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!

Featured gardener: Danni Niles

We’re continuing our Featured Gardener series, in which we interview our community gardeners to learn a little bit about them and why they chose to be part of Crowley Station Community Garden. Today’s interview features Danni Niles, who has been with the garden since the beginning! Here she is…

niles

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do here in Madison. Include your garden experiences, if any!

I grew up on a vegetable farm. In our rural town I was heavily involved in youth agricultural programs like 4-H and FFA. I still go back about once a month to help my parents. I’d love to be making a living on the farm, but it just isn’t feasible right now with school loans. So, I’m working at the WI State Law Library. I get to meet a lot of really talented and interesting people at work.
2. What do you plan to grow in your garden plot?
This year I’ve planted a lot of green beans because they can be a fast growing summer plant. I’ve also planted a lot of herbs and marigolds for color and as an insect repellent. There are some hot peppers planted from seeds, but I don’t think there is enough time for them to be productive. It’s all a big experiment planting this late and after such heavy spring rains!
3. What made you decide to rent a plot in the Crowley Station Community Garden?
A regular patron at the library is Jane Anne Morris. She is the co-founder of the Downtown Community Garden Group. When I was discussing gardening with her one day, she mentioned that her group was working with First Settlement Neighborhood to start a new community garden only a few blocks from my house. I volunteered my time to help submit the final proposal and work on the planning details. It’s exciting to be a part of something right from the beginning.
4. What is your favorite vegetable to eat?
My favorite vegetable would be green beans. My favorite garden produce, though, are tomatoes. There is nothing better than a tomato right off the vine. I love to stuff them with cottage cheese as a summer treat.
5. Anything else you’d like to share with fellow gardeners and readers of this blog?
When I’m not helping out with the garden I love to do calligraphy. I’m also an avid reader.

Featured gardener: Joy Hinds

We’re excited to kick off our Featured Gardener series, in which we interview our community gardeners to learn a little bit about them and why they chose to be part of Crowley Station Community Garden. Today’s interview features Joy Hinds, who incidentally was the first person to plant when the garden opened! Here she is…Take note of her request to meet at the garden and eat some sweet treats!

1stGardenerJoy

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do here in Madison. Include your garden experiences, if any!
I have a farm 22 miles west of Mad City where we have weddings every weekend….It’s called Sugarland after Big Daddy (my husband, Bobby, of pugilistic fame) and a beautiful place. A creek runs through it, Mounds Creek. It had a grist mill my twin sister, Polly, and I frequented as children. My gardening experience in Madison started at Quann Park.
2. What do you plan to grow in your garden plot?
Tomatoes, peppers, basil, hen and chicks, thyme, etc.
3. What made you decide to rent a plot in the Crowley Station Community Garden?
I’m a Crowley from way back in Cobh, County Cork, Ireland in 1800’s.
4. What is your favorite vegetable to eat?
Baked Potato oozing with butter, sour cream, scallions and pepper.
5. Anything else you’d like to share with fellow gardeners and readers of this blog?
I LOVE sweets so when we all get together down there some time, let’s have goodies, too.

Surprising ways gardening can make your life better

The Crowley Station Community Garden is officially open! Our gardeners have started to plant lots of summer vegetables and herbs, everything from tomatoes and peppers to sage and basil. Over the next several months, this blog will feature short interviews with many of our gardeners, who will give us insight as to why they joined our community garden. We’ll also post gardening tips, plus links and events related to gardening and community health. If you have any resources to share, please feel free to email us!

Today we’ll share some surprising ways gardening can make your life better. Scroll down to see an infographic from The Pond Blog. Did you know that 45 minutes of digging in the dirt can burn 200 calories? Or peruse this article from Mother Nature Network, which tells us that gardening lowers your risk of osteoporosis and diabetes. Last, learn from the National Gardening Association how much money a large food garden can save you each year (hint: it’s more than $500!). Here’s to gardening making our city a healthier and wealthier place to be!


Cool Ways Gardening Can Make Your Life Better; The benefits of gardening

 

 

 

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!