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Cindy, City of Madison Alder Anita, and Sue, current gardeners at the “Growing Together School and Community Garden” shared some of their experiences in the garden.
What is your favorite part about the Blackhawk Growing Together School and Community Garden?
I’m new to gardening. I got so excited when my radishes came up I ran around looking for someone to come look at the tiny green leaves. The garden is filled with discoveries. I found out lettuce seeds are smaller than a baby’s eyelash. When the sprout came I marveled that from such a fragile sprout a big clump of lettuce grows!
How has the garden enhanced the community?
People have gotten to know new people, and students have learned where food comes from.
Are there any funny stories or memorable moments from your time in the garden that you would like to share?
One of the school children stops by when I am in the garden. The other day he was telling me why elephants eat dirt. I wanted to share back and showed him the kohlrabi I had planted. I explained I used to stop by my aunts after school and eat a fresh kohlrabi with a sprinkle of salt as a snack. He asked where kohlrabies grow which I thought was a strange question since I just showed him where it grows. Then it dawned on me he was asking where on the plant does the “kohlrabi” grow – on the leaf stem like a tomato? Under the soil like a carrot? I pulled a plump kohlrabi and sent it home with him so his mom could peel it for him – and reminded him to add a sprinkle of salt.
I was pick-pocketed by a kale plant this summer! Upon returning home on my bike from an hour in my garden, I discovered my car keys were missing! So I rode right back, and since I didn't discover the keys on the way, I knew they had to be in the garden. Two hot hours of searching later in 90 degree heat, I was about defeated. So I went home to cool off and regroup. When I returned, I reasoned that since I had the keys hanging from a hook in my back pocket, they might have fallen in my neighbor's gardens..........and another hour later, I found them HANGING in my neighbor's KALE PLANT. The plant had apparently snagged my key hook when I bent over to pick my beans......and there they were, totally concealed, hanging in the center of this 2 foot tall plant! The incident wasn't fun, but the retelling surely has been.
Being a two time cancer survivor, when I retired I decided to really focus on health. Everything I read said eat lots of leafy greens. Well, the community garden a block and a half from my home was a dream come true. I do believe I am turning a shade of green and growing rabbit ears from all the greens and garden produce I am eating – kale, collards, chard, leeks, onions, beets, beans, tomatoes, corn, and rhubarb. And an added bonus is I have really felt the savings on my food budget!
If you live in Madison and would like to get involved with this garden, please contact the garden registrar at 608-819-6235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.