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!

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!