I would like to help the CSCG by managing the information on their website and communications between members, the water utilities and the general public.

Treasurer: Courtney Stacy
I was the treasurer and a co-chair for the 2014 growing season at Crowley Station Community Garden. I truly enjoyed being a part of our leadership team, and would like to continue in the treasurer role for the 2015 season. My hope is to finish laying the financial groundwork for the garden, and continue developing projects which will ensure CSCG’s fiscal independence and security for many years to come.

Educational Director: Danni Niles
Next year I would love to serve as your Educational Director. This year I have served as your Communications Director and Co-Chair. It has been amazing to work with everyone and watch the garden and the community grow this year through the long meetings and even longer build projects. After years of growing up on a vegetable and fruit farm and doing my own personal gardens in urban settings throughout college, I feel like I have a great deal of knowledge and enthusiasm to share with the garden. I’d love to focus on the mentoring program, hosting how-to workshops, and expanding our donations to the food pantry. I’d also love to continue working with the Executive Team to bring our goals to life during our second year. Thanks!

Common Weeds in Wisconsin

If you wonder around the garden this week (if the rain stops!), you see towering tomato plants, blooming flowers, long green beans, and fragrant herbs. It’s a beautiful sight! Hidden among the productive plants are plants that the gardener did not plant and does not want. Those are weeds. Here are the top four plants I’ve seen in the garden as “weeds”. Just remember that weeds are all about perspective. Many of these plants are edible or have other uses, too!

Amaranthus retroflexusPigweed Amaranthus retroflexus
These plants can get huge, sometimes reaching 6 feet. The size of these plants can shade out the plants you want. Be careful to remove these plants from beds completely as they can re-root sometimes if left laying out. The seed heads are sometimes used as food and the young leaves can also be tasty. Check out a recipe here.

PurslanePurslane Portulaca oleracea
This is one of the most frustrating weeds for me! If you don’t get the whole root system pulled out, the runners can keep it alive and thriving for quite some time. It stays close to the surface of the soil but can have stems around 14 inches long.

 

LambsLamb’s Quarter Chenopodium album
This weed can also get fairly tall at 3 feet tall. The leaves enlarge and the stem can be quite woody and hard to pull during dry spells. This is another edible weed. It can be a hard weed to identify when it’s young but look for the slight white hue to the green leaves.

grassCrabgrass Digitaria sanguinalis
While this plant doesn’t do much harm to other seedlings, it can quickly take over a bed. It is important that you pull from the bottom of the plant and get the root system. Just like the grass in your lawn, it won’t die unless the roots are gone.

 

Sources:
Organic Gardening.com
UW Weed Information