The Taste of Elvehjem is coming up Sunday September 13 11am-2pm. So, I thought I would write a blog about some Elvehjem Garden Fun Facts you may or may might not know. The purpose of our Taste Event is to celebrate the fall harvest. The main attraction at the event is the cooking contest. Gardeners create dishes from the fresh food grown in their plots and some lucky judges taste them all and will declare a winner. Recently, I met up with Chris Brockel who gave me some useful information about the garden and what has been growing all season long.
There are 30 plots in the garden
There are 32 gardeners tending the 30 plots in the community garden, that means there are no empty plots. People come and go as they need to from all over Elvehjem Neighborhood and two individuals travel all the way from the other side Cottage Grove Road to garden. Work on the garden begins in mid April and continues until mid November when they harvest brussel sprouts, carrots and pumpkins. Chris says there’s already a waiting list for next year, keep reading until the end, I’ll let you know how you can get on the list.
“The Spring Green Plot” harvest goes to area food pantries
The plot got its name from the people who used to garden the plot and lived in the neighborhood, but have since moved to Spring Green. Now other people take care of their plot and harvest it for food banks like Goodman Food Pantry or Acewood Alliance Food Pantry. The pantries get food like kale, cabbage and peppers. Chris reports that garden fresh food is a Big Hit at the food pantry “they go crazy for it”. To date, over 250 lbs, of food has been donated from the community plot.
There’s more than one way to garden a plot
One person has planted all their food in haystacks, not dirt or compost. The method is called Straw Bale Gardening and you can see a picture of it above. The way it works is the straw bale is allowed to decompose then the gardener plants directly inside the haystacks.
This garden has an operating budget
The answer to your question is yes, the garden is 100% organic, no chemicals allowed in here. Which means all the food is grown with compost obtained from the Dane County Landfill. But Chris says it’s getting expensive to haul it out to the garden. Wood chips you see in the garden path like in the above picture is free from the city and delivered to the garden. There’s a water hook up and various hoses and supplies which are paid for with the fees. Fees are based on individual gardner income level.
If you want to get involved and dedicate some of your time and energy to gardening and harvesting food to enjoy or donate check out the Elvehjem Community Garden Facebook page. We’ll see YOU at the Taste of Elvehjem September 13 11am-2pm!