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!

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! 

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.