Greening FSPA Land
Our land on St. Joseph Ridge, just outside of La Crosse, serves as an educational model in the community. As future stewards of the earth, local students and volunteers help to work the garden. FSPA's agricultural internship program bolsters the students' undergraduate studies for biology and sustainable management majors as well.
To volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our UGetConnected page.
Discover Wisconsin features FSPA land on St. Joseph Ridge
Take a virtual tour through our land and gardens on St. Joseph Ridge
- The North Garden contains a raspberry patch, row crops, and is surrounded on two sides by a sunflower deer fence. Sunchokes protect a third side. Popular crops in the garden include our heritage 'Hildegard' green pole beans, garlic, lettuce and peppers.
- The South Garden is surrounded on two sides by the sunflower deer fence. This garden contains raised garden rows with classic garden crops such as peas, yellow straight neck squash, tomatoes and radishes. We use companion planting to maximize use of space and pest control. This includes planting marigolds near cabbage plants (to ward off the cabbage butterflies) and peas on a trellis in the middle of a row to allow for shorter crops, such as radish and lettuce, to grow at the trellis base.
- The West Garden houses crops such as butternut squash, asparagus, sweet potatoes and rhubarb. Asparagus grows in long, wide rows with butternut squash planted in the walkways to maximize space. Our squash grow large and contribute the greatest total weight of our garden crops. Some weigh up to 15 pounds each!
- Jacoba's Greenhouse, named for a companion of St. Francis of Assisi, allows us year round vegetable production. Solar panels and a geothermal system provide power and heat. We collect rain from troughs as well as the nearby quonset shed to water our plants. Our greenhouse grows seedlings, to be later planted in the gardens. Eventually, we harvest beets, carrots, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, herbs, swiss chard, microgreens, banana trees and various potted plants.
- Surrounded by a wire deer fence, the orchard contains a variety of fruit trees--apple, pear and apricot. Shrubs include blueberries, currants and hazelnuts. We spray our orchard in early spring with neem oil to minimize pests. We also cover our blueberry bushes with mesh when the berries are in season. Along with the garden plants, we feed our orchard compost tea weekly.
West Flower Garden
- Cut flowers in this garden are used to adorn the Villa St. Joseph chapel altar and sisters’ living spaces. Flowers grown include calla lilies, cosmos, peonies and gladiolus. We also grow a few herbs!
North Flower Garden
- The North Flower Garden serves a similar purpose as the West Flower Garden. Cut flowers are grown here as well as wildflowers, a white pine tree, pussy willow, cannas and clematis vine.