Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My "other" garden

So, this year I had access to part of a garden down the block from my house. 

Although I was late getting it in (while waiting for approval to use it), weeds took over while we went away on vacation, and it was tougher to keep up with it because it wasn't under my nose the way my own yard is, there were some successes with this plot.  For one thing, I had no bugs or pests at all the way I did at my own house. 

I grew corn!  The cobs were small, but every corn stalk produced one cob.  Other than watering it, the corn was super low maintenance, very tasty and we fed between 5 and 7 people from it five times and froze two meals.  Not spectacular maybe, but more than I've ever managed.  And eating corn half an hour after picking it is just the best.  Of all the veggies I grow, corn is the most effected by freshness.  As soon as you pick it, the sugars in the corn change and it's really quite noticable. 

The potatoes were crappy, but I was warned in advance that potatoes were grown there in the past and were very scabby.  I had a few seed potatoes given to me though, so I threw them in anyway.  They weren't all that scabby, but there were very few of them.  I think that a neighbourhood kid raided them once too, leaving a few potatoes laying on top of the soil. 

The leeks were planted really, really late.  An afterthought, really, but they weren't bad either.  Again, really low maintenance.  We ate a meal of peas as well. 

The star of the show were the rows of carrots.  I'm absolutely terrible at thinning carrots.  I think the weeds worked in my favour here. 

We couldn't really see the carrots among the weeds after our holiday, so the girls and I just pulled a lot until we could see what we were doing.  Once the row emerged, we hoed between the rows and kept hand-pulling the weeds within. 

It worked.  I harvested quite a few meals and they were larger than the carrots in my own garden. 

I didn't mean to make this an inventory of my freezer, but it does help me to remember what worked and what didn't.  I'll read this post again next year and know how that plot produced. 

The renter in the house is a lady with plans and ambition but less follow through than a garden requires.  That meant she planted a lot but weeded only once, had an awesome strawberry patch but never once picked them, planted tomatoes but again never picked any of them, and had some awesome cabbages, but just when they were at their peak and should have been picked, she allowed the slugs to totally eat them. 

And she never cut her small patch of lawn. 

I personally didn't care during the summer what she did with her area of the garden.  It was a pity that her stuff all was wasted, but it didn't effect my own area. 

But then the neighbour told me that she was recommending that the home owner get rid of the garden and plant grass.  She had picked the strawberries a few times and mowed the lawn every time it bothered her.  She figured it would be easier for the renter to mow than maintain a garden. 

But grass?  The rented doesn't cut grass as it is.  I gave the neighbour a meal of carrots and asked her to reconsider.  I can't see how there is anything to be gained by planting an unused lawn.  It won't be cut again, and just create more work.  I selflessly volunteered to garden the plot again (you caught that, right?) and I sure hope they don't plant grass.   With permission to garden there again, I can properly plan what to plant and make sure I start enough seed and get it all in a few weeks earlier.  We'll see what happens next spring.  I really liked the extra produce and the actually even liked the long farm-like rows. 

I think I'll write the renter a little note of thanks and slip it in her mailbox tomorrow and hope for the best.

No comments: