Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Report from last week's dig

So, the East Austin dig didn't go exactly as planned. Emily arrived at the site, deep in a neighborhood off Springdale and Webberville, to find the field being mowed. As the rest of us arrived, the smell of freshly cut grass filled the air. The lot, which had been identified by a friend and not previously seen by the Garden Posse, was a long, narrow strip of land with a chunk of trash mounded in a forward corner. A decent spot, but our number one rule of guerrilla garden site choosing had been violated by that darn mower: A garden site must be truly neglected, and not actively maintained and mowed. Lawn mowers kill gardens. And obviously, the people who owned this land were looking after it. The site was a no-go.

Yet there we were, with a car chock full of tools, dirt, and plants, including some flowers that had been saved from the garbage at Shoal Creek. It was time for Plan B: Replant the Chestnut & 16th Street garden.

The Chestnut garden has always been popular with the neighborhood, so we were all excited to revive it. The summer had not been kind to the garden. Everything we had planted last winter was dead, but we were happy to see a yellow-flowered vine had climbed and bloomed on the large dead tree next to the garden. We expanded the garden in order to fit all the vegetable plants, and created a flower border around the dead tree.

As we worked, Tara from KVRX's Upstream program (last week, featuring the Garden Posse, but unfortunately the audio was lost), happened to be riding by and recognized our activities. She stopped to plant a couple of lettuces into the already crowded bed. The Posse was also helped by two shirtless guys who were out walking their pit bull and drinking an unknown beverage out of a brown bag. They were very excited to see us working on the garden, and although we were almost done, they insisted on helping spread some mulch around the plants. They were an uncle and nephew who worked at a construction company and lived with family in the neighborhood for a long time. They said they wanted to build a border around the bed with extra rocks from work, and tell their family and neighbors about the garden. We said, that would be awesome.

So although things didn't go exactly as planned - this is the first time that we've had to abandon a site we hoped to dig - the night was productive and had a happy ending. Let's hope the garden is just as productive!

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