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

Grand Opening Party!

You are invited to. . .

Birds and Bee BalmCrowley Station Community Garden will be having a Grand Opening Event! Please join us at the garden at 201 S. Hancock St on September 7, 2014. We hope to celebrate our fabulous first year with all the people who have made this garden possible. Please pass this invitation on to your friends and neighbors. We look forward to meeting with everyone! 
 
5:00 Yoga in the Garden presented by Pat Barone from Raw Materials Wellness & Learning Center. Please bring your own mat. This class will be suited for all levels. $3 for members of Community Gardens in Dane County, $5 for public.
 
6:00 Meet & Greet: Gardeners and neighborhood members can get to know each other and take a look at all the wonderful things growing in the garden. 
 
6:15 Potluck! Please bring a dish to share, your own plate and silverware. Drinks and glasses will be provided. Chairs and Picnic blankets are also recommended. The Garden will be presenting a few special Thank-You’s to the people who have supported the project this first year. 
 
You can see the event on our website and G+
 
 

Some local press and upcoming garden events

crowley both working horizontalWe’ve been featured in an article on the City of Madison website! Click here to read it. It features interviews with Danni and Danna, from our executive team, and gives a little background on how Crowley Station Garden got started!

We’d also like to share a few local garden resources with our fellow garden enthusiasts:

  • Dane County Community Gardens For information on Dane County garden events, see this very helpful calendar. The same website also has helpful links on how to plan and maintain a community garden.
  • The West Madison ARS Display Gardens Open House

On Sat. Aug 9, 2014, from 10am-2pm the UW Display Gardens will be holding their annual summer event in which the public is invited to tour the outstanding collections of flowers, vegetables, and fruit.  This year’s trials and demonstrations include nearly 400 cultivars of annual and perennial flowers and nearly 130 different cultivars of vegetables.

University and Extension experts include Jim Nienhuis, UW veggie expert and professor of Horticulture; Brian Hudelson Senior Outreach Specialist and director of the Plant Disease Diagnostics Clinic; Scott Craven, Wildlife Ecology emeritus; Julie Dawson, Urban and Regional Food Systems Specialist from Horticulture; Dick Wiedman, grape expert; P.J. Leisch from the Insect Diagnostic Lab; and, and pollinator experts from USDA-ARS will be on hand to offer samples and answer questions on insects, disease and animals that may affect your garden and lawn.

Master Gardeners and garden staff will also be available to field general garden questions on growing techniques and variety selection.

Enjoy tasting of the gardens’ fresh fruit and vegetables, including roasted chili peppers, activity booklets for the kids, pollinator exhibits, and large farm equipment on display.  This event is FREE and open to the public. Visitors are encouraged to bring their cameras and questions.

The open house will be held at University Display Gardens that is located at the West Madison Agricultural Research Station approximately 0.5 miles west of the Hwy 12/14 beltline at 8502 Mineral Point Road, Verona, WI 53593.

  • Seed Saving Workshop

Sat, August 23, 2pm – 4pm

Where: Madison Public Library: Goodman South Madison Branch, 2222 S. Park St. (map)

Description: Join us for a seed saving workshop with UW Extension Master Gardener Volunteers. Learn how to dry and harvest seeds to save for next year, and how to return seeds to the seed library! We will meet in Meeting Room 115. Space is limited, please register at http://host.evanced.info/madison/evanced/eventsignup.asp?ID=36426

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