Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Slow Wind Down

We are finally preparing for Fall at the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden and rejoicing that rain finally remembered where we grow.   On Monday, I finally got some of my fall crops (cabbage and bok choy) in the ground, pulled out a row of my bush beans and planted a row of kale and turnips in the small food pantry plot.   Antoinette planted her fall crops as well.

It rained ¾ inch on Wednesday and another .6 on Thursday.  That night, I planted some lettuce and beets in the food pantry plot and we replanted in Mihaila’s plot (because, again, the crops she had planted wilted in the dry heat when she missed a few weeks of watering).

This morning, Sabrina beat me to the Garden.   I was straightening up our Free Little Library and she called my name.  She came just to help me out. And she brought me some home-made apple butter.  So, I turned her loose in the big food pantry plot to chop out our aphid-filled greens and to plant lettuce, beets and snow peas.  She also did some light weeding. I pulled out the rest of my bush beans and planted lettuce, escarole, beets, carrots and some bulbs.   I was also able to harvest most of the rest of my potatoes and – yes believe it or not – some zucchini.   The turnips and kale I planted on Monday had already  sprouted.  Yippee.

Frank and Barb stopped by to drop off two heavy bags of tomatoes for the food pantry.  Barb then told me the totally grossest story about tomato horn worms.  It gives her nightmares.  It will give me nightmares and now you will have nightmares.  I tried to dissuade her from telling me the story, but she would not be deterred.   You see, Barb grew up on a tomato farm.  Bo may know football, but Barb knows tomatoes.  When she was at the end of her teen years, their field was attacked by horn worms.  So, she was assigned to frisk two rows of tomatoes that were each the length of a football field.  She found at least 500 of them and squished them all under her boots.  Totally gross.

As Sabrina was packing up, most of the neighborhood girls came by to water their plots.  Kristin hadn’t been here in a month and so all of the seeds she had planted in August had died.  (She only came this morning because it was a bye week in football; she’s a cheerleader).  So, she replanted some carrots and decided to try some unusual radishes.  She and her sister, Gio, then helped me to harvest tomatoes for the food pantry.  Kristin misses gardening in the ground (because I gave her a raised bed this year in light of the fact that she is very busy with other extracurricular activities and does not keep up with her weeding) and helped to start hoeing out Cassie’s old plot.  One of the neighborhood boys said he wanted it, but then left to play basketball instead of hoeing.  Mihaela came by to help Kristin and they hoed away until I had completed harvesting for the food pantry.  The grass is so thick that they didn’t get very far.  Kristin has joined the band this year and is learning to play the violin.  This girl doesn’t lack for ambition or work ethic.  But even better from my perspective is that I no longer need to help her plant or tend her plot.  She can pick her own seeds, dig her own trenches, plant her own seeds and water them in all by herself.  (Ok, maybe I still have to point out that certain seeds won't ripen in time for Thanksgiving and point her in another direction from time to time:)

Neal came by to harvest tomatoes and brought a farmer friend with him.  Sabrina had told me that she and her family will be moving away at the end of the school year and won’t be back.  Don’t worry, Neal says, he has several friends who want to garden with us next year.  He’s having fun.  He’s the only gardener I have who is getting to know the other gardeners.  He planned to finally remove his cucumber trellis (since the plant has been dead for a while) and possibly plant his own fall crops.  He also entertained some of our new young neighbors.

I weighed and delivered our food pantry donation for the week.   I finally got home around 3:30 and then spent the rest of the day doing yard work.  Although I divided my asters last year and transplanted a number of them at the SACG (where you can see them in bloom right now), I still have a veritable forest of asters in my back yard.    Let me know if you'd like some when I try to divide them again in another month.

Sabrina planned to return after eating to harvest from her own plot.   Neither she nor I will be there next Saturday morning.  In fact, I probably won’t be back on a Saturday morning until October 12 because my nephew is playing football and his sister is playing soccer.   I haven’t decided whether to garden on Saturday or Sunday afternoons and will probably play it by ear.  I’ll be starting to pull out worn out tomato plants and cleaning out the sun flowers, etc.  Although I personally love these cold nights, I need it to stay above 50 for the sake of our basil.  Keep your fingers crossed.

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