Friday, March 31, 2006

VINS Community Garden

A few years ago, as a result of buying a house with flower beds, I got into growing perennial plants. I've enjoyed the DIY spirit of it and how you really can't screw it up. Make sure the soil has a lot of compost and hummus and stick a bunch of plants in the ground. Nature does the rest and it looks pretty good.

However, we have a small yard and no space for a vegetable garden. So, a while ago we put our names on the waiting list for a community garden plot over at the Nature Center where we could grow some veggies.

Last fall, we learned that there would be an opening for us this spring. So, now we have a plot. I took this photo of the plot last fall and we haven't touched it since. So, I need to get over there this weekend and start cleaning out the old to make room for the new.

As a kid, my family had a community garden plot. However, since then, I haven't done any vegetable gardening. Therefore, I really have no friggin' idea what I'm doing. Most of my memories of our childhood garden involve lugging a bunch of water buckets from our house to the garden every other night. Thankfully, there is a river that runs right along the gardens where we can get water.

We also need to decide what to grow. I want to grow spinach and snow peas. My wife wants yellow cherry tomatoes. My son wants peppers. My daughter wants carrots and cucumbers. I think we'll have enough space for all of that and a few other items. However, I think some of it will just depend on what starter plants and seeds we can find at the farmer's market and local garden shops.

I have a fear that I'll completely screw this thing up and piss off the other gardeners who know what they're doing. Everyone is there to take care of their own plot but I know they'll be checking out how the new guy on the block is doing. And they'll probably be dismayed. But I think it'll be fun and a good activity to do with the kids. The Nature Center is near their daycare. So, I'll be able to do some watering and weeding with them after work a few times a week and then hit it on weekends, as well. Hopefully, it'll rain a lot here when I'm in Germany in June.

There's a pot luck dinner for all of the gardners on April 11th. However, I have to be in Wheeling, WV on the morning of the 12th for work. So, I'll miss the pot luck, as well as the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah show that night. Major disappointment but that's a subject for another post. It would have been a fun contrast to go to a pot luck dinner with organic farmers and then to a hipster rock show later that night. Oh, well. Work sucks like that.


obie said...

Ah, a community garden. Wish I had one of those -- haven't been able to grow anything since I left Hoboken, where I had a back yard.

If it's a wet summer, you'll have fresh tomatoes until Columbus Day.

Flatlander said...

In Montville, they've done away with the community garden plots also. I think they built a larger playground where the plots used to be. I guess there isn't much demand for it down there these days.

Where in Hoboken are there community garden plots? I don't remember them.

baseballpajamas said...

I got some good organic vegetable seedlings last year at Cate Farm in Plainfield ( peppers, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and several kinds of tomatoes (including golden cherry tomoatoes). They only sell three Sundays in May, however. Check their website for specific dates. -Rob

Flatlander said...

Thanks for the tip. I was actually thinking of them when I mentioned getting starter plants. However, I was planning on just checking them out at the farmer's market. But going out there on a Sunday afternoon sounds nice too.

obie said...

Jackson & 3rd Streets in Hoboken has a great little DIY community garden where the local residents just took over a vacant parcel, and it's a mix of plants, veggies, and flowers, and whatever else people want to put in (rocks, ponds, flags, Elvis statues, etc.). Looks like total anarchy from the outside, but the people who run it are dead serious about everyone keeping up with it all summer long.

Now that developers are invading the west side, though, it may be endangered.

obie said...

Follow-up: the Jax St community garden is in the city's master plan, so maybe it's now protected. Or at least until the next pro-development mayor.

The legend says it's #3 but it's really that tiny speck of #18 in the lower left.

jds said...

Yeah, Cate farm is really the best place for seedlings. It's a great operation and they've got a pretty diverse selection.

Flatlander said...

Due to rain on saturday and celebrating my wife's birthday on sunday, I didn't get to the garden until after work tonight. It needs a lot of weeding but it isn't in too bad of shape.

I may need to rethink the idea of bringing the kids with me though. As soon as they saw the teepee in the field, that's all they wanted to do. Maybe their interest in it will decline over time and I can get them interested in the garden.