Monday, May 28, 2012

Changing of the Garden

Building a good garden takes several years. One must spend time amending the soil with compost and other goodies, adjusting PH, etc. Getting to know the micro climates of a site takes time as well. And the bank of dormant weed seeds (brought to life by tilling, fertilizing, and watering) need to be exhausted.

My Father's new garden bed,
 he can sit in a chair
to water and pick strawberries
I  rented a 10 x 22 foot garden plot for my Father in the park across the street from his apartment for the past 5 years; over those years I built some great soil!  My Father's health has deteriorated, and his ability to help in the garden has become very unreliable. Last year the Man of the House and I tended the garden while my Father recuperated from a neck fracture; this year we just don't have the time to drive across town to weed and water, but although I told my father many times that I'm not able to help as much as in years past, he would say "I can take care of it!" Well, two weeks ago he fell and broke his hip. He is recovering from a partial hip replacement and is doing much better, however I did the painful thing of telling him I gave up the big plot and moved him to a 3 foot by 6 foot  raised planting box in the same garden...that hasn't gone over very well. He says there won't be enough room to grow his vegetables, but really all he eats are a few fresh tomatoes, sugar peas, and strawberries; most everything else I grew in his garden ended up on my table, in my freezer, or given to his neighbors. He (and his neighbors) won't do with out, because:

I spent the past year planning a NEW community garden, just over a block away from my house! The 11,000 square foot garden has space for  15+ blueberry bushes, a long row of rhubarb, and 4,000 square feet of planting beds divided up amongst 32 plots, plus room for a shed and work tables. My own plot is 10 x 21, and with it so close to home, I expect to double the yield of the "old" garden.

Community gardening has taught me a lot, especially that the "community" part is almost better than the "gardening" part. I'm getting to know my neighbors, many of whom I have lived only a few blocks from for years but never met before starting this project; those strangers are becoming my friends.

Sharing produce with my Fathers neighbors, influenced my decision to plan 4 of the plots in the new garden as donation beds, where the gardeners (my neighbors!) will work together to grow produce for our neighbors in need. Gardeners with a glut of stuff to harvest can donate produce from their individual plots as well.
Campbell Community Garden, under construction! We start planting on June 1st!

Getting this new garden into shape is going to be a lot of hard work, but it will be well worth it! Follow our progress here:

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