Friday, June 19, 2009

ISO Mad Dogs and Englishmen to Build Plot of the Unknown Gardener.

There is a saying that only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noon day sun. I happened to be thinking of that today because it is uncomfortably hot and humid outside and tomorrow promises not to be much better. Tomorrow is the day that we will be building the Plot of the Unknown Gardener at the Stoddart Garden.

Tonight, I overcame my fear of sharp moving objects and brought my circular saw out of the cavernous bowels that is my basement and chopped down some cedar boards (donated by Trudeau Fence Company and Bowden Fence Company) to use as the posts for a raised bed along Cherry Street. I was sweating quite a bit, but accomplished my task and enjoyed the smell of cedar shavings.

I then repaired and tried to replace an inner tube/tire on my bicycle, but try as I might, I could not properly center the patched inner tube on the tire rim. The two strawberry margaritas I had consumed probably didn't help. My discombobulated bike is now in pieces on my patio waiting for a sympathetic neighbor or mysterious and ghostly force to put it back together so that I can get some proper exercise between thunder storms.

Anyway, if you are bored on Saturday, June 20 and want to do something productive in the heat, you should come to the Stoddart Garden since I will probably be there most of the day. The 77 feet along Cherry Street consists of mostly run-off dirt covering what was once a driveway or sidewalk. We had hoped to have a pumpkin patch there for the neighborhood kids, and as a compromise, I've built raised beds out of the bricks, chunks of concrete and blacktop and other construction debris unearthed from the Garden and planted pumpkins in them. That only covers 20+ feet. I've also constructed a compost bin there (and plan to add another in July). However, there is still a rather long -- 6-10 feet -- stretch of unsightly alley to convert to Garden space. After conferring with the Gardeners and running it by the City Delvelopment Office, I've decided to build a raised bed there with our extra cedar planks and put our extra seedlings for use by anyone who wants them.

My neighbors -- the Karhl's-- have lent me a pick axe, (so that I can dig out holes for the corner posts) but it terrifies me. That just looks like an accident waiting to happen. I have a drill and screws, corner braces of various shapes and sizes and lots of cedar planks. The plan is to build a 6 x 6 foot raised bed with four corner posts and three support posts. I'll fill it with top soil (from Sunderlands) and then plant in it lots of tomatoes, pole beans, zucchinni, a cantalope and maybe some lettuce. Alysha has some seedlings to add as well.

The Plot of the Unknown Gardener will be outside the Garden's fence. Anyone who walks by can help themselves to the produce. This would include the homeless guys in the neighborhood, passersby and neighbors who decided too late to sign up for a plot in the Garden. We are hoping that thieves will also content themselves with the produce from this plot and not help themselves from produce from within the Garden.

Last night I went to the Garden to mow the grass with my reel mower. The City had been by in the last few days and mowed all of the vacant lots surrounding the Garden (which made our lot look a little shabby). Jeannie stopped and wanted to mow the grass instead of me, so I let her do so while I pulled weeds from the Garden paths. Then, a group of 20-something guys (who may or may not live in our neighborhood) came by and directed a gentleman to mow the grass instead of Jeanne. We didn't argue, but pointed out that we had no cash to pay him. No matter. He mowed quite intensely with my rusty mower (and pointed out that it needed to be sharpened because it was not cutting the thick and tall weeds). He did not make eye contact. I offered him some lettuce from my plot, but he declined on the grounds that he lived on the street and had no place to store it. When the group left west on Cherry Street they took him with them -- only after confirming that he had done everything that I needed done that night. I expect that they planned to compensate him in some way -- but I don't want to know with what.

Last week, I heard that some guys stopped by and told one of our Gardeners that they planned to steal our produce. Others stop by and ask about each of the plants. Others stop by and ask if we have any plots left so that they can join us. Many people are interested in our Garden. Everyone seems to be supportive of it.

The Plot of the Unknown Gardener is where frustrated gardeners and others can harvest produce this season if they didn't sign up with us earlier. Perhaps next year they will garden with us inside the fence.

If you are interested in helping us construct this Plot, please join us tomorrow (weather permitting). I'll probably be there between 10-2.

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