We are well into our fourth year of tending our 1,000 sq. ft. community garden plot. Looking back:
Our first year was about discovery and learning the ropes. It had to be about something for it certainly wasn’t about garden bounty. The soil was hard, there was lots of clay and we spent hours weeding (unsuccessfully) as it was pretty much impossible to dig down to most roots.
Year Two we decided to go big or go home. We invested in 9 cu. yds. of mushroom compost, an irrigation system, uber row covers and more straw for mulch. The results were outstanding. Broccoli plants higher than your waist, tomato plants burdened with fruit and weeds that were much easier to remove. And bounty was an issue, a good issue at that.
We are starting to get the hang of this, sort of. As with any garden, there were failures and successes. There was enough butternut squash to feed a small village, tomatoes by pail and the squash beetles continued to win in the end. As they had every year in the past.
We are officially an expanding enterprise. We are now three partners tending the garden.
There is plenty enough for three to do and it’s great in giving some flexibility in time away over the summer. Snippets of the season thus far:
- A few planning sessions to determine what we’ll grow and where it should be grown (plant rotation and all that).
- Everyone took on starting some plants from seeds. For the most part, we all had success.
- More mushroom compost was ordered and delivered in spite several false starts and an almost saga of a stuck dump truck.
- Introduced our friend and new gardening partner to the garden and the neighbours.
- Garden progress to date:
- Late start to spring/summer
- Everything is planted (sometimes twice)
- Trying to grow leeks from scratch. Am thinking we may be lucky to have leeks that are the width of a pencil by harvest time.
- Trying other new things this year, such as horseradish, kale and arugula.
- The garlic is prolific.
- Irrigation system up and running, straw mulch in place.
- Cut worms have murdered two pepper plants.
- Squash beetles are showing up already.
No matter, it’s great to get out there with your friends or on your own. We convene with Mother Nature and if we’re lucky, we’ll have carrots, organic carrots, from our own effort and they will average about $10 a two pound bag!
How is your garden growing? And do you have any advice about combating squash beetles?