The Superior Community Garden Association is getting a helping hand to create growing opportunities in Superior.

Members of the Northern Wisconsin Building Trades, Superior Federation of Labor and Carpenters Local 361 were in the 2300 block of Oakes Avenue, just south of the Golden Apartments, erecting a fence around what will be the association’s first community garden.

“I met with Dan Olson, city councilor, it involved putting together some ideas on how we could get city councilors and the community all working together on a common goal, something positive,” said Jeremy Browen, business representative with the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters. It was during that discussion they talked about a project Councilor Ruth Ludwig was involved in — creating a community garden.

Browen said he met with the building trades and Superior Federation of Labor, and together they made up fliers and contacted businesses for donations, in addition to volunteering time to put up the fence to keep deer and other animals out of the gardens.

Ludwig is the treasurer for the nonprofit Superior Community Garden Association.

Crews work on a fence for the Superior Community Garden on the 2300 block of Oakes Avenue on Thursday morning in Superior.  (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)
Crews work on a fence for the Superior Community Garden on the 2300 block of Oakes Avenue on Thursday morning in Superior. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

Laborers, carpenters, electricians, operators and painters all gathered at the site Thursday, June 13 to install posts for the fence. Browen said the unions are working with their Apprenticeship Committee to add the panels later.

“Literally, they’re changing the community with their bare hands,” Councilor Jenny Van Sickle said when she stopped by the site Thursday morning.

Work to develop the garden started almost two years, when a group of master gardeners got together in July, and decided they were going to develop a community garden, said Ludwig, a master gardener who was involved in the Solid Rock gardens. After all, she said, it was something the community was asking for when she worked in the gardens that help feed people at the Solid Rock Mission.

“We researched empty lots in Superior and found this one and decided it would be a good fit for a community garden,” Ludwig said. “It’s a nice space right next to Golden Apartments.”

She said the garden will feature a variety of methods for growing including raised beds, containers and hay bales.

The garden will feature 30-50 plots ranging in sizes from 24- to 54-square-feet that people in the community can rent, said Elizabeth Norén, a master gardener and vice president of the Superior Community Garden Association. She said the garden will feature six fruit trees, a variety of berry shrubs and rhubarb for gardeners to share so they don’t have to use their plots for perennials, and wildflowers for pollinators.

This year the association is planning to start with a demonstration garden with plots being available to rent next year, Ludwig said.

No experience is necessary to rent a plot.

Crews work on a fence for the Superior Community Garden on the 2300 block of Oakes Avenue on Thursday morning in Superior.  (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)
Crews work on a fence for the Superior Community Garden on the 2300 block of Oakes Avenue on Thursday morning in Superior. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

“Our plan is to hold workshops also to educate people on gardening, starting with soil and composting, and what organic gardening is,” Ludwig said. “My dream, of course, is in addition to how to raise food is how to preserve it. You have this nice produce, but if you can’t eat it all at once, how do you preserve it to eat it in the future?”

The Superior Community Garden Association is planning to advertise the availability of plots to rent in the winter so gardens can be planted next spring.

“We are so grateful for the enthusiasm and support coming from the community,” said Dan Pickles, association president.

“I do have this image in my head of people here, coming together, and talking about gardening, and having a real gathering space,” Ludwig said.

People can learn more at Facebook by searching for “Superior Community Gardens.”