May 12, 2008

Back in Business

Let's set aside the fact that I am probably the worst blogger ever. I'm back now and I have garden-related things to tell you. The biggest problem -- much like when you haven't spoken to a friend or a family member in a long time -- is that I'm not sure where to begin.

Let's start with the Steering Committee political stuff, move on to "garden year resolution" and talk about the work I've done so far.

There are a few really good community garden developments since I last posted including the fact that we finally built a shed! It's not totally and completely finished yet (ie: we need to build an interior wall to separate the dangerous stuff (rider mower, fuel, etc.) from the safer stuff that we want gardeners to have access to. Once we get that done we can put a combination lock on it so that all the gardeners will be able to access things like tools, trash bags etc. plus we can probably invest in smaller things like hand tools and gloves and even store abandoned and useful items like leftover tomato stakes or cages. I think it's going to be great. It also looks lovely. Photo of the shed in progress is here but I will get one of the finished product (a lovely pale blue) to post soon.

The entire 7 person steering committee is up for re-election this Spring and so far I know 3 current members aren't running. Nominations are due in the next week or so and except for the existing members no one else has nominated anyone for the committee. This is not encouraging. I can only guess that this is either because a) the garden seems well run and so no one is dying to get on the committee and whip us into shape or b) something about it seems like an awful lot of trouble and not much fun. I think both are sort of true, but I plan to beat the bushes for some nominees!!

We also have some really good compost this year from a local landscaping business. In the past we got the compost from the city, but this year we paid this company to come and cart off all of our dead plant matter in the Fall and then they delivered (and will keep delivering) this really dark, gorgeous looking compost this Spring. So far no little bits of metal or plastic like we've had the past two years. Ew. Don't worry we tested the city stuff last year (when we saw the icky bits) and it was fine. It's still better not to see it.

My garden year resolution is NOT to buy seedlings from the womens shelter this year. I like the idea but getting the plants in mid-may and trying to keep them alive on the porch for 3 weeks just wasn't working. I feel like it was the right call since I'm pretty sure the pick up would have been this past Saturday and it's in the 40s today. Brrrrr. The only real risk, I think, is that all of the best tomato seedlings could be gone from the farm if I don't get there early enough and then I might need to venture to new parts of town to find plants.

I've already turned everything over and added about 5 wheelbarrows of the gorgeous compost to my plot. I've decided to keep the layout pretty much the same although I have this idea that I might upgrade my big brick and rock scenario -- which never lies flat enough to walk on really well -- for some nice flat terracotta tiles that I see people have in their plots. I don't know where to get them though so the bricks and rocks will stay for now. I also decided to add another place to walk along the right edge of the plot (where I share the divider with a neighbor) to make things easier. I still don't feel like I've got the best, coolest, most efficient layout of my dreams but I think it works.

Yesterday I very sloppily planted carrot, beet (red and golden) and carrot seeds. I have some cilantro seeds starting to sprout and I finally got myself some bee balm. In fact I spend a lot (like $15 which is a lot for a garden plant) to get some and then of course a neighbor was horrified because he had so much and it was threatening to take over his yard and he wished I had just asked him first. The bee balm I purchased seemed (from the label) to be the purple kind and I was so bummed about ending up with lemon balm (thinking it was bee balm) last year that I still took some of his (that he says is red) off his hands. I hope they both grow well and that I end up with so much bee balm and attract so many bees that I can hear my plot buzzing from yards away. This will also be my 2nd attempt at flowers that are not yellow or orange so that's exciting.

In addition to all of that I have:

Moved things around: the lavender is away from the shadow of the sink

Gotten rid of things: divided the black eyed susan and the yarrow and got rid of the yellow coreopsis and lemon balm.

Tried to revive things: I had the most beautiful purple sage last year and it doesn't seem to be coming back. I keep watering the twiggy ends and saying encouraging things but I don't think it's working.

Planted: Kale, Lettuce and Arugula seedlings. The flea beetles are already all over my Arugula which now, after a couple of years of experience, gives me great hope for my future eggplant.

And finally, I planted some mint in the sink (plus some more california poppy seeds.) It grows like a weed around here so I'm hoping this will be the thing that finally helps my sink fulfill it's garden destiny.

I think that's pretty much it for now. More to come soon. I promise.


Choomma said...

The sink looks great as a container.

Jenifer said...

Yay! You're back! I got a kick out of envisioning you talking to your purple sage.

Are you doing beets this year? Did I ever give you my recipe for roasted beets?