it's okay to play with your food

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary...

Well, I can't speak for Mary's garden, but mine is growing with the help of homemade compost and a small army of children from my block.

Newbold Neighbors Association has done a great job starting a community garden this year, a couple blocks from my house. I'm just now greening my thumb, so I'm learning a lot along the way.

For instance, if you decide to shop for seedlings with three small children, the oldest being 6 years old, really pay attention to what you're buying. That way, you won't end up with 10 tomato plants and no peppers instead of the more well-rounded collection of tomatoes and red peppers you originally planned.

Similarly, if you decide to plant with three small children, pay closer attention to where they are digging and what they are putting in the ground. That way, you won't end up with a rogue tomato plant in the midst of your cucumber patch.

Sigh... but these are lessons learned along the way and hey, the kids are having fun with the garden. If you want to see children fight over vegetables, this is way. ("That's MY cucumber plant!" "No, it's MINE! THAT one's yours!" "Where's MY tomato growing?") They are also really excited for the "vegetable party" we're going to have at the end of the summer. As in, "Can we make a tomato salad? Please?"

Less overt excitement accompanied the laying of the compost. I fished out some of my compost, put it in a bag and headed over to the garden with two of the older kids from my block, about 8 and 9 years old. I hadn't noticed how the compost smelled till we got to the garden. In the words of John, the 9 year old, it smelled like "dookie." And he was right.

I suspect I wasn't turning the compost enough, letting it aerate properly. It doesn't smell now and seems to be well-integrated into the soil. Nothing has died, so I think it's ok. I went home and added cardboard to my batch in the Envirocycle and have been turning it religiously. Hopefully this next round will be more earthy, less dookie-y.

My pics are from last week, but I was just there again today. The black eggplant have quadrupled in size and the Lavender Touch eggplant is finally showing its light purple blossoms. Plus I have some very funky curly cucumbers growing. The tomatoes have yet to turn red but they are nice in size. And with all those tomato plants, there will be much tomato salad at our vegetable party come late August.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've always had the urge to individually wrap the fruit on my plants with a shear yet sturdy material. I've seen it done in France on their pear trees and it seems like a good way to keep critters at bay. However, I would think the fruit its self needs a healthy dose of sunlight to promote ripening.