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 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

North Garden

  • 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.
    • Digging potatoes

      Digging potatoes

    • Garlic row

      Garlic row

    • Lettuce row

      Lettuce row

    • Marne, Clare and Hannah harvesting garlic

      Marne, Clare and Hannah harvesting garlic

    • Rasberries


    • Sunflower deer fence and row crops

      Sunflower deer fence and row crops

    • Water diversion

      Water diversion

    • North Garden from above

      North Garden from above

South Garden

  • 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.
    • Basil


    • Herb garden and south garden

      Herb garden and south garden

    • Beth Piggush with cabbage

      Beth Piggush with cabbage

    • Companion planting

      Companion planting

    • Eggplant


    • Hannah with strawberry harvest

      Hannah with strawberry harvest

    • Interns pull onions

      Interns pull onions

    • South garden from above

      South garden from above

West Garden

  • 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!
    • Viterbo nursing students with sweet potatoes

      Viterbo nursing students with sweet potatoes

Jacoba's Greenhouse

  • 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.
    • Beets


    • Broccoli seedlings

      Broccoli seedlings

    • Storing squash

      Storing squash

    • Banana blossom

      Banana blossom

    • Gerbera daisy

      Gerbera daisy

    • Solar water feature zinnias

      Solar water feature zinnias

    • Radish microgreens

      Radish microgreens

    • Katelyn with alfalfa sprouts

      Katelyn with alfalfa sprouts

    • Greenhouse from above

      Greenhouse from above


  • 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.
    • Currants


    • Hazelnut bush

      Hazelnut bush

    • Hazelnuts ready for harvest

      Hazelnuts ready for harvest

    • Pears


    • Pears and hazelnuts

      Pears and hazelnuts

    • Plum


    • Orchard from above

      Orchard from above

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!
    • Roses


    • Peonies


    • Siberian iris

      Siberian iris

    • Onion chives

      Onion chives

    • Bachelor button

      Bachelor button

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.
    • North Flower Garden

      North Flower Garden

    • Iris


    • North Flower Garden from above

      North Flower Garden from above

    • Poppy


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