Saturday, October 30, 2010

The unexpected gifts

I visit my community garden plot at least three times a week, usually in the morning before I start my day. As I open the gate and trod down the sandy path to my plot, I find myself slipping in to garden-mode, where I review my inner to-do list while I admire the quiet in the air and the smell of coffee from the shop across the street.

I'm curious about what new things I may find in my plot. Invariably, I need to check all the newly planted micro-spots while I mentally check off where I see new weeds, the false garlic or even the errant blackberry cane.

Then I collate my to-do list with whatever needs to be down now, today, asap, and off I go. Watering is usually the last item, especially if I've planted seeds or replanted something. Weeding is the first item on most days. Mucking around in the compost bin is somewhere on the list.

I find myself going into a zone most times than not, with minutes flying by quietly.

Aside from the obvious harvests from my garden, I find the gifts from my garden to be a place where I can zone into another space, calm and quiet.

What unexpected gifts do you get from your garden?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Santa Monica Main Street Community Gardens Highlighted

The LA Times shines a spotlight on Santa Monica's Main Street Community Gardens on their blog. Well-done, as I think the reporter's feel for the gardens is authentic and true to the spirit of the place. 
Main Street welcomes the public to see the results as long as a community gardener is working inside. Tourists stroll through regularly, taking a break from window shopping. And despite the remaining fences, gardeners have grown to support one another in tough financial times, in sickness, in ways that go beyond watering a neighbor’s plot during a heat wave.

"One thing I’ve learned," McCorry said, "is that gardening makes you generous."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Did the name change?

Well, yes. I did change the title of this blog.

And why? I didn't quite like the narcissistic feel of the first title. Though "How Does My Garden Grow?" certainly reflects what goes on in my mind when I visit my garden plot or when I blog, I was never quite comfortable with it. Longish, bulky. It was a start, especially since I think it really is difficult to come up with a good title for a blog. Really.

I'm going with the current title for now. It's simple, it works, it's different.

Why do you compost?

Assuming you do compost, why do you compost?  Do you wish to avoid filling up landfills? Is it to have control over what goes in your garden? Does it connect with your frugal self? Do you like having worms for pets? Do you crave worm tea for your garden?

I was thinking about this as I dropped more wilted veggies into my little compost pile. I have stacked two 15 gallon pots, with something at the bottom to catch any compost drippings. For that, I use my trusty baster, stolen from the kitchen. Have no fear, know I'll get a new one for turkey day.  The earthworms are slowly migrating from the bottom pail to the top one, now filled with fresh coffee grounds, mushroom bits, broccoli peelings, egg shells, and carrot fronds.  Lovely stuff, not smelly at all. 

I'm getting quite attached to my worms; I think of them as my new pets.  It's a neat little ecosystem, ending with more compost for my garden. More control over what goes into my garden is appealing, as is the sense I'm putting less stuff into the landfills.

Composting is it's own quiet metaphor, the process of taking leftovers, unused bits of pieces normally ending up in the trash, and becoming food, home and sustenance of another process. 

I'm not sure what is the most salient reason why I compost. So many ideas and desires all in one.  It makes me wonder why others compost.
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Successful Santa Monica garden sharing

Glad to see the Los Angeles Times blogging about Santa Monica's efforts to increase garden sharing, a mutal program setting up homeowners who are willing to open up their garden to someone who is interested in gardening.  This is critical especially since community garden spots are becoming rarer than hail in Santa Monica. I know this well since I was on the community garden list for a plot for over 10 years.
Ellu Nasser, a farmer's daughter from Oregon, moved here five years ago and has been on a waiting list to get into Santa Monica's Main Street Community Garden since then. About a year ago, she signed up for the Santa Monica Garden Share program instead, which matches willing homeowner with landless gardener -- an arrangement that has worked well in Britain, where the idea originated, and in the Pacific Northwest
You can get more information directly about Santa Monica's program on garden sharing.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Cheers to my hardy volunteers

If I didn't sow any seeds, I know I would have a large mountain of volunteer nasturtiums and pumpkin plants, sure to overtake the other plots around me. By the way, know this is not a way to become popular and well-liked in a community garden.

In the center my plot would sprout a humongous tower of nasturtiums, flowers waving gaily at everyone. On the sides would be the volunteer pumpkins.

Here are two that grew over this summer, despite the wet and cold weather we endured that we euphemistically called 'summer'.
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Saturday, October 2, 2010

A spotlight on Southern California community gardening

Woohoo! The LA Times will be covering the community gardening scene in Southern California, devoting a weekly column on their newsite and paper. Here is the first piece.
More than 70 community gardens dot Los Angeles County alone, some dating back more than 30 years. Even the L.A. Community Garden Council isn’t sure about the total because some gardens are growing under the radar.

In the months to come, I’ll be blogging here on Southern California’s community gardens -- the people, the plantings, the gardening conundrums, the expert solutions. Bookmark L.A. at Home and look for my new posts every Wednesday as I bounce from community to community, meeting gardeners such as Milli Macen-Moore at the Milagro Allegro community garden in the northeast L.A. neighborhood of Highland Park.
If you are interested in the community garden scene, please be sure to check it out.
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