Archive | August, 2013

Day 1 – meeting new faces and cleaning up old places

27 Aug

Day one started early on an August Sunday morning meeting the current garden coordinator (a wonderful lady who will remain anonymous on this blog for the time being). This particular Sunday morning she was busy meeting new gardeners, showing them their assigned plots, going over expectations and limitations, accepting dues as well as managing to take care of her own plot. During our meeting she mentioned to the two of us (I and another new community member) that due to the unusually wet and mild summer there was an onslaught of weeds that overcame many of the community’s members forcing some fifteen or so to abandon their plot. Fifteen, she assured me, was an unusually large number of plots to turn over at any one time such is why I made it up sixteen spots on the waiting list in such short order. She then went on to show us the community shed and its contents (which includes a tiller I hope to not use) and introduce us to the weekly brunch bunch. It seems that there is a somewhat routine Sunday morning brunch bunch who share a bit of fellowship over some coffee and munchies! Sounds Yummy, but sadly I was not able to stay since I had to get back home and get the family to church.

Later, after church and lunch, I brought Tamara (my darling wife) and Jeremie (our oldest son) up to visit the plot; to show it off like a boy shines to a new found coin. While we were there, the garden was still abuzz with the activity of many of the community members taking advantage of the beautiful sunny weather and relatively low humidity. Two such members were busy raking and preparing their new plot for planting collards while yet others were busy tending, cleaning, and talking; such are the habits of a gardener, and not always in that order with the latter sure to always take most of the time. After showing my family the weed covered spot, we somehow began to pick up and clean up the mess till my wife signed to me the fact that she is still in her Sunday dress.

So, after a little ice cream and a trip home, my son and I (notice the missing member) returned to the plot to finish the chore of cleaning up the weeds and debris from around the plot. What a wonderful helper he was. Thanks, son!

We have already met so many of our growing neighbors and are looking forward to meeting more and getting to know them better as things grow and flourish in the sun and soil of this wonderful garden site.

The Daily ledger

  • Expenses – $10 (garden dues)      [$10.00 running total]
  • Labor – 2 hours x 2 persons          [4 hours running total]
  • Yields – 0 lbs                                        [0 pounds, 0 ounces]

The site

26 Aug

In late August 2013 we accepted this humble plot in the Reedy Creek Community Garden; plot #32.  Our hope and expectation is to build up a productive garden whose produce will be largely if not completely contributed to the Friendship Trays, Charlotte’s Meals on Wheels program. (More on the Friendship Trays Program here.)

We are calling this little plot “Growing it Forward” based largely on the concept portrayed in the 2000 movie Paying it Forward.

The site is a 20′ x 20′ plot on an arranged grid within the Reedy Creek Community Garden (RCCG). Plot #32, as they call it, sits as a diamond on the compass rose with the four sides facing northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest and The four corners pointing in each of the cardinal directions. Each corner is staked with a metal pole and the plot is bordered by mulched communal pathways. Plot #32 is an interior plot with apparently good growing neighbors and convenient access (less than 10′ away) to a hose-pipe, mulch piles, and community compost though the compost pile seems to be a bit in need of some management at this time. The entire community site is well laid out in a wide open field with plenty of visibility to the road and completely surrounded by a tall black chain-link fence.

As far as all the given conditions seem, I am very impressed. The garden itself is well-established; having been in existence for at-least six years. My grower neighbors that I have met so far are generous and welcoming. Shoot, one guy gave us at least three pounds of beautiful banana peppers just for meeting him and listening to him. We are looking forward to pickling those.

As much as I hate to admit it, though, we are going to need to start slow; from the ground up, to pun an idiom. As you can notice in the photographs above the site needs a little bit of overhaul and cleaning. The plot’s previous steward let the weeds overtake it. A kindly garden neighbor graciously mowed down all the weeds before they turned it over to us. Thank God for such generous souls. At this time, and Lord willing, the plan is to build up three 5’x20′ raised beds using lumber to build the boxes and laying down cardboard and wood chip pathways between them. This should provide approximately 300 square feet of growing space, a sufficient amount considering our backyard garden gives us at best 150 square feet. So far sourcing the materials for building the beds is a mite taxing on the income so I hope to find and re-purpose sizable scrap lumber or other sufficient material.

Starting small and steadily building up as we grow along is gonna be key. To do it all in the first steps will be too much and we’ll risk burn out. I am blessed with an active family of five and thus lead a busy life serving the needs of many more than myself so this venture will have to resemble the low maintenance methods we practice in our home garden. But the added space  and square one status allow us to implement some lessons learned as well as play with a larger scale of produce.

All in all I am looking forward to this venture. Here’s to Growing It Forward!