Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Garden Day 1

I've started working in our garden plot. As I mentioned before, we applied for a plot in the Eagle Heights Community Garden this season. Recently we found out we got one and this past weekend was the official opening. Yesterday I set aside an hour after work to get up there and start doing I didn't really know what, but I did know I wanted to get going. It's a good thing I dug right in.

As it turns out, our particular plot was in need of a lot of cleanup. In the foreground you can see two raised areas, the one farther back bearing a mysterious heap. Beyond them is yet another bed that spanned the whole plot, half of which belongs this year to someone we haven't yet met. It is, as the foreground bed was, covered in plastic mulch surrounding some kind of abandoned cabbagey plants. Sprinkled thickly through the paths and on the mounds are patches of quackgrass. After half an hour of desperate hoeing, cultivating and cursing (quietly--it's a family garden after all) I realized the only way to get rid of it was to painstakingly dig out each plant with a trowel. Even this way I know I'm not getting it all, but if I can set it back significantly it will help.

The mysterious heap appears to be where someone dumped what should have gone to the compost heap when they didn't feel like traveling that far. It's a mess of soil, plant parts--including more quackgrass!--and scraps of landscape fabric. I hauled some of it away but am now thinking it will be easier to just rake it out, pick out the weeds and trash and let it finish composting in place.

Day one was discouraging. I'm terribly out of shape so a single hour of chopping, digging and hauling has left me a little stiff and sore. I've decided I can't really in good conscience have the plot tilled as I had planned to. The process would just chop up and redistribute the quackgrass. So, I've got hours of trowel zen in front of me. There's no quick, brute strength solution. I'll just plod on believing there is going to be a really fantastic salad at some point in my future.

Next time: What I may grow

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