Sunday, May 19, 2013

What a Difference a Year and a Week Makes

This time last year, we were a couple of weeks into a significant drought and I spent almost all of this Saturday at the Garden building raised beds and planting cherry trees.  I was already exhausted and looking forward to the end of the year.  Last week, it was cold and soggy and the weeds had taken over the SACG in my absence.  This year, our weather is blissfully improved and we have a very energized group of volunteers.  This week, it was warm and dry and I was able to leave around 2:30.  And our perennial flowers are looking pretty swell, too.

On Thursday, I weeded the flower beds, continued planting tomatoes and had help with weeding the small pantry plot from two neighborhood girls.  We also planted tomatoes in their raised bed. Barb tended the Block Watch flower beds across the street.  She and Frank had installed our new and improved gates earlier in the week.  (The gates have been “improved” by adding a lattice top to keep the mischievous neighborhood kids (and other n’ere do wells) from jumping the gates to gain access to the Garden).   

On Friday, one of the girls returned to help me transplant volunteer sunflowers and to plant some cosmos seeds in our various flower beds.  I also reconnected our second rain water cistern and had to repair the downspout to our first rain water cistern.  Our BTBO neighbor mowed their grass, raked it up and donated the clippings to our compost bins.  Barb continued with the flower beds and Frank used their power edger on weeds in the vicinity. I put cages around my determinate tomatoes.

On Saturday morning, I focused on weeding my plot and the food pantry plot with our stirrup hoe, planted some peppers and winter squash, and put tomato stakes with the tomatoes. I also planted tomatoes and peppers in the neighbor bed along the alley and transplanted collard greens.  Antoinette came, helped weed one of the vacant plots and we planted beans, peppers and lettuce in her raised bed.  Sabrina and Tom came, weeded their plot, put in a trellis for their peas and helped Antoinette finish weeding a vacant plot. Tamara came and acted as our water girl for a while so that all of our new seedlings could get watered in well.  Cassie came, weeded the small pantry plot and then turned to weeding and planting in her own plot. (We also laughed about a volunteer who had offered to come help me at 7 a.m. this morning, because neither of us would ever be working that early on a Saturday).   Her husband Frank stopped by, helped me pound in tomato stakes (so that I could avoid getting tennis elbow like I did last year by pounding in stakes that are taller than me).  He also helped to adjust one of our benches and emptied our trash can.  Mari came to weed and plant in her plot.  Neal stopped by and planted tomatoes and peppers.

Frank and Barb continued running errands.  They borrowed a rototiller from the Rebuilding Together Tool Library to till Ms. D’s backyard garden (since she hadn’t been around on April 6 when we tilled the Garden).

Board member Cathy spent Saturday building two 4x6 raised garden beds at Ohio Avenue Elementary School in the Old Oaks neighborhood.   She emailed me last week asking for help to build beds like the ones we built last year for our youth gardening program.  On Monday, I reached out to Trudeau Fence and, as always, Mike and Russ generously donated cedar lumber to build the beds.  Cathy and I picked up the lumber in her SUV on Thursday morning and I cut it down with my circular saw on my patio.  Cathy then went and purchased a pick-up truck load or two of top soil and compost.   I know she must be exhausted from shoveling out all of the soil into the beds.  On Monday, a class of third-graders will be planting during their last week of school and then will return in the Fall to harvest as fourth-graders.

With all of this work, the Garden is starting to look like a real Garden instead of a neglected patch of ground.   In addition to the lovely daisies, the clematis vines that Betty Weaver planted a few years ago are in full bloom and our strawberries are ripening on schedule.  If only we had more bees . . . .

This time last year, I went home, got a pizza and watched the Preakness.   Today, I went home and collapsed even though I left the Garden almost four hours earlier . . . . . Go figure.

P.S.  I managed to return to vertical and went grocery shopping.  Aldi's has tomato cages for $1.50.   That's a bargain.  I got 2.

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