Sunday, March 5, 2017


The Edibles Garden includes raised vegetable beds, fruit trees, berry bushes, an herb garden, and a composting demonstration area.   There are 12 raised beds, a square foot garden demonstration bed, an accessibility raised bed, two trellis beds, and an herb spiral.  In addition, there are 3 apple trees, a black current bush, an aronia bush, and a goumi bush.  There is also a 3-bin compost system in the garden as well as a cold frame for hardening off seedlings in the spring.  

A variety of annual vegetables are planted in the beds each year, with the aim of show-casing good-tasting varieties that grow well in Dane County and the surrounding area. This year the team will plant two tasting beds filled with a variety of vegetables that visitors can pick and taste straight out of the garden.  The remaining beds will be planted in a more traditional manner and contain new and trial varieties. Team members will maintain these research beds and harvest the produce directly.  Some produce will be placed in a tasting basket for visitors to take and enjoy.  Excess produce will be donated to local food pantries.
Major plans for the Edibles Garden include a new cold frame, a hoop house to extend the growing season, and a (demonstration) drip irrigation system. In addition the team will improve labeling in the garden, revamp the herb spiral, and introduce a container garden demonstration project. Team leaders will organize a series of mini hands-on workshops to help all team members become more knowledgeable and comfortable with vegetable gardening tasks.
Valerie Kozel and Colleen Levitsky are co-leaders of the Edibles Garden team. Valerie graduated from the Dane County Master Gardener Volunteer program in 2016, and has been growing fruits and vegetables—both in the U.S. and outside—for more than 30 years.  She moved to Madison after retiring from the World Bank in 2014 and is particularly interested in organic gardening methods and urban homesteading.  She enjoys growing anything that can be eaten, and is a member of the Madison Seed-to-Kitchen Collaborative and Slow Food Madison.  Colleen Levitsky graduated from the Dane County Master Gardener Volunteer program in 2017 and was a member of the Edibles Garden Team. She has a research background where she managed a team that grew and organized tens of thousands of Arabidopsis plants and studied stress responses.  Currently, she enjoys growing heirloom vegetables and saving seeds and works with the Mount Horeb Public Library’s seed library to help make heirloom vegetable seeds freely available to everyone.

To join the Edibles Garden team, contact Karen Allenstein.  2018 team members include:

Dayna Dalton 3rd year
Trish Day 1st year
Lucy Lasseter 1st year
Jamie Murray-Branch 3rd year
Cathy Spann 1st year
Andy van Duym 1st year

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