Community Garden, Week 2

This weekend was mostly spent working on the garden. And that is mostly due to the fact that the soil in this part of Texas is really, really hard, rocky clay. These are just some of the rocks that we pulled out of the garden soil as we worked. It took forever to amend the soil – chipping out the clay bit by bit, removing the rocks, mixing in compost, new soil, and Redenta’s bed starter – but hopefully, we’ll get more vegetables out of it this way.

rocks

We planted radishes and spinach from seed last week, and I got so excited over our little sprouts! Yay! It’s working!

sprouts

spinachsprouts

We decided first of all to re-work the edges of the raised bed to make it a little more orderly and pretty (I’m working with an architect and an engineer, here, so right angles and orderly rows are very important!), so we moved the boards around, added some bricks to hold them in place, and tightened up the corners. We’re going to plant flowers inside the cinder blocks when the weather warms up a bit.

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sidewall

corner

After that, we dug the asparagus bed. If you don’t know anything about asparagus, it’s one of the only vegetables that, once planted, will bear fruit year after year, whereas most crops must be replanted each season. In fact, asparagus will keep producing spears for a couple of decades if you maintain it well. If we stuck around this plot long enough, we’d have asparagus until we’re 50! Unfortunately, if you’re starting from scratch, it takes three years to grow asparagus to the point that it will give you anything. I found some root systems already developed called “crowns” that will give you asparagus after one year, so we won’t have to wait too terrible long. I know that seems like a lot of work for a payoff way too far away, but imagine 8 weeks every spring with a fresh bundle of asparagus EVERY DAY. FOR FREE. FOR TWENTY YEARS. Even if we don’t keep this plot very long, I feel like leaving a legacy of nutrition and tastiness in my wake is a good thing! The tough part is that to help the root systems develop the right way, you have to dig a foot and a half into the ground, which takes a lot of elbow grease.

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abed2

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Those little oblong things there are the crowns. After the asparagus, I planted garlic, enough for about 20 heads if they all work. You plant it one unpeeled clove at a time, pointy side up, about two inches down. I think I pulled a bicep muscle doing this! I was really sore Sunday:)

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While I worked on garlic, Jon dug into the clay to prepare for the carrots we put in Sunday. The soil on the carrot end of the plot was super hard, so it was slow going and rather frustrating, but he did it. We will soon have the arms of Michelle Obama.

carrotsjon

We planted two kinds of carrots. One set is long like regular carrots, but they’re purple. Apparently, historically, people have been eating purple carrots far longer than the orange ones we know. Who knew? The second is an heirloom variety, and they’re going to be orange, bulby and sweet.

carrots-pkg

That was pretty much all we got to this weekend – asparagus, garlic and carrots. We had planned on planting potatoes, as it’s about to be too late, but digging up the soil took so long that we didn’t get to it. This chicken wire is going to be the container for them, though. The lady at Redenta’s said that you kind of build up inches of soil bit by bit as the plant grows inside the barrel/container/wire. It sounds kind of complicated, but we’re going to attempt it anyway. Organic potatoes are so expensive that I think it’ll be worth it if we can get them to grow.

potato-plan

If you don’t have back yard but have at least an apartment porch, you can get one of these nifty tent-material potato barrels and grow them above ground!

barrel

We had a community garden meeting Sunday afternoon, where we met the other gardeners.  They’re all really nice. We’re the only plot of people that’s not a couple with kids. It was great to meet other people who care about food, nutrition, taste, quality, and the importance of connecting yourself and your children to your food supply. Here are a few of them working.

others

We decided to go ahead with a dozen or so chickens (everyone, not just us). There’s the makings of a coop structure in the back, but we need to attach a front to it and clean the area up, fence it in, and, most importantly, learn how to take care of chickens! Anyone know??

So, it was a successful Week 2…hopefully in another week, we’ll have potatoes under way, plus another round of radishes and spinach. Have a good week! Think sprouty thoughts for our seeds!

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2 Responses

  1. actually, i’ve been told that potatoes take up a LOT of room in your garden. most of the folks in our have advised doing the bucket method. it’s easier to deal with and you can harvest them a LOT more easily with that little flap. we bought one and just haven’t planted yet.

  2. If I can do anything to help your endeavors in the way of seed let me know. I will gladly match any purchase from your members with the equal amount of free seed for your community garden. See our Seed to Free Seed Program. We want to help community gardens grow!

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