Tag Archives: planting a garden

GARDEN REVAMP COMPLETE

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When I bought my first house decades ago, all I wanted to do was to move in to the home. But the floors needed refinishing. The windows had to be repaired. The walls required painting. Weeks went by before I finally settled into my new spot.

A similar situation occurred this year as I waited to move into the community garden. After the Green Thumbs paid our rent in March, I was ready to enter and plant. But prep work needed to be done, and the tasks kept us busy the entire month of April.

First, the 20-by-60-foot garden plot needed enclosure. To get the job done, our families met on a sunny Sunday morning with tools and fencing. Our teen-aged sons were a great help measuring, digging and hammering in various wooden, bamboo and covered metal posts. They worked diligently with zip ties, string and special knots to connect the plastic orange and green netting to the posts.

We took breaks, sitting in lawn chairs underneath a nearby shade tree, and shared snacks of raisins, granola bars and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The younger kids beautified our fence line with a homemade rock garden that should delight our neighbors as they walk along the path to their own spots this summer. With pencil and paper, we mapped out a grid detailing which vegetables we plan to plant and where they will go in the garden. We took pictures and met new people.

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When our chores ended about mid-afternoon, I was too tired to plant even one seed. But the delay was okay because after several years of growing food in the same soil, we decided to add compost to the garden before we plant. One family took care of the first few rows and planted corn.

Then over the next couple of weeks, the Green Thumbs dropped in when they could to dig trenches and fill them with compost from a bin near the back of the gardens.

During several trips to the site after school, my sons helped me measure and align straight rows with stakes and string. Then we started an assembly line of sorts. While my oldest son fetched compost with a wheelbarrow, I dug a small trench. My youngest son used his own shovel to perfect what I started until his brother returned, and they filled the trench with compost. We left the newly-filled rows open with plans to cover them with dirt once again during planting.

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The prep work steadily progressed, and the Green Thumbs finally began moving into the garden this past weekend. We planted onions, beans, carrots, potatoes and peas. Intermittent rain has kept the crops watered. We plan to add other vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, watermelon and lettuce, after Mother’s Day when the threat of a late frost has safely passed.

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Our garden home looks great. I’m glad we didn’t rush into the space. Looking ahead, we have the rest of spring and all of summer to enjoy our revamped spot.

–cawk

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MOVING-IN DAY

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Moving-in day is one of my favorites at the community gardens.

I like to see what everybody is planting. I like to hear the chatter between folks about where to make rows and how far apart the seeds should go into the ground. I like to hear the memories and comparisons to past gardens. And I like to rekindle friendships with the veteran growers as we welcome the new ones to the space.

This year, all 44 plots are rented, and a new gardener has joined The Green Thumbs. He’s in fourth grade, and he fits right in with the crowd. On Saturday, as we gathered to plant a long list of vegetables, including popcorn, tomatoes, beets, radishes, beans, peppers and jalapenos, we gave him a tour of what already has been planted – a thick patch of strawberries, a blueberry bush, and a few rows of potatoes, lettuce, snap peas and onions. Then we put him to work side by side with the other adults and kids.

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He arrived carrying a packet of cucumber seeds to grow in mounds along the edge of the side fence. But he didn’t plant just cucumbers. He helped the other kids dig holes and plant marigolds around the outside of our fence to deter bugs. He carried a heavy watering can to and from the water tanks to douse the popcorn seeds planted at the front of the garden. As the newest Green Thumb, he asked the adults good questions and listened to their instructions. And when we finished for the day, he grabbed a rake with some of the other kids and swiped away our footprints to discourage the weeds from growing.

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Like everyone in the garden, he helped establish a patchwork of food that he might or might not want to taste. Some of us like beets, others detest them. Strawberries are a favorite, but okra not so much. The spicy food eaters look forward to the jalapenos, whereas those with more sensitive stomachs welcome the rows of simple tomatoes. We are there to make everything grow whether we help ourselves to the different servings or not. The leftovers will go to friends, family and the local food bank.

We still have to add zucchini, squash and eggplant to the empty spaces. But the 2015 garden is established. We’ve finally moved in.

–cawk