Our little garden is actually planted. And already sprouting thanks to the rain and 80 degree weather this week.
Last Saturday Shiloh borrowed a friend’s truck and hauled in a truckload of compost. I could tell it had arrived before I saw it because our yard smelled like a farm. With the help of her friend, we spread it around the plot, digging it in and shoveling some into a row of old tires we put along the side of the plot (about a week before that I put a request on craigslist asking for old tires and one guy drove thirty miles to bring us fifteen tires for free, only asking for gas money, with several more offering to do the same if we needed more).
After we spread around the compost, we each hauled out our plants and packets of seeds and sat down to decide what to plant where (we had to revise our original plan some because I couldn’t get some seeds and we had more than we thought of others). While we were sorting through the seeds, another neighbor brought out a sunflower seed kit and a salsa seed kit. She said she had intended to plant them inside, but that she decided to give them to us. So we added those to the mix, too.
Somehow we fit nearly everything in our little plot, though somewhat haphazardly. We even left room for sweet potatoes (which come in at the community gardens on Mother’s Day). We planted six of the tomatoes in tires along one side and saved the remaining tires for butternut squash, spaghetti squash, luffa gourds (to make sponges — they looked interesting), and zucchini. Brenda joined us and planted the sunflowers, then went and bought two hoses and a sprinkler for us so we could water everything. We left the garden, full of hidden seeds, wondering what would actually grow.
The following week I mostly ignored the garden as I wrote a whole stack of final papers (one more to go…), consoling myself with the fact that it rained at some point everyday.
When I finally took some time to look at the garden on Friday, I found that something (rabbits?) had eaten every single leaf off of three of our pepper plants (the three mini sweet pepper plants) and nibbled a bit on a few of the other peppers and tomatoes. Both the peppers and tomatoes were dropping a bit, even though Shiloh had just watered them, and the leaves on the tomato plants were starting to turn yellow in some places. Anyone have any insight to what causes that? My only guess is that they don’t like our soil, with it’s combination of clay and compost (which appeared to be comprised mostly of cattle manure and wood chips).
While the peppers and tomatoes look a little tentative still, several other things are springing up. Friday night I found lettuce, spinach, chard, collards, zinnias, and beans all sprouting. By Saturday morning those were joined by sunflowers and okra and the beans had tripled in size.
So now I plant to research tomatoes and soil and see what I can do to help them. After I write this last paper, of course…