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!
Pigweed 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.
Purslane 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.
Lamb’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.
Crabgrass 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.
You are invited to. . .
We’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
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!
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…
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do here in Madison. Include your garden experiences, if any!
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!