Gardening 101

Welcome to Gardening 101

This page is hosted by Karen Stoltz, FSPA Ecospirituality Project Outreach Coordinator. To chat with Karen, contact us!

seedlings at FSPA garden

Spring 2020

Spring is in the air! We’re spending more time at home. What better time to start a garden? Gardening offers the benefits of exercise, fresh produce, and a connection to God’s creations.


Here are a few steps to help get you started:

Select what you'd like to grow

a. Call/Zoom your gardener friends for seed and plant recommendations. Contact Karen to learn the FSPA favorites! Or contact your local County Extension Horticulture agent (here's the La Crosse extension).

b. Peruse available seed varieties at the stores, starting at the end of March.

c. Visit reputable seed companies online ( such as Johnny’s Seed, Seed Savers, Jungs) and request a free catalog online. For trees and shrubs make sure to look for  “hardy at zone 4.”

d. Determine how many plants you wish to grow. Seed packets and seed catalogs give you spacing requirements.For trees and shrubs make sure to check for mature height and width.

Start from seed or purchase transplant from the store or greenhouse

a. Purchasing seeds saves you money but it may require more of your time. Many gardeners choose to purchase a combination of seeds and transplants.


b. Starting from seed, determine which seeds can be planted outside, directly into the soil (shorter season plants) and which seeds need to be started indoors (longer season plants). Check out when to plant with the UW Extension Guide.


c. When starting your seeds in soil, consider your container, where the container will sit while you wait for the sprouts, water catchment, and a light source. Watch this video from “Ask This Old House” for a quick tutorial. 

Find a suitable garden location 

a. Most garden plants prefer a sunny location with well drained, nutrient-rich soil. Read the seed packet or the plant pot tag to learn what your plant needs.


b. Check out this 30 minute video on starting and where to place your garden.


If you prefer to minimize bending over and kneeling on the ground, consider a raised bed and a potted container garden. Watch this video from UW-Madison Extension. 


And, here are complete directions for starting a container garden (.pdf)!

Now ... you're invited to take a virtual tour of our gardens. And, please use the social share buttons below to share these Garden 101 tips with your friends!

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