Winter. It is too early to start seeds. It is cold here with snow on the ground so garden work is out of the question. So what better time to learn something new about gardening.. a new planting technique, new plants, soil amendments. weeds. pollinators, raised gardens, fertilizers, organic gardening techniques... all sorts of topics covered in all sorts of ways.
Following are just a few sources to get new information on gardening.
Covid has put a cabash to the in-person garden workshops. But that doesn't mean they aren't happening. Many organizations are going online. As a Facebook user I have new workshops from all over the Midwest and the nation popping up on my Facebook page all the time .
The 2021 Wisconsin Garden & Landscape Expo is scheduled for February 20 and 21 online. The number of workshops has been greatly reduced because of the online format. Interested gardeners may get more information at https://wigardenexpo.com
Grant County Master Gardeners is offering a series of speakers on various gardening topics. Interested people may get more information at
The first ever 2021 Virtual Wisconsin Community Garden Conference is scheduled for February 12 and 13. It has two strings...one for gardeners and one for community leaders. There is a small fee for this program. Interested people may get more information at https://danegardens.net/conference
Some of these programs are free. Some require a small registration fee.
As new workshops come across my Facebook page, I post them to the our Gardens Facebook page.
There are many books available on all sorts of gardening topics.
Of course a great place to look for books is your local library which has a great collection of gardening books on various topics of interest. I use my local library to preview books before purchasing.
One of my favorites is the Creative Vegetable Gardener's Smart Start Garden Planner. Not only is it pretty to look at but it is an easy read and full of wonderful charts about veggies and garden planning documents. The author, Megan Cain, lives in Madison so all the information is very accurate for our Midwest growing area. It can be ordered directly on Cain's website and it is available on loan through our local South Central Library System. Below are page shots of Megan's book.
There are so many resources available online. A Google search for free online gardening resources will provide a list or resources and workshops from nurseries, garden organizations, and YouTube resources. Be sure that the learning opportunity is from a reliable organization or source.
Facebook user? Gardening tips, workshops, and information is shared daily on the River Valley Area Community Gardens Facebook page. Like the page and get the latest updates.
Melinda Meyer, Megan Cain and P. Allen Smith as well as Jungs Seeds, Burpee Seeds, Botanical Interests, Bruce Company, Proven Winners and many other suppliers and noted gardeners have Facebook pages, web sites and YouTube channels that provide gardening tips.
Your local PBS station is a great place to check for gardening programs. Here in the Madison area WHADH airs University Place at numerous times during the day. University Place often rebroadcasts Wisconsin Garden & Landscaping Expo workshops and other programs from the University of Wisconsin on gardening topics. The broadcast schedule is listed on the University Place web site where the programs may also be watched directly.
HGTV along with other channels may carry other gardening programs. Check your local TV listings.
There are a number of organizations focused on gardening that provide resources related to gardening topics. A few of those are listed below
The National Gardening Association
The American Horticultural Society
The American Community Garden Association
University of Wisconsin Extension, Department of Horticulture
and many others
Kids Gardening Resources
Our kids are our future gardeners. KidsGardening is a source of activities, lesson plans and resources to help parents, teachers, leaders and others working with students.
I hope you take some time to explore one or more of these resources to learn something new about gardening.
A new year brings changes.
This year we are saying "Good-bye" as President and Superintendent Duane Miller and Board member Becki Miller, long time Gardeners and 5 year Board members, leave the Board due to Duane's work schedule and wanting to spend time with their son Matthew. We hate to see them go but we know they are going to be volunteers and will stop to check the Gardens when they are in town.
Duane, and Becki along with their son, Matthew, were instrumental in getting the Gardens up and running in 2016, helping at the brat frys and the caramel apple sales, keeping equipment running and making repairs, and in keeping the grounds mowed and looking great They were also instrumental in laying our first underground irrigation lines. Becki made our current RVACG sign on Westmor St.
Becki has volunteered to continue mowing the grounds next summer. Duane has said he would help lay the irrigation lines into the new section on the western half of the property. He has said he would continue to be our mechanic as time allows.
Thanks Duane and Becki for all your hard work over the years! We will miss your insights and suggestions at the Board Meetings but look forward to Spring and seeing you around the Gardens again.
At the December meeting of the Board of Directors, new officers were elected as follows:
President / Registrar: Rose Ellen Schneider
Vice President / Superintendent: Doug Rouse
Secretary: Sarah Alt
Treasurer: Melissa Hildebrandt (new Board member)
Board Members: Thomas Hilston, Don Koller, Amy Thompson, Wid Yarnall
Due to meeting via Zoom we are unable to get a picture of the new Board at this time.
Below is a drone picture of the Gardens taken in October 2020. Last season we added a total of 27 new plots on the south side (bottom) and the west side (left) of the garden. This year we are opening the complete western area of the Gardens for plots with a possibility of approximately 21 more 20 x 20 plots. This will provide more opportunities for people to garden with us. These 20 x 20 plots may be subdivided into 10 x 20 plots or 10 x 10 plots.
Registration is now open and information may be found on our Garden Plots page or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Board is also considering adding a shelter for shade, for outdoor meetings, and for public use. Looking at the picture, the tentative location of the shelter is somewhere south (below) of the white fences (lines) of the perennial bed which divides the parkland from the gardens. Currently we are discussing using all of our fund raising profits in 2021 for the shelter.
Decisions also need to be made about moving the Gardeners Shed and constructing a new Mower / Storage Shed in the next couple of years. Cost estimates for the storage shed indicate we will need to undertake some major fundraising activities as planning progresses.
We are looking forward to all the new opportunities to share gardening with our community in 2021.