After our first week at the community garden, it was all about water rotation. We wanted to make sure our seeds and new plantings took root, so we decided to water the plot twice a day. This meant e-mailing or texting each other when our water duty was complete, so the other person could determine the best time to head out again to keep things moist.
As for me, I had a pretty sweet setup. I found an old bungee cord lying around the house, so I tied two watering cans around my waist and headed out to the garden on my bike. Once my work was completed, I made sure I passed by Michael’s German Bakery on Broadview for a sweet reward before heading home.
Each day I rode to the garden, it was slowly taking shape. Lots of people were laying down weed barrier and shoveling mulch pathways. The wooden boxes in the children’s garden were looking all neat and pretty, and folks talked about the hundreds of new visitors who came by during the recent Pedal for Prizes event.
The starter plants were a welcome sign. As part of the yearly garden fee, folks were treated to a starter eggplant, pepper, tomato, cabbage and collard green. As I look around, I wonder what each of the gardeners were doing to get a good-sized crop this year. One garden had a reflective heat cover. Others had straw and manure strewn across their plots. Each plot would be unique, even for the late-comers whose barren soil beckoned.
At our pre-season kickoff meeting three weeks prior, we also got a chance to choose from a wide variety of seed packets. There, we were introduced to the 20 or so newbie gardeners (like me) who were willing to give gardening a try. Almost three dozen families had been coming to the garden several years at a time. One family had been coming to the garden for 23 years. Another guy could only remember that he first arrived in “1970-something.”
I was happy that I was moved off the waiting list to newbie status. I also met my co-gardener at the pre-meeting. There, I learned that I would be splitting my 20×25-foot plot with Terry, a Brooklyn city resident who grew up in Cleveland. He attended Ben Franklin School back in the day and remembers working in the garden back in the 1950s. With Tom and Darlene also in the mix, I knew I was going to learn a thing or two.
In our first seven days, we only had one brief rain shower on Wednesday night. Right now, everyone is a little worried about a lack of rain, but the fact it’s pouring out is a good thing. For now, I cannot worry about “what ifs.” I only want to envision the picture-perfect fresh garden salad I have in my head, complete with cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, carrots and onions.