Saturday, October 19, 2013

October Flowers and More Desolation

While some gardeners might not appreciate the free-for-all flower beds at the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden, they cannot deny that we have colorful perennial flowers in bloom from March to November.  That is not an accident. While I wish the beautiful cosmos bloomed earlier and were not quite so tall, I look forward to them and their ferny foliage every year.  We have volunteer cosmos in a few plots (like mine and Sabrina’s) and some that Micayla and I planted in the various beds.  I save seeds from them every year to ensure that we will always have cosmos in bloom every year.  Our purple asters are near the end of their blooming time.  My African marigolds are still going strong.  Dozens of bees every year decide to die in their blooms each Fall.  I finally remembered to save lots of seeds from them this year and am amazed that I have a number of volunteer marigolds coming up in my cleared out beds.   I might try to rescue a few and bring them inside for the winter.   Our rose bushes usually stay in bloom until mid-November.  The beds looked a lot better this week because Mari finally weeded them.

I haven’t written in a couple of weeks because I’ve been livid over a recent theft.  Someone broke into the Garden (over the back fence) last Saturday around dawn and robbed us almost blind.  They destroyed a good portion of the pepper beds in the food pantry and my plots.  They cleaned over virtually ever collard green and kale plant in every single plot in the Garden.  They ripped quite a few pepper and kale plants out of the ground – killing them.  They threw pimento, jalapeno, chili and other peppers on the ground.  It was heart-breaking.  They easily stole around 50 pounds of produce (mostly kale, tomatoes and bell peppers).  They destroyed plants that would have given us another 50 pounds of produce by the end of the season.   It’s not as though they couldn’t have signed up for their own plot and done their own work to raise their own food.  I added a third layer of fence and more stakes in that corner to deter additional thefts.  This week, it looks like someone came over the front gate area again (but this time to the south of the gate), so I reinforced it last night.  Sigh.  We've had more significant thefts of produce this year than all prior years combined.    I cannot describe how angry I am that freeloaders are taking our food -- all of which requires cooking (so I know it's not homeless people).   Of course, Neal's car was vandalized and robbed this week in Bexley, so it's not just a Near East side thing.
Like the other SACG gardeners, I’ve spent most of my visits the last two weeks in cleaning out plots.  I pulled all of the tomato plants from the food pantry and my plots last week.  This week, I’ve pulled tomato plants from Cassie’s old plot, from around Rose’s bed and started on Chelsea’s old plot.   (Tamara helped me last night). Last night, Shae pulled the tomato plants from her plot (but them just threw them into the compost bins still attached to their green tomatoes, stake and ties.  Three big no-nos.  I had to fix that this morning. Neal cleaned his tomato plants out (and shoveled up all the dropped ones). 

DeShaun's Plot This Morning
After I told DeShaun last night that he had the worse and most overgrown plot in the Garden, he, Shae, Tim, and three other kids pulled everything out of his bed and then hoed and hacked it with new child-sized gardening tools donated by Doug and Suzy Adams.  DeShaun was soooo excited about how many large sweet potatoes he pulled from his plot.  He could not have been more excited.  I think Neal was mystified by the mess they made and their excitement; they didn’t compost or dispose of any of the tomato plants or weeds they pulled.  (I cleaned up their mess this morning). The kids didn’t have school yesterday and so were desperate for something productive to do . . . . I gave them lollipops before they left.   Barb and Frank cleaned out a row of their tomato plants, too, and Sabrina was there this morning in the rain pulling her tomato plants out (with help from Zephyr).   (They didn’t get candy;-)

We still have some Fall crops coming up, but not as much as we have had in the past.  The boys have been pretty good about watering their crops, but the girls have not.   Last night, the kids – particularly Shae – wanted to plant more crops.  Yes, we could have planted garlic, but I’m in no mood.  (Who knows who will have that plot in the Spring.  They might not want garlic).  The Garden is closing in three weeks and the kids seem oblivious to the fact that winter is coming – even though I told them that it might actually snow next week.

Almost all of the sun flowers have been chopped down and put in lawn bags.  There are still some blooming in the front bed, so I left them another week (for the finches).  I still need to clean out Chelsea’s old plot.

Last week, I also pulled virtually all of the basil out of the Garden to satisfy our barter arrangement with Bexley Pizza Plus (just in time for the Taste of Bexley on Monday).   Our harvest was 9% less than last year -- mostly because I hadn't realized in time the adverse effect the shade from my volunteer sunflowers had on our herb garden).

I’ll probably be back at the Garden early Wednesday evening and again next Saturday morning.  The big food pantry plot could stand to be weeded.  I noticed that we have some lettuce and beets coming up where Sabrina planted them a month ago.  Anyone who wants some free sunflower, cosmos or marigold seeds should stop by to help for a few minutes . . . .
This afternoon, I'll be enjoying the rain by cleaning house, doing laundry, canning tomatoes and making soup . . . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment