Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Good Earth

I have a community garden.
3 transplanted Crimson Red Watermelon.
All my transplants are taking root (new perky leaves)
but none have started to take off and grow grow grow yet
I haven't had a garden of my very own in a few decades. I've done what I could but it was either too far away, or too shady, or too small. The last one I created was mowed down by the rental complex's gardener guy so I really gave up then. This garden is a short 5-10 minute walk, pretty much around the corner from me. It's not too full of gardeners. The plot is a decent size: 18' x 18' and the price is right: $25 for the season. If we're still here next year I will probably garden two plots; one with the goal of selling its bounty at the farmer's market... but I am wayyyyyy ahead of myself.

It was a bit discouraging at the beginning, about 2 weeks ago.   
first look at my garden plot: full grown weeds
I got the call to come get my garden well into June. I thought the plans for the garden had fallen through but what happened was that the farmer who tills our soil is a double amputee and he broke one of his prosthetic legs and/or his tilling equipment was on the fritz. Whatever the story, the garden was untilled when I got it. Bad. And the soil is... yep, clay.
clay soil as it came off my shovel
Heavy clay. And it's been pretty dry so the clay is really tough to dig into and the weeds are HUGE.   

But I thought just dig where you're going to plant and plant your stuff, you can pretty it up after. So I did, and I didn't wreck my body either. Surprisingly, after the first day I was very sore and then it was gone. Since then I haven't been in much pain at all from the digging. I start to clean out the garden tomorrow though. The thistles (eek!) are really coming back as is that crab grass and of course the dandelions. My seeds need me on their side to keep their beds as clean as I can.
Already I've had growing success! I planted all my seeds last Friday June 8th. We had heavy rain yesterday and the day before and overnight. Before the rain my Sparkler Radishes had peeped up.
Sparkler Radishes germinated in 2 days
I think some of the lettuce came up too: Kweik Butterhead Lettuce. Hard to tell though as it takes until the first set of leaves sometimes to recognize that that thing growing is a veggie and not a weed.


  I was presented with a lot of this kind of thing today  See image above... lots of these guys everywhere I planted stuff.

And in my northern climate I am trying a few experimental things. I am growing tomatoes directly seeded into the ground. I am waiting for them to germinate unless they already have (see paragraph above). The tomatoes I am trying are called Cosmonaut Volkov, a Ukrainian variety said to produce until the frost. Also directly seeded at Chinese 5 Colour Hot Pepper and Hungarian Hot Black Pepper. I think the 5 Colour Peppers are up. I don't think the Hungarian Black Pepper is.
inside Richter's Herbs greenhouse
I visited Richter's Herbs and bought a packet of rare seeds: Areni Jumbo Striped Banana Squash. 6 seeds per packet. Squash two feet long. The mound holding the seeds had a giant crack in it where some very vigorous thing is pushing up from below.
Like judging the size of a dog by the size of its puppy-paws, I await the debut of the Jumbo Squash seed leaves. I'm a little scared truth be told. Luckily the garden behind mine is empty so I envision pushing the giant vines over there if they are jumbo-sized too.

My Muncher Cucumbers are up! 4 little guys are enjoying the sun.
Muncher Cucumbers

Not seen yet: dill, yellow patty pan squash, Minnesota midget cantaloupe, shallots, and potatoes.
Black Valentine Bush Bean
Other things (possibly up): white kohlrabi, parsnips, purple outside/orange inside carrots, baby finger eggplant (also direct seeded!),  and beets.
Carrots? Parsnips? Peppers? Tomatoes? Eggpplant? Lettuce? or just weeds?? Everything just looks like this right now.

Tomorrow I am hoeing, trying to stymie the growth of the weeds. I may dig. I may not. I'd love to smother with black plastic the aisles where I walk to get rid of the weeds but it's not my permanent garden. If it was, I would definitely do that. I don't mind fighting the weeds. The whole thing is such a pleasure.

One more thing, this community garden requires us to grow a row for the local seniors. I've got 5 brussel sprouts and 4 cauliflowers and 1 broccoli planted for this purpose. These are all things I've never grown and probably wouldn't grow so I get the joy of watching them all season too.

This garden satisfies me in the same place that making art does.
weeds in pavement
It's in that same place. No wonder I've fallen so in love with it and feel like none of it is work at all.

It is just pure joy.

1 comment:

forensa said...

I remember the thrill of planting after winter, the excitement of seeing seeds sprout. I also had a veggie garden and miss it. In Key West I grow veggies in large pots!