Thank you to all who entered a garden in the 2020 Virtual Bountiful Garden Tour! Please enjoy a virtual stroll through some amazingly bountiful gardens.
Foley Fresh, Fantastic Food Garden
Winners of the $100 Grand Prize
We started our garden when we were planning our wedding. We first grew tomatoes and pumpkins and served them to our guests and decorated with them at our wedding 8 years ago. Now the children plant and help with the garden. They LOVE giving garden tours to friends and family. Nolan is always checking and making sure we pick when fruits and veggies are ripe. If it wasn’t for him, we would have missed our first cucumber, ground cherry, cantaloupe and watermelon. Mariel loves the ground cherries and peas so she is always eating straight from the garden. and the fresh broccoli all summer long. They help plan, plant, harvest and sometimes weed, the hardest part. No one likes weeding at our house. We are lucky our garden is right out our back door so we pick what we need and eat it within the hour. We share the bountiful cucumber and melon harvest with friends and family. We already made pickles this year and sometimes eat them for breakfast because they are so good! The children pick out what pumpkin seeds to grow each year, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it is always a fun learning experience.
What is growing in your garden? Hollyhocks, horseradish, rhubarb, peas, tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers, Cana flowers, dahlias, radishes, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, ground cherries, zucchini, pumpkins, spaghetti squash, & sunflowers.
Who are the Gardeners? Nolan – 6 years old, Mariel 4 years old, Andy & Karolanne – We both grew up with parents who grew kitchen vegetable gardens. We aspire to make them proud of our garden someday! They both do things differently, so by trial and error each year, we are beginning to find what works for us and our soil. For some reason we can grow the best watermelon where our parents cannot, so we plant extra and share the love.
Liam and Lily’s Northside Garden
Liam and Lily love gardening so they have their own special garden where they choose what they want to plant, take care of it and harvest it on their own. They love running past and grabbing a handful of veggies from the garden for their snacks!
What is growing in your garden? They planted all of their favorites; kale (both kids’ favorite), carrots, lettuce, onions, cilantro, a strawberry patch next to it and their new favorite a giant pumpkin plant for fall. Most was planted from seed, but they also enjoyed putting in some starters from GROW:)
Who are the Gardeners? Liam (5) and Lily (3) are the gardeners! They love growing starters and watching them from seed before they move them outside to their little garden. Liam loves to wake up each morning to water his plants and both love grabbing veggies whenever they are hungry right from their garden:) If you ask them Liam will tell you his favorite food is kale and Lily’s is carrots:) They are also both excited to see how big their pumpkin grows! They also love their chickens!
Labor of Love and Silliness Garden
Our girls are the masters of this terraced vegetable garden that we painstakingly built into the hillside in front of our home. Some evenings, our 10- and 13-yr old daughters harvest kale, potatoes, nasturtium and borage flowers to prepare dinners that are almost too pretty to eat. Other evenings, our kids use the garden as a backdrop for elaborate pretend play in which they dress as fairies and goddesses. Our youngest has learned to tie up tomato plants, meticulously thin and transplant beets, and dig potatoes. Our pets, including a ridiculous turkey, chickens, and our cat luxuriate in the sun, butterflies, and bees under a blanket of green.
What is growing in your garden? Kale is very easy to grow, so we grow a lot of it. We also have dragon carrots, beets, and bright purple potatoes. Chocolate-colored heirloom tomatoes and ground cherries will ripen soon. Grandpa sent raspberry plants for the girls to plant.
Who are the Gardeners? Claire is a 5th-grader at State Road Elementary and Aya is an 8th-grader at Lincoln. Both girls have had a school garden and GROW programming since they started school, so have always been invested in growing food and preparing meals.
Country Cabin Day Care:
Garden of Love
We started our garden last year thanks to help from Farm to ECE. It’s always been a dream to have a garden that the children can learn to plant, grow, pick, process and enjoy! Children help plant in the spring and watch and check daily to see what they can harvest. It takes quite a while before food makes it in the house as children are allowed to roam throughout the whole garden and pick what they want to eat the whole time we are in the play yard. So many picky eaters have learned to eat so much better just from growing it themselves!
What is growing in your garden? Tomatoes, Blueberries, sweet corn, peas, green beans, squash, banana peppers, green cabbage, red cabbage, kohlrabi, carrots, lettuce, celery, basil, Brussel sprouts, beets, cucumbers, radishes, marigolds.
Who are the Gardeners? I am a licensed in home child care provider and the children and I plant in the spring. One of the best additions to my program. Hoping to expand with a huge greenhouse this Fall to expand our area and teach children how to start our own plants.
The Bunny Garden
My mom has helped me garden before, but this is my first year having my own garden.
What is growing in your garden? Lavender, Zinnias, Bunny Grass, Purple Basil, Roma tomatoes, Cotton Plant, Sweet Basil, Sugar snap peas, tepary beans, a lima bean, and a marigold.
Who are the Gardeners? My mom helped me a little, but I did have to weed, mulch, and water. My dad helped with the outside fence, but I put up the inside fence and made the climbing structure out of bamboo sticks and zipties.
Community / Non-Profit Gardens
With a five way tie the “People’s Choice Award” goes to all of the Community Gardens!
First Harvest Community Garden
The First Harvest Garden is a place for Onalaska teens along with a few adult volunteers to serve their community by growing vegetables for the local food pantry. The program was started 11 years ago at another location and have now been growing at this property owned by First Lutheran Church for about 6 years. We are grateful to be able to gather together this year as many activities for youth have been canceled. Volunteers are taking recommend safety precautions by only gathering in small numbers, always wearing masks and using hand sanitizer. Many students return year after year to participate in this program – for some this is their 4th year working in the garden! Typically about 25 students participate at least once during the season (limit is 9 at one time this year). We use organic methods in the garden and implement Square Foot Gardening techniques to make the most out of our small space and raise a wide variety of veggies. The garden is having spectacular year!
La Crescent Community Garden
The La Crescent Community Garden is in its 14th year! In partnership with Messiah Lutheran Church who owns the property, we create a space where gardeners can rent a plot, and have the option to help in communally grown areas. We share food with the La Crescent Food Shelf and others from these group areas. We have a bean tipi, sunflower house, and a tunnel trellis, and added a Fairy Garden this year – fun for kids and adults alike, to explore!
West Union Community Garden
The West Union Community garden was inspired by garden organizations in La Crosse such as GROW. When I spoke with members of GROW La Crosse, I was introduced to its innovative ways of connecting kids to their food and encouraging healthy behaviors. This spring was a unique time for all of us, and it gave me the opportunity to start a community garden in my hometown. The goal for this year was to build the garden’s first plot with the support of local residents. The produce is returned to the community as we share produce with Open Hands Food Pantry and distribute vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, green beans, and peppers to anyone looking for fresh food. This entry may be overreaching the criteria of this Bountiful Garden Tour, but I just wanted to share how impactful GROW La Crosse is because it perpetuates the joy of gardening beyond its established borders.
Habitat Restore Soak ItUp!
When the ReStore moved to this location in 2015, we sustainably renovated our ReStore landscape by planting native plants, implementing a system to prevent soil erosion, and creating a water storage system. Native, pollinators, and food plants are spread throughout the grounds. We called upon the expertise of Coulee Region Ecoscapes to design and guide our process to make an environmentally friendly space that is beautiful, abundant, and a model for best practices for a business. The native plants sustainably support the ecosystem by feeding pollinators and add a sense of beauty to any landscape. To prevent further rainwater runoff that carries pollution to the La Crosse and Mississippi Rivers, we built a system that diverts storm water and distributes it to the surrounding plants and reduces flooding rather than sending it to storm drains. And we made a rainwater sculpture out of reclaimed goods in keeping with our ReStore. Our rainwater collection system harvests and stores water for future usage. And our raised beds feed our staff and volunteers fresh healthy produce.
Kane Street Community Garden
We give away at least 30,000 pounds of free food to the community every growing season! Feeding the community, creating sustainable food opportunities, and creating habitat for pollinators are our main goals.
What is growing in your garden? Okra, tomatoes, cucumber, melon, squash, kale, eggplant, peppers, beans, garlic, raspberries, herbs, carrots, zucchini, dill, apples, celery, onions, cabbage, beets, lettuce, Kohlrabi, radishes, corn, rhubarb, strawberries, gooseberries, serviceberries, broccolis cauliflower, rutabaga, leeks, peaches Flowers: echinacea, Culver’s root, milkweed, black eyed Susan, yarrow, canna, evening primrose, morning glory, calendula, bee balm, false indigo, button bush, meadowsweet, spiderwort, zinnia, marigold, sunflowers, goldenrod, aster, Joe pye weed, St. John’s wort.
Private Vegetable Gardens
Mary Ann’s Sunflower Garden
Winner of the Private Vegetable Garden Prize Basket
I have gardened since moving to this address for nearly 12 years now. I have supported Seed Savers in Decorah, IA acquiring seeds through the exchange or buying them at the farm along with our transplants the first Sat. of every May. I have planted a wide variety of sunflowers over the years, beginning when pregnant with my only son. I have planted sunflower gardens for him, as well as child-friendly snacks such as sugar snap peas, sweet yellow pear tomatoes, and ground cherries he could pick fresh and eat from the garden. I garden to teach my son the time and work that goes into bringing organic produce to our table. I garden to support a sustainable vegetarian diet. I garden with my son to explore the possibilities–round carrots, yellow carrots, purple carrots, white carrots–he would choose or imagine and I would find the seed and grow them. I also garden to solve problems (such as no longer having available organic lima beans at the Co-op)-we started growing them. I garden to make the world lovelier, more hopeful, to share with others, and allow my son to sell produce. You could ask any of my neighbors what my strategy for gardening is–hard work. I am out in the garden long hours in June and early July. The outcome is never certain. Every year we have rabbits. But come August, it is growing and miraculously we are beginning to harvest. I have planted in the shape of a heart-a wildflower garden for our pollinators. This is an early blooming beauty for the Med Flight overhead and an invitation to winged beings to visit!
This year due to COVID-19, we were not able to travel to Seed Savers, but used our own saved seeds. My favorite moment was when my son harvested dried tepary bean pods left on the fence vines from last year and cracked them open and planted them. We did order a delivery of a few plants from Old Oak Farm as my son has made a friendship with the farmer through Farmer’s Market.
What is growing in your garden? Sugar snap peas, Christmas Lima Beans, Native Seed Lima Bean, Tepary Bean, lots of Curly Kale, Marigold, Nasturtium, Mammoth Sunflowers, Titan Sunflowers, Lemon Queen Sunflowers, Irish Eyes Sunflowers, Taiyo Sunflowers, Roma Tomatoes, Cantelope, Watermelon, Lunchbox peppers, purple peppers, jalapeno peppers, Roma tomatoes, Early Girl tomatoes, Yellow cherry tomatoes, heirloom cherry tomatoes, Sweet basil, sage, thyme, oregano.
Who are the Gardeners? My husband takes care of fence and defense of our garden and helps weed along the outside of the fences. My son is an ever-increasing helper; running to the garage for me for requested items. This year he created a garden gate for me for Mother’s Day. My son asked to have his own garden within my garden this year, fencing it off himself and taking care of it! My fondest memory this year with him was when we both were very near each other weeding on opposite sides of the fence.
Several families purchased Fruit Acres together with the intention of reviving an organic apple farm that not only strengthens local agriculture, but supports art, community, and ultimately, excellent hard cider.
What is growing in your garden? Fruit Acres is home to 10,000 apple trees spread out over 400 acres of stunning bluff land.
Who are the Gardeners? Tending to the apple trees on Fruit Acres is a lot of work. You would never look at an apple the same way again if you knew how hard apple farmers worked! Trees need to be pruned in the spring, mowed to keep free of weeds, diligently studied for pest damage, sprayed with certified organic sprays for protection, harvested, and juiced. Mom, dads, kids–everyone has to help to make the dream of growing apples happen. But the amazing thing is that while growing apples, we’re growing families and friends. And who are we? We’re a collection of educators, biologists, artists, and visionaries.
Wuensch Bier Garden
A joint husband and wife effort. We love to be able to grow, nurture, product, share, and preserve food. It’s always amazing to see what you get.
What is growing in your garden? Corn, beans, squash, beets, tomatoes, peppers, cukes, grapes, onions, broccoli.
Who are the Gardeners? Tell us a little about yourselves.Brad starts the seeds indoors, then nurtures in the greenhouse. Melane plants, weeds, and preserves the bounty.
O’Neillski Family Garden
What is growing in your garden? Tomatoes, herbs, garlic, squash.
Who are the Gardeners? Dolan and Adelade O’Neill
Wagnor Family Garden
We’ve had this garden for four years (the entire time we’ve been in this home)– at our previous home we had two 4X4 raised beds, so this garden is a step up! All our seedlings came from Sweet 16 Farm in Houston, MN this year. As a health and nutrition educator by profession, I think it’s important for kids to see where food comes from (the ground, not the grocery store) and to build an appreciation for what goes into growing food. It is SO convenient to head to the backyard for ingredients for a meal, and garden fresh flavors cannot be beat! Seriously, is there anything better than a just picked cherry tomato?!?
What is growing in your garden? Asparagus, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, green beans, peppers, raspberries, several different herbs and sunflowers.
Who are the Gardeners? The kids like to plant and pick (and eat right from the garden), Dave is in charge of watering, Katie is in charge of planting and weeding.
Private Flower or Non-fruiting Perennial Garden
Green Hollow Garden
Winner of the Private Flower or Non-fruiting Perennial Garden Prize Basket
Thank you to all of the garden tour participants for sharing their love for gardening with us. Thank you also to our sponsors Thrive2Strive Coulee Region and Coulee Family Dental. Without their financial support this event would not have been possible.
GROW’s mission is to connect children to healthy food and nature. We do this through school garden and farm experiences. We have modified our delivery during these unusual times, but we are still working as hard as ever to find ways to continue our mission. Sign up for our newsletter to stay current on our activity.
As a non-profit all of our programs depend on funds from sponsors, grants and individual donations. You can be a part of helping to create positive, healthy connections with children by donating.