Building a Community Garden: Part Two
When people talk about the quality of soil being important to a garden, I get why they stress it. It’s your plant baby’s crib! It needs to be just right for them to thrive and not get the plant version of SIDS. Yikes, things got dark there for a second.
The truth is, I made some mistakes in this part of the garden build, and I’m not mad about it. I was mad about a few things quite a few times, and my husband and I were at odds on more than one occasion. After one particularly heated debate about the landscape surrounding the beds, I stormed outside, and as I was laying rocks down, thought to myself, “This is just for fun. It’s just for fun.”
He reminded me that, “No, it’s not just for fun, it’s also for the whole community, so it needs to be nice.” We decided that fun and nice looking are not mutually exclusive, hence why people love blondes.
Anyways, back on track.
I was given some advice to get compost from a local horse farm. I ordered $100 worth, which was about three cubic yards, which was about 1.5 cubic yards too much. Not to mention, $80 of that fee was for delivery because we don’t have a truck, and I specifically don’t have patience to go rent or borrow a truck. Remind me someday to tell you the story of the white F-150 truck I drove to college in San Diego, that had a lift kit on it. Every time one of the frat guys needed a ride somewhere they had to hoist themselves up with the oh shit handle, and I giggled watching them go from surfer So Cal cool to helpless and emasculated. The good ol’ days.
So I get this special horse manure compost and am immediately told by our community gardener that it’s not good. “Too hot”.
He was right. Half of the plants I planted at the outset didn’t take.
More things that didn’t take
At this juncture in my garden journey, things get a bit sad. You’ve been warned.
I found out a few weeks into my urban farm adventure that I was expecting my second child. I should have realized that my overwhelming urge to nurture something and see it grow was more visceral than my country roots coming to the forefront.
We were so excited about this baby, and I was beyond thrilled (also slightly terrified) to have two little ones close together. It was what I had always wanted.
However, I had some major anxiety since the day we found out, and an odd pit in my stomach about it. I just knew something was off. The pregnancy was a lot of things. Mostly it was not meant to be.
To spare you of the details, this little garden was a welcome distraction. On the eve of my miscarriage, feeling horrible physically and emotionally, I harvested our first big batch of basil, and wrapped up little bundles to share with the neighbors. I wrote little notes to go with them, and went door to door delivering our first garden yield. It made me feel like a kid again, and took my mind off what I knew in my bones was coming.
If there’s anything I learned from the little fold of time that was my second pregnancy it’s a reinforcement of what I already knew. Time is precious, and we don’t make all the choices. When you can choose pursuit of more, pursue. When you can take action on a dream, act. Now is better than later.
The good news is that while many plants didn't take, a vast majority did. The environment doesn't have to be just perfect for everything after all. My cucumbers are thriving. They're wrapping their vine tendril arms around everything and giving us huge cukes for pickling and tea sandwiches with cream cheese. My rosemary and basil are constant gifts to neighbors, and the squash is showing us how big and beautiful it can be.
If feels far away now, the idea that I just needed to garden. It was an itch I had to scratch and never will return from. My urban gardening is here to stay, and the love of dirt only getting stronger.