Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Community garden update

Nothing has gotten me out of my computer chair and my work-induced funk lately like the community garden plot (now plots!) that we've planted this spring. What a fantastic idea it was to convert this potential condo-building site to a lovely communal growing space. Even if it's only temporary, whomever thought it up should be commended. In her last post Meg wrote about the potentiality of the plot (and how her friends might "get their hands dirty" – how true!), and now I'm just going to update everyone as to how things have progressed.

What do a bunch of city girls and boys know about gardening? Not too much, it turns out, which is why we needed to team up! Ryan, Carla and Darryl laid the topsoil on the plot and we returned to it last weekend to sow our seeds. We planted a variety of good things, including zucchini, pattypan squash, basil, chard, beets, cilantro, shallots and peppers in raised rows (inspired by the next-door-neighbour garden, I have to say, not by some innate gardening skill). We planted seeds according to the heights they might achieve, the amount of sun they would get, the room they would need to grow – and (of course) – the directions on the package!

We were astonished to find that pepper seeds actually look like the seeds you find in peppers; squash seeds look like the seeds you find in squash! Who would have thought? Perhaps we are a little too removed from the cycle of growing things, but it had never occurred to us that those seeds could actually produce ... produce. Incredible.

A few days later, in a spate of good luck, Michelle learnt that there were still some plots going, so she snapped one up, and we headed back to the garden to put topsoil on it and plant some seeds sent to us by Tessa; these included yellow beans, arugula and mixed herbs, savoury and parsley. We left one row fallow (for which some Victorian cucumber plants are now destined!).

One of the things that has gratified me the most about the experience is the community aspect of it all; people who would pass by us anywhere else in the city of Vancouver with nary a word are now cheerfully regaling us with their stories, idle chat and gardening advice. I've heard about new techniques, various strategies and Newfoundland hard tack sea biscuits (mm). It's been great.

It's also great to think of reaping the fruits (or veg!) of our labours – there are already sprouts springing up in little bright green rows on both plots. Unbelievable! We actually managed to start a few seeds on their way. I guess all that rain is good for something after all! I can't wait to see what develops, gain a little gardening knowledge along the way, and hopefully produce some tasty and (very) local meals with our harvest. More to come!


moyrad said...

Not to mention that the coriander and fennel seeds could actually grow real veggies. My new question is what do sesame seeds grow? I have asked several people and no one can answer this one yet. Anyone?
My Mom and aunts are definite green thumbs and are always talking about flowers but i have had little interest in growing plants until now.

Anonymous said...

Hi Moyrad,
To answer your sesame seed question and find out a whole lot more about the plant go to http://www.vegparadise.com/highestperch41.html
Cheers and good luck with your garden.