Posted by Bob Buck on Nov 09, 2017
A hard freeze has put an end to any outdoor Community Garden activities, giving us time to reflect on how the year went and make plans for the future.
Thank you ! to all the volunteers that took time to help out.
This was the first year for the Community Garden in Holmen and a lot of experience gained during the year. The Garden is a joint effort between the Holmen Lion's Club, the Holmen Area Rotary Club and Gundersen Hospital. The garden is located on the North side of Holmen off of Holmen Drive. Approximately 1/2 acre was planted and over 2700 pounds of produce was harvested and distributed over the year. Most of the produce was taken to the local food pantry at St. Elizabeth's, offered during the public lunch at the Village Hall, during Holmen's Hope with some being taken to Hunger Task Force in La Crosse.  This was a successful start but there were plenty of lesson's learned. When to plant, what to plant, what was accepted by recipients, what grew best and what didn't, how to distribute the harvest, watering management, lack of volunteers when needed and weeds. A meeting was held recently between the members of the Holmen Area Rotary Club Community Service Committee and members of the Holmen Lion's Club to discuss the garden and exchange information. Already there are plans being formulated to go at it again next year, bigger and better.  Some of the ideas/plans going forward- 
  • Increase size of the available plot.
  • Fix up and paint the shed.
  • For fall-early spring have soil tested, plowed, add compost/fertilizer.
  • Increase the number of available volunteers, especially during mid to late May. Direct appeal to create opportunities- for area church groups, youth to fulfill community service hours, etc.
  • Be on the lookout for needed materials- inexpensive fencing for tomato cages, straw or used silo bags to keep weeds down.
  • Improve management of volunteers with easy to follow garden structure and accessible priority task list on site.  
  • More focused mix of plantings.
I am sure 2018 will be a better year for the Community Garden and the people that it will help. Even if you think you have a brown thumb, consider becoming a Community Garden sponsor or volunteer.