Sunday, June 22, 2008

Green Thumbs!

We've decided to start our own organic farm. Well, okay, only if by "farm" we mean a 10'x8' plot of un-plowed grass in the middle of a baseball park, and only if by 'organic' we mean we wouldn't know what artificial stimulants to put on the plants even if were were allowed to use them. But still, we're growing something.

After poking around the community for the past several weeks trying to figure out the best plan of attack, we decided to start a community garden plot at the West State street park. The Park is a gigantic sports complex with more than a dozen baseball fields, a driving range, acres of open field, a playground, and back in the corner, along the bike path, a thriving community garden. For 50$ and a promise to donate 10% of what ever we grow to the Athens County Food bank we were in business. And by business we mean we spent the next three evenings double-digging our heretofore untouched garden plot digging through four inches of grass roots and top soil, another two inches of compacted gravel left-over from a no-longer-existent gravel road, and another seven or eight inches of good, if slightly sandy, dirt. We turned that all around with our shovels, made a path down the middle, put up a fence to keep out deer, and finally, on Saturday morning put some actual plants in the ground: Tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, Green Bell Peppers, Pimentos, yellow squash, bush beans, cilantro, carrots, and onions.

Both the Monkey and Mr. Baseball had a blast playing in the dirt at the garden. The Monkey had a hard time 1) staying out of other plots, 2) not pulling up the pepper plants dad just planted, 3) not stealing Mr. Baseball's shovel, and 4) not dumping his bag of animal crackers over in the grass. He did however have a wonderful time wandering around the garden, poking sticks in the dirt, hanging on fences and watching ants and spiders crawl through the dirt.

The Queen Bee, directing her hive. She was the spearhead for getting our garden plot organized and getting us out there to work on it. The community garden itself is tended by a great mix of first-timers like us as well as many experienced gardeners, so while the amazing rows of beans and tomatoes in some plots are extremely intimidating, the withering, anemic plants in others are oddly comforting (its nice not to be the only goof in the bunch). There are tools we can use, water buckets, and even occasionally some mulch and organic bug-be-gone (bone meal). The organization that runs the garden also provides classes, holds potlucks and offers plenty of free advice. All week the QB has been singing "The Prophet Said to Plant a Garden."

The plot kiddy-corner to ours is a gigantic plot (maybe 20x50) run by the Athens county food bank. Just after it was plowed under we showed up and the monkey and Mr. Baseball dug in the new dirt for nearly two hours while the QB and I worked on our own plot. The next day the people from the food bank showed up, which ended the boys' digging fun. But that didn't stop Mr. Baseball from having fun anyway he could. Before we knew it he had a handful of seeds and he was helping the food bank people plant beans and discussing with them various ways of keeping the deer from eating the sprouts. The monkey on the other hand is a little bit more reserved and he was content playing in the tomato cage pictured above.
The Monkey's favorite thing to do at the garden is run away from wherever we ask him to play. On Friday the QB and Mr. Baseball left for a while to go to swimming lessons and the Monkey and I stayed behind to work. But the poor kid just wanted to go with Mom and brother. Several times I looked up from my shovel to see him wandering half way around the garden in the direction of the dirt road that he'd seen mom and and brother leave on. He wasn't upset, but he also wasn't going to take being deserted lightly.

Green. Everything in Athens is green. Including, hopefully, our thumbs.
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Shiloh said...

I love the community garden idea! Hope your garden grows to put the others' to shame!!

TraciP said...

Good luck on the garden, it's looking great so far! I've killed mine already. I think I was born with a black thumb. I can't seem to keep anything alive.