Frequently Asked Questions
When does the garden open? How long is the season?
The garden opens around the 1st of May, once the spring tilling and staking is done. An email will go out to members announcing the opening. Most gardeners don’t plant until the end of May, or the beginning of June, due to our unpredictable Wisconsin weather. The garden then remains open until the end of September. This is usually around the same time as the first killing frost. Fall Clean-Up defines the last date of gardening in the tilled area. Gardening in the no till area extends until the soil temperatures are too cold.
What are the size of plots? What is the rent?
Full plots measure 20 feet X 25 feet. A half plot measures 20 feet X 12.5 feet. Multiple plots can be rented. Four plots are the limit. A full plot rents for $40, and a half plot is $20.
What is expected of plot owners?
MCG gardeners are expected to maintain their plot (weed, water, etc.) and clean up at the end of the season. In addition plot owners are encouraged to pitch in to maintain the rest of the garden. This includes mowing, staking plot boundaries, and many other random activities. Garden help requests are posted on the shed's chalkboard, or sent by an email. Gardeners also help maintain raspberry, rhubarb and asparagus patches along with our fruit trees. The raspberry patch is managed by a committee. Check the bulletin board in the shed to learn how to join the committee.
No-Till Plots - What does no-till mean?
No-Till is an agriculture practice that does not turn over or plow the soil. It allows numerous microbes in the soil to break down organic waste materials. Our No-Till Plots are east of Pepper Pathway on the map. Article - Pros and Cons on tilling
Do we have to bring our own gardening tools?.
Common tools like hoes, and shovels are available for your use. Feel free to use them. Be sure to clean off any soil and return them to the shed when you are done. Hoses and simple nozzles are also supplied.
Is compost or mulch supplied?
Whenever we can locate good compost, we let gardeners know where to get it. Groups of gardeners often order a load of hay bales for mulching. Check out the bulletin board inside the shed for this information or ask a fellow gardener.
What is the most difficult task?
Weeding: it is not hard to do, but it is imperative to your gardening success. It only becomes hard when weeds are not tended to on a regular basis. Mulching early on will help keep weeds under control and reduce water consumption.
Who fertilizes the garden?
The plot owners should fertilize their own garden space(s). Periodic soil sampling is done by the garden. The soils are tested for 3 nutrients, N-P-K. N-Nitrogen needs to be reapplied yearly. K-Phosphorus is in ample supply, so no amendment is necessary. P-Potassium is usually low, overall. The soil benefits from a yearly amendment of green sand, or Kelp meal, in quantities recommended on the package, or by adding 1 gallon of wood ash from only natural wood ashes (not treated wood).
Photos and Art Work by Kathy Westaby
Is there any problem with pollination?
The garden is quite breezy, and pollination isn’t a problem. There are also a few Honey Bee Hives on the northeast end of the garden. Please stay a 20 to 30 foot distance away, and don’t linger in front of the hives. Read more about Bees in the Garden and watch a short video of Bees inside the hive.
Do you have more seeds or plants than you can use?
Feel free to add to, or use our free seed exchange in the spring. Gardeners often share their extra seeds and seedlings…free to other members. Many gardeners also share their extra garden produce if they grow more than they need. Look for the free plants and produce near the shed.