Sunday, June 26, 2011

Why I'm so committed to this community garden



I used to own a house on Madison's East side. I owned it for about three years, where I dabbled in vegetable gardening, planting basil and tomatoes and starting a compost bin. 

And then I sold the house in October 2008.

All that work building beds and soil was left behind. In fact, the woman who bought my house marveled at the late-season basil and eggplant she harvest from the garden. In 2009-10 we put Jay's house up for sale, and we did minimal gardening, just enough to keep the yard presentable during showings.

Last summer, following 18 months, 76 showings and one offer that fell through, we took the house off the market. Then this spring I got the gardening bug. I rebuilt and enlarged the herb garden, made a raised bed along the garage and started seedlings in the basement. And we started to talk about selling the house again, and my enthusiasm to garden took a nose dive. And then I got an e-mail that changed everything, my employer announced the start of a community garden right where I worked.

Jay and I talked about getting one of the plots, I made plans, and we built a 10x10 raised garden bed (see previous post for a description and video).  Even though we are still thinking about selling the house, things will be different. This time, no matter when we sell, we will still be able to harvest from our five eggplant, six tomato, six pepper, eight brussel sprout and dozen leek plants. All of this work is ours to keep as long as I’m employed at American Family.

Which is how I explain to myself a recent and very urgent need to finish what Jay and I started. When we built the garden bed at the end of May, we reinforced the interior “keyhole” access with 2x6 oak planks my dad gave us, and let the soil slope down toward our neighbors on the edges.
The raised bed with reinforced walls on the interior, but soil sloping down toward the outside edges.
Last weekend my dad gave me four more 10-foot planks and this week before work, I measured, cut and installed the exterior reinforcing. The raised bed garden is done, I’m very happy with it, and no matter what happens to our house this summer, the veggies are coming with us.
The exterior is now reinforced with 2x6 oak planks, defining the 10x10 plot, keeping our fertile compost in the garden and keeping neighboring weeds out.