Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Crestland Garden gets a facelift

Welcome to the old Crestland Garden! We love the location of the garden - the triangle is like an oasis right off the busy, barren street of North Lamar. It's surrounded on three sides by houses full of neighbors, who we met when we knocked on their doors, to invite them to work on the garden with us. Our hope for every garden we plant is that it will become a part of the community. In our dreams, the neighbors treat the guerrilla garden like a community garden - planting their own plants, expanding it when it's needed, and weeding and watering. In that way, the whole neighborhood can share the fresh food that comes out of the middle of their street.

Above you'll see the garden filled with with the remains of the fall crop. We planted everything from seed, and it did very well - full of cabbage, brocolli, beets, and kale. 

But the garden was also being strangled by weeds. This is kind of a good sign, because it means that the city workers who mow the triangle have left the garden - bordered by a variety of rocks and wood -  well enough alone.

And most of the plants had bolted. Here is the broccoli turning into tiny yellow flowers.

We were joined by a neighbor, Chris, who we met at a neighbor's Canadian Thanksgiving potluck last fall. We started off by attacking the weeds - quite a task. We pulled most of the plants out, but we thought this Chinese cabbage made quite a nice centerpiece. (Eventually we pulled it up.) Chris carted the discarded green stuff back to his compost pile.

We had a few visitors as well: A neighborhood mom and daughter gardening team walked over to give us a tomato transplant and a pod of okra seeds. The mom told us that whenever they drive by, she and her daughter check out the garden and what's happening there. They said they wanted to garden with us, but they had already done a lot of gardening at their house that day, and the daughter (who was about 7 and very cute) looked ready for bed. We told them that we would save room for them to plant their own veggies in the guerrilla garden.

And then a stranger encounter: A white mini van drove into the neighborhood and circled our triangle, calling out, "Headlamp gardening! Cool!" After one complete rotation, the car stopped and out came a skinny man who proclaimed himself a professional dumpster diver, a freegan, and career chef to diplomats traveling the world. He gave us each a business card to promote his line of dressings, available at your neighborhood market. He told us he was totally on board with what we were doing, then jumped back into his van, circled the triangle a few more times (calling out, "Cool!") and then disappeared back into North Lamar traffic.

But back to gardening. The other bed was more manageable, and we left the remains of the kale and cabbage to come to their natural end. 

After we were done weeding, we got ambitious and decided to expanded the garden. We dug up a third bed. We've found with experience that pick axes work best, even better than tillers. 

We neglected to take any photos of the plants, so you'll have to trust us when we say that we packed those beds full of peppers, tomatoes, herbs, sorrel, garlic chives, cucumbers, and we can't remember what else. There's sure to be quite a harvest... that is, if the cat we saw dive into the bed right after we were finished learns a valuable lesson.

Here are the ladies of the guerrilla gardening night after the dig. 

We are planning a return to the Crestland Garden, to encourage the neighbors to come out and learn about the plants in their neighborhood. Details to be announced.

No comments: