Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

There’s this idea floating around that the next president should turn the White House lawn into an edible garden. This is the sort of idea that, at first blush, seems a tiny bit ridiculous. Totally impossible, and also kind of pointless. But I read that, during World War Two, when victory gardens produced 40% of the food consumed in the United States, the Roosevelts had a victory garden too. During the first world war, President Wilson had sheep nibbling away at the White House lawns to free the groundskeepers up for the war effort and to conserve resources. Sure, these were symbolic gestures, but I agree that these types of statements actually mean something. It was definitely a statement when Reagan took the solar panels off the roof of the White House. Maybe it’s time for a positive symbolic gesture about food? There’s information about this at ondayone.org and kitchengardeners.org.


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So, the rows aren’t exactly straight, but look- peas! I planted sugar snap peas and shell peas, so I should have a nice variety in a few short weeks. I can’t wait for sugar snaps right off the plant, and last year the shell peas I’d frozen were a highlight of my winter. So, these little plants are super-exciting. Look at them go!


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Runners like to say that they do their best thinking while out for a jog. Ok, so here’s the challenge I rolled around in my brain while out for a morning run: how to bring enough water to douse my little plot to the community garden (since the community garden water won’t be turned on until next week), keeping in mind that I left my car at work and apparently don’t have any large jug-like items in my home.

To the left is the solution I came up with. It involved like twelve ziplock bags, two buckets, four straps, and two bungees. Perhaps it wasn’t the most elegant solution, and it took probably half a hour to get everything affixed securely to the trailer. But success! Obviously I should try to solve global problems while running and see where that gets us.

And then when I got to the garden, it became clear that the water had, in fact, been turned on already. I had been misled. Well! Didn’t my little rigged-up system of bags and buckets look silly all of a sudden. And, pretty much as soon as I got home, it started to rain, and it proceeded to rain for quite some time.

I imagine there’s some poignant lesson in this story. Think about it.

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I signed up for a plot at the Northampton Community Garden this year, so now I have my very own little 20×20 space to grow whatever I want. There’s a picture of it. That compost barrel was left by the previous tenant, which was an unexpected bonus. Ok, so maybe it’s not breathtaking quite yet, but rest assured that in a few short weeks it will be.

The truth is that I’ve been super anxious about the garden, probably because I imagined that there are lots of really experienced gardners all around me, and I fully expected to be mocked and derided by them for making foolish mistakes. Emily and I were joking that I should do all my gardening by headlamp to avoid prying eyes, but the plan is complicated by my failure to actually own a headlamp. God, I am the worst gardener! Plus someone would probably call the police if I was stumbling about with a headlamp on in the middle of the night, and that would be even more embarrassing than putting in my snap peas too late.

On Saturday I raked up the hay left behing by the previous gardener, loosened the soil with a fork, spread and spaded in some compost from Martin’s Farm in Greenfield, and raked it all smooth. On Sunday I put in peas, both sugar snaps and shell peas, and bok choy, spinach, and swiss chard. Very exciting. Oh yes, very, very exciting indeed.

I should say for the record that everyone I’ve encountered there so far was supernice and helpful. They did not seem interested in identifying my weaknesses and drawing attention to them for their own amusement.

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