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.
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.
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.
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.