Monday, February 22, 2010

"Making the cleanest energy for the greenest plants to grow..."

the garden plot

After a two-year stint on the waiting list, I was notified a few weeks ago that a plot has opened up for me in my neighborhood's community garden. My idealized, romanticized vision of living in a colorful urban backdrop where the good people paint murals and generally make the best of their surroundings (i.e., on the set of Sesame Street) is that much clearer.

I spent three hours in there yesterday and it felt terrific. My plot is located directly in front of the garden manager's, which is just as well as I know nothing about gardening. Well, that's not true. I did pick up some tips whilst toddling after Mom as she conducted experiments in the backyard of my childhood home. Earthworms are good. Pull the weeds out slowly so you get all the roots.

My other kernels of knowledge come from fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type nurturing of my houseplants, miscellaneous information picked up from library books, helpful hints from a zine by Anna and the garden section of that Make Your Place zine. All great information, but scant. And not site-specific. So it's handy to be near the garden manager and his plot and a half of beautiful raised beds and pristine soil. Particularly when my little half-plot, after three hours of work, still looked like this:

the actual garden plot

(Note the raised beds in the background.)

No, it doesn't look much like a garden ready for planting, (because it isn't,) but it is oodles better than the gnarled tangle of dead things and trash that I'd visited the day I received the gate lock combination. Steve-the-garden-manager was nice enough say so. And another gardener started identifying things in my plot. I may have three blueberry bushes, a unwieldy patch of oregano, and a few daffodils just about ready to bloom. I'm thrilled -- it's much nicer to have things to visit and actively start caring for in a garden.

I can't say enough good things about the plot. It's one plot of many within a well-established organic garden where lots of food is grown. The soil is dark and good-smelling, and absolutely teeming with life. There are lots of garden friends (earthworms, aphid-hungry spiders) and there are lots of garden enemies as well (slugs, grubs, earwigs). Lots to learn, but in the meantime it's just a treat to get out there and touch the earth.