Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Community Garden: Welcome To My .004 Acres

This summer, I had the opportunity to lease my own little 5' by 7' plot of land for $10 from a non-profit that my city started for community gardening. I have been gardening in my mostly shady yard for many years, but have been limited to pots and a fig tree on my curbside garden. I have tried in vain to grow more edibles directly in the ground but with limited success, though I discovered that many of my perennial plantings are edible, much to my delight. I've always wanted to grow my own food, so I was delighted to start cultivating this summer. After many hours invested in reading my collection of gardening books and magazines, I purchased some tiny plants of kale, collards, tomatoes, zucchini, herbs and peppers. I also got some sunflower seeds as I lust after sunflowers, which I discovered love the sun, despise the shade. We are blessed in that our garden has a water hose, a shed stocked with tools and seed packets (none of my seeds grew) and a compost bin. It is very beautiful and has an arbor, fruit trees and roses. Oh yeah! We just have to do our part in keeping the area weeded and watering the common areas. Extra produce can be donated to the hunger center by placing in a drop off basket in the shed. The site was formerly a home that went down with the economy in 2008. Our city doesn't play when it comes to blighted buildings - it's going down. As the plants started to take off, I wasn't always sure of when or how to harvest the vegetables, but I figured it out and regularly use the kale, peppers and tomatoes in salads and stews. The master gardener assigned to our garden will have to tell me when it's time to harvest the onions. The city will host a harvest party for all of the area gardens. There will be music, cooking demonstrations and lots of stories to tell about surviving the drought and deer attacks. This fall we will be building a children's learning garden in our city's newest garden. As far as I'm concerned, all of the gardens are children's gardens as they bring out the sense of wonder, discovery and happiness that one feels witnessing a seed or tiny planting grow into something delicious! Now what to plant for fall and winter.....?
Being in my garden makes me happy and gives me a great sense of peace.

Front Entrance

Beautiful drought tolerant perennials line the front bed. The lady in the house next door is the unofficial sergeant of arms for the garden. Lol! I appreciate her diligence.

Apple trees inside of the garden add a nice touch.

A brickway and arbor welcome you to the garden.

Native flowers.

Garden beds are surrounded by stones and the soil is of EXCELLENT quality. This makes a HUGE difference.

Collards, grape tomatoes, dinosaur kale featured here.

Kale, the beautiful power food.

Collards and tomatoes. Collards taste sweeter after they have been hit by that first frost!

Indie Rose. Purchased these at the farmers market. Black and red when ripe. Smoky flavor.

Finally! Sunflowers!

If you haven't tasted a zebra tomato, you are missing out on some amazing flavor, baby!

Wow, I can't believe that I'm growing my own onions! Now what?

I got greedy and leased an adjacent plot to experiment with permaculture techniques. This is a zucchini plant. This plot will feature many perennial food plantings, strawberries, blueberries, herbs, rhubarb and asparagus.

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