HUGE day at the Community Garden plot yesterday. Although the forecast was for thunderstorms, we only had overcast skies, coolness and an ocassional slight rain spray off and on. So it was a perfect day for all the tilling by hand and planting. We started the day at the local co-op where we picked up bags of Maryland’s own Leafgro soil conditioner. Then we stopped by the hardware store to pick up a large fork tool to help breakup the clay. That is what our plot neighbor was using with good success. There were few other gardeners out, perhaps because of the forecast, but another plotter and we were there all day. A few others popped in and out throughout the day. The result: everything is tilled and the homemade compost and purchased Maryland’s own Leafgro soil conditioner worked in. The only thing left to prepare is a small four inch strip where I will install a bean support trellis and plant peas. That will be next weekend’s job.
The day was not all work, however, it was also a bit social. It was fun to meet other plotters, ask question (e.g., which way is north as my tall plants need to face north as to not shade the shorter plants), and share ideas. An elderly man stopped by to see what was going on when he was driving by and saw some of us working the plots. We let him know about the community garden and he ended up sticking around chatting about politics and life for the next two hours as we worked. He reminded me very much of my father who died a few years ago well over the age of 90, yet as alert, sharp and active as he had been when I was a child. The man did not mince words when he disapproved of how we divided the plot in half, using wood chips as a path. He convinced me to move over my current wood chip path as well as add a second path so it would be easier to tend to and harvest the tomatoes. So, aside from the fact that I was on my hands and knees moving over wood chips with Calvin by my side asking why I did not think of this in the first place??, I was thankful the man had stopped by as I think he saved me a lot of stress down the harvesting road. Then another plotter stopped by and we chatted about tomato rows and maybe it would be better if I staggered by tomatoes. So I dug some tomato plants up and did the stagger thing.
Through all this labor, I was ever so grateful that it was overcast and fairly cool. Doing all the digging, tilling and planting in hot humid weather would not have been as much fun 🙂 Oh! Another great thing. In a previous post I mentioned how our plot had not been tilled by the county as other plots had been and how I thought that made more work for us. Actually, I learned from another plotter that when the county tilled the other plots, the ground had not been dry. So the tilling resulted in huge soil clots that dried and resulted in rock-like clumps, nearly impossible to break down. The skipped county tilling meant we were rock-like soil clump free! So, in the end, we were so very lucky that we just had regular old clay to contend with. Another stroke of fortune related to the community garden to follow a growing list of other strokes of fortune that started when we got the plot to being with!