I might have mentioned I have a community garden plot. It’s as though I won the lottery. Except there’s a lot more work and a lot less money involved. Here’s what it looked like when I first went to my plot, gardening gloves in hand, to take account of what would have to be done:
A little bit of work to do…a lot of dead branches and old plants – I ave no idea what kinds – so I decided to pull it all up. It was a kind of lottery, really, not knowing what I was inheriting. Were there strange Indian amaranth plants that want to shoot up to the sky? They’re illegal in the garden above a certain height, by the way. Or herbs that wouldn’t pair with my garden plan? I’d mapped out what I wanted to do with the land. A line of tomatoes next to basil and parsley. Arugular, peppers, peas, okra (if I could find it), sorrel, cauliflower, broccoli, thyme, marigolds (for bees), chard, lettuce, eggplant.
And it all had to somehow start from this. So I cleared the plot completely, learning for a 70-year old man who decided this young whippersnapper could use a hand how to dip it with a three-pronged fork and rotate it as I put it out of the soil, turning it without going too deep into the ancient earth. Probably ancient as in 1990′s (which, no, is not older than me), but still fairly experienced, this soil. He said don’t worry about the whispy branches. Just turn them into the soil. They’ll be fine. I was trying to pick out all the big rocks and anything that didn’t seem conducive to growing veg, but he was pretty laissez-faire about it.
Then he helped me turn in the compost provided by the city, grabbing the shovel he said was no good because it was too tall and using it himself so I could use the proper, shorter, pronged fork.
I also inherited a bunch of tomato structures and a mini fence that I’m going to try to use for peas if they come up.
And I inherited some lumber, which I’m using to separate the garden into 4 sections. I’m eye-balling the cross-ways divide. I do a lot of balance beam work, trying to walk across only the beams. the smaller ones are trickier…I should get more wood. Maybe the woman whose garden is next to mine will give me some from the pile she leaves in the aisle that I keep tripping over…poor garden etiquette. Even I know that. I attended a meeting…
And then I went to Jean-Talon market and bought 8 bags of soil, fertilizer from organic chicken manure (goodness knows what the chickens ate, though…), and some plants. I transplanted some and am starting some cilantro and black mint from seed. The mint won’t go in the garden because it’s invasive. That’s a balcony plant. The others will go in May 25th, though the parsley is in already and I planted peas. I also killed the sorrel I’m pretty sure. Too much wind and sun, I think.
Hope I can keep the rest of this alive…