Cedarbrae Community Garden July 2015

I’ve gone and done it again – I’ve completely neglected my community garden plot. I pretty much predicted I would do this, but there was some small bit of hope that maybe things would be different this year. With the neglect aside, the garden has been doing really well.

Cedarbrae Community Garden

The good thing is that this year has been fairly good in terms of weather. It has been mostly warm and rainfalls have been pretty frequent. So the gardens have been generally happy. I actually hadn’t realized how well the community garden was doing because it had been a couple of weeks since I’d seen it. I walked over one evening and discovered that I already had a few zucchini that were on the verge of being too large for my liking, the kale and swiss chard were exploding, and the bush beans had a million flowers (some plants even had tiny beans!).

Cedarbrae Community Garden

I really need to keep on top of this garden now. Luckily it is virtually weedless, so I don’t need to do much to it in the way of weeding. But I do need to water it occasionally, and most importantly, I need to be harvesting from it frequently.

Cedarbrae Community Garden

I’ve been thinking a lot about that gardening space lately and whether or not I want to continue growing there after this season. On the one hand, it is very convenient because it is pretty much within seeing distance from my front door. And it also gives me extra growing space that I don’t have in my own back yard. But on the other hand, I do have to pay a fee to use it (and unfortunately the fees went up quite a bit this year), and I’m not convinced that my yields are offsetting the cost of the plot, also factoring in the cost I put in initially for the seeds (although fairly minimal, I do need to take it in to consideration). The other thing I’ve been waffling with is whether or not it is fair for me to have a plot at a community garden when I have the space in my own yard to grow vegetables. There is a wait list every year for the community garden, and I get priority since I’ve rented in past years, but it might be time for me to let someone else, who may not have access to another growing space, to garden there. Alternatively, I have been wanting to convert some of the space in my front yard to food gardens, so if I do that I would have the equivalent to or more space than the community plot. As well, I’ve recently been considering something like a yard-share which would give me access to growing space in a residential backyard in exchange for some of the crops. I can’t believe I’m already planning for the next growing season!

Do you grow in a community garden? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Is it your only growing space? I’d also love to know if you find it to be cheaper than buying fresh produce, factoring in the cost of the plot fees.

Cedarbrae Community Garden, 2015

For another year, I’ve decided to rent a plot at our local community garden. I wrote about growing there last year, but I didn’t mention it too much after that until the Fall. I like having a garden there, it gives me a lot more growing space for vegetables, and it is also nice to get out in to the neighborhood. My hope is that I’ll be a bit more diligent about documenting the progress with this garden, but then again, I’m famous for neglecting my community garden plot, so who knows. I do have the best intentions though!

Cedarbrae Community Garden

There are a few things I need to keep in mind when planning this garden. The first is that whatever I’m growing needs to be somewhat low maintenance, so if I’m being neglectful (out of sight, out of mind) or if we end up going out of town for a few days, this garden will be pretty self-sufficient. The other thing that I need to keep in mind is that it is a garden out in the open, with no signage, and pretty minimal monitoring, and things could get stolen or damaged. I’ve been pretty lucky with my plot as it is kind of plunked in the middle of the garden and the worst thing that has happened has been a few pulled out and abandoned carrots, but I have witnessed other nearby plots almost completely wiped out (darn hooligans!), so I always keep this thought tucked away when I plan this garden.

Beans

Clearly I need to do a little bit of weeding, but I prefer to wait until everything has come up – some beans are still breaking through the soil right now, so the weeding will have to wait another week.

I decided to continue with the tradition of keeping it simple, and planted kale, bush beans, cow peas, fava beans, and a couple of zucchini plants that wouldn’t fit in at home. But, I also decided to throw in a few marigolds and zinnias that I started from seed indoors. Most of the gardeners here grow flowers alongside their vegetables, and I’m always admiring it – plus, I do this is my garden at home, so I went ahead and did the same thing here.

Baby Kale

Baby kales. And yes, I was overcrowd my plants, but they don’t seem to mind in my climate.

I also want to mention that everything I grow in this space I’ve started by seed – most (with the exception of the flowers and squash), were sown directly in to the plot about the last week of May. Mainly, I do this because I don’t want to spend a lot of additional money on this garden. With having to pay plot fees, and with the chance of things getting stolen or vandalized, the thought of spending more money on this garden is just not very practical for me. My garden at home is an entirely different story though!

That’s about all that’s going on in the community garden right now. I’m hoping the next update will be in a month or so when everything has had a bit more time to flourish.