Putting the (Community) Garden to Bed


It’s Make a Difference Day, and today we had a group of about 5 or 6 USD students and other volunteers helping to clear out most of the community gardens plots and re-shape/build onto our compost pile.  After taking the top off last year’s compost, we found a treasure trove of humus-y soil underneath to top-dress the cleared plots.

Dean Spader gave a talk on compost over hot cocoa, and I gave a talk on local food over lunch.  It was a little weird to have the volunteer coordinator from the U. asking the students, right in front of us, if they found the talks helpful and the work useful.  I mean, would anyone be so rude as to say, “no”?

But overall it was a fun morning of work and the place looks pretty nice.  Now that the whole “sell the building/sell the land” talk has died down, I think we’ll be able to make some real progress next year as we did last year when we started the thing.

We do need more volunteers and more gardeners, but the whole midwestern politeness thing might’ve made some shy away this past spring when we were (OK, I was) fighting tooth-and-nail to keep the garden project going.

There’s still a bit of work to be done out there, but we didn’t rip out plots that looked like they were still producing–just tried to do a little weeding around what was still viable.  The hardest part working with volunteers is the what’s a weed/what’s a crop decision.

My judgement on those things has become pretty intuitive over the past several years, so when I turn around and see volunteers pulling out someone’s peas, I get a little freaked out.  We did send out an e-mail to gardeners to clean out their plots, but I always worry that someone will miss it, and I know how I’d feel if someone uprooted my labor of love.

Anyhow, this morning’s project has got me thinking about doing a little more work in my own gardens here at home and in the country.  I’m already dressed for it!

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Claire on October 26, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    I was actually very interested in getting a plot but I wasn’t able to make it to the meeting, the Broadcaster had no info beyond “attend the meeting if you are interested” and I’m terminally shy and didn’t want to call the guy, so I did without. But, I’m getting one next year FOR SURE. If nothing else, it will be a great experience for my urban-dwelling 9 year old next summer and this urban-raised chick should probably take an opportunity to learn how to plant something not in a pot 🙂

  2. Posted by flyingtomato on October 26, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    That would be great! The “guy,” Dean, is a hoot–a retired law professor who is interminably interested in sustainable gardening and living. He says I’m the “expert,” but after his talk on compost yesterday, I’m not so sure the expert isn’t him.

    Now that much of the rancor and upset with the VAAC has dispelled, I’m hoping for a much-expanded community garden next year with lots more volunteers and maybe even that shed we’ve always wanted.

    –re.

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