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!

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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!

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!

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!

Brr, it’s cold out there! Gardening in autumn

autumn garden harvest

Gardeners,

Wow, the weather has certainly changed quickly this year! I know that some of our members are new to gardening. I thought it might be helpful to share a few tips on how to garden in the Autumn. Please feel free to share with everyone your own tips and tricks on growing during the chilly weather!
1) Know your first frost date! Our average frost date (the first date we get temperatures at night at 32F or lower) is around Oct. 10-15th. You can plant fall crops by subtracting the days to maturity (found on the back of seed packets) from this date. For instance I planted some Swiss Chard at the beginning of September, about six weeks before our frost date. This weekend we will be getting close to have an early frost, keep an eye on the weather. 
2) Protect your crops from the first frost. We often have a couple nights in the autumn where it gets really chilly and frosty but warms up during the day to at least the 60s. For those evenings you can cover your crops during the night with old sheets and blankets, remove the sheets during the day, and prolong your veggies a couple weeks.
3) Protect your Perennials. Some of you might have planted things that come back year after year, like strawberries. Do some research on how best to winterize those plants. Usually it means putting some extra straw or mulch around the plant to help it transition from hot to cold and provide extra insulation for super frigid winters.
4) Plant your Winter Crops. Do you dream of your very own garlic next year? I know I do! Now is a great time to start planting your garlic and other crops that need a good long winter to grow through.The garlic you plant now will be ready for harvest next August.
5) Think about Cover Crops.  The garden will be discussing what we want to do for the winter. Our goals are to protect the soil against erosion, build the soil health, and keep things pleasant visually through Winter. One of the best ideas is planting a cover crop. If you are interested in deciding how we prepare the garden for the Winter, come to the next Executive Team Meeting September 15 at 7PM at Barriques.  All members are welcome!