Before even moving to my new town last December, I inquired about getting a plot at the local community garden. I’ve declared first on the waiting list since April. It’s late June and still, I wait.
But I’m in active waiting mode. I visit the gardens (three of them) almost every day, meet the gardeners and go home declaring to myself that they’re “My people!” Yeah, I want in. Badly. And not just so I can grow food, which will be fun but honestly, only secondary to my main purpose – getting to hang out with and learning from my new gardening neighbors, many of whom are experts employed at the adjacent USDA Research Center. (“The World’s Largest Most Diversified Agricultural Research Complex”!)
Besides, I just love being there. It’s lush and noisy with the sounds of insects and birds. When the demolition and construction work at my house feels most threatening my sanity, the community gardens are where I escape to.
Gardeners here are pretty serious about the actual gardening but they also hang out a bit in their ramshackle shelters.
Plots here are filled with interesting STUFF. No worries about design or tidiness.
And I’m IN!
I tell ya, it’s all about networking. I finagled an invitation to a nearby block party and damn if wasn’t having dinner with the plot-renters whose mostly-unused plot I’d been eying for weeks, which they offered to let me use this season – eureka! To return the favor I’ll be helping them with the ornamentals around their home. And this afternoon we’ll meet up at the garden and I’ll claim my very own rows…then figure out what I can plant this late in the season. Which my Rant partner Michele assures me will be no problem, especially here in Zone 7.
But this is gardening, and there will be challenges, starting with the lack of a water source. (I know!!!) But people have been gardening here for decades, with little or no complaint about the lack of running water, using mainly “rain-harvesting” in hundreds of containers strewn about, supplemented by the occasional schlepping of water containers during droughts. My first reaction was “Let’s get the city to dig us a well!” but I’ve learned that these gardeners are fine with the solutions they’ve devised, so I’d better adapt – they sure have. That way, no organized efforts and governmental intervention is needed, and the philosophy of these gardeners seems to be decidedly libertarian.
Another big challenge in any veg garden is wildlife, and here there’s lots of tall fencing, with more of it belowground to keep out the smaller mammals.
Then there’s shade from too many nearby trees, but I’m told my plot will be plenty sunny. Yes!