So I tried out this garden thing at one of Kitchener’s community garden plots and it turns out I am not the urban farmer I always thought I would be. It turns out I am a tad neglectful. I am glad I put straw down because I’ve only weeded the plot 3 times and I’ve only watered it about 7 times. I have been pretty lucky as it rained a lot and I’ve even managed to get some delicious produce out of it with minimal effort. The above photo is today’s tomato haul and as you can see I turned it into salsa, which I am eating right now and can I say YUM!. I just picked them today and there was quite a lot. It filled up the whole mixing bowl and weighed almost 3kg.
Kale also grew really well under my seriously neglectful conditions and peas too. I have an eggplant in there with lots of flowers, but no eggplant yet and it didn’t get very big. My cauliflower is seriously gross and didn’t work at all and pepper plants I don’t think even reached a foot tall, but there are peppers growing them.
I can’t remember anything else I’ve planted, but I’m sure I’m missing a bunch. Whoever owned the plot the previous year had tomatoes in their garden and they have reseeded, grew and are producing tomatoes. I think if I do the garden again next year it will be mostly peas and tomatoes (they seem to stand up well to my abuse).
It was my first time playing bocce ball and I think I kicked butt for a first timer! Our court was at Soper Park in Cambridge. I’ve heard that park can be a little seedy, but there were lots of children swimming in the river and it seemed pretty laid back when we were there. We played on a bumpy green strip that ran between the river and a path.
My sweet companion was kind hearted enough to fish all the stray balls (all mine) out of the river. I think we played for a couple hours and then explored a little more of the park.
One of the simple things in life that I truly love is walking over a bridge that crosses water. More specifically, I love to stand in the middle and gaze down at the water looking for water creatures and aquatic plants. The willows in the park are so beautiful and gnarled. I’m not sure what you call these growths on the trees… burls? Is this what they make those beautiful bowls out of? I love wooden bowls! This was my favourite tree in the park.
There were lots of bridges, a couple of them had tunnels through them (fun!) with walkways (yay!).
And of course what city tunnel would be complete without graffiti? I guess this one stood out to me.
As for the garden project, I may not be all that great of a farmer. A lot of things are looking really wilted and I lost my swiss chard for sure. The peppers seem to be doing okay and I tried caging one today. Holy moly those things are hard to get into the ground! I could only get them in there about half way.
I’ve started to meet more of my fellow gardener’s and they are becoming familiar faces. They told me the unfortunate news that most of the veggies get swiped out of there every year. That is a shame since a lot of hard work and money go into these gardens. The plot itself is very cheap to rent, but buying the plants and fertilizers can get really pricy. If my veggies go missing I might stick to growing potatoes at my home. Which so far, not to brag (yeah I’m bragging), I seem to be an AWESOME potato farmer! Ahhh and I just realized I forgot to pick up a bag of soil on my way home for said potatoes. NUTS! Ah well, there is always another day for that.
Update: My garden plot is now completely weeded (or as weeded as I feel like doing right now. The edges could use a little work still), the earth churned up with a hoe (that hard rake thing… I think that’s hoe) and some seeds have been planted. Where the ground is wet I have planted peas and onions. The dry patch in the middle is waiting for the end of May when I’ll pick up seedlings at the garden centers. I want to put in two rows of tomatoes, a row of peppers (red and Hungarian hot peppers) and then carrots, cauliflower, spinach, kale and whatever else I can think of. Ground cherries would be awesome. I love love love me some ground cherries!
I am also giving potatoes a shot and just planted the potato sack today. I got the sack from Home Hardware for $9.99 and the potatoes I am just using what I bought from the grocery store that was leftover. They are all organic except for the purple ones. Purple potatoes!!! How cool is that!? They were hilarious cooked and mashed. I had a pile of purple mashed potatoes to eat and I loved it. I hope I grow a ton.
I have never had a garden or a potato sack before and I am so excited to see what happens. Maybe the curse of my black thumb will end (probably if it rains a decent amount and waters everything for me). Enjoy your warm sunny day and stay well!
I finally nabbed a community garden plot. I have been thinking of one for years and this was my year to go for it. I have never had a garden before and I have the blackest thumb out of everyone I know. My only claim to gardening fame it a straggly fig tree and a spindly avocado tree. I have neglected and over loved every plant I have ever owned. I am hoping that a sunny garden spot will be the place where my gardening skills truly shine (or at least will not result in mass plant death). The garden is located in a fairly busy park at one of Kitchener’s community centers and it cost a very reasonable $15.00.
This is what the plot looked like when I got it… a disaster. Today was the first chance I got to take a crack at it (I obtained it a week ago) and I figured it would take me an hour to clear out the weeds and dead plant material. I can actually hear my father laughing in my head (my father being an avid veggie gardener). Two and a half hours later and I was only 1/3 of the way done cleaning the plot out. By that point my back was aching and I still had to walk the dog and get dinner ready (does anyone else eat dinner around 9:00 at night? I really need to fix that). Being as I work full time, I think I am going to have to work on it a bit at a time.
From the above photo, you can see the results of a 2 1/2 hour effort on my part. My gardening buddies told me pea plants should already have been planted, so I stopped the weeding and planted 12 pea plants (four regular peas, 4 snow peas and 4 sugar snap peas). I have a brewing recipe for pea pod wine and it would be so brag worthy to not only say “Hey try some of my pea pod wine!”, but to also add “I grew the peas myself!”. Yep, these things excite me.
What are my thoughts so far? Gardening really IS hard work. I though people were exaggerating when they said that. I was wrong. It takes hours… HOURS. And most of the time you are in a squat position. Do all gardeners have nice butts? I think maybe they do. What do I expect to get out of this project? Well delicious delicious vegetables for one (hopefully), but if not, it will be a learning experience. Two and a half hours in and I already feel more connected to my community, the neighbourhood and the earth itself. During the very short time I was there I talked to four different people I have never met before and gave my body some much needed movement after a day at the office. I think a community garden may very well be a way to get more connected to the people around me and a fresh, healthy and vibrant new perspective on life. Peace out folks.