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May 25, 2012 / missjandme

Gardening 101

Gardening 101.

That’s what most of the last 3 weeks have been for me.

Miss J and I started some tomato and cucumber seedlings in our kitchen, and I naively thought we’d just pop them into our small flowerbeds at home. It quickly became apparent that we didn’t have anything near the space we’d need. Since we live in military rental housing, we don’t have the option to dig new beds, so I started looking at options. There are community gardens at the Library/Civic Centre, but it’s just over a kilometer away, and I really couldn’t see myself dragging a cranky kid there and back daily. I finally discovered that there are also community garden beds at the local community centre, which is substantially closer. After visiting a few offices for applications, etc. we became the proud owners (well, borrowers, I suppose) of plot #12 in the South Side Community Gardens. Best of all, it’s even free this year!

The garden is planted and ready now. I managed to escape without blisters (probably thanks to the fact that my shovels are very old – they were J’s grandfather’s – and worn smooth, so no rough edges to hurt me) but I did get a little sunburn, my favourite was the backs of my knees from the bottom of my shorts to about mid-calf. I did all the digging and seeding by hand. I learned a LOT and I’m about to make some notes for my future self:

  • rent a rototiller! Digging rows in a 15×30 plot by hand was crazy.
  • bring spare clothes or plastic sheeting for Miss J’s car seat. We drove over to the garden with tools one day, and she fell in a mud puddle and got soaked/filthy. Funny as hell, but we were very lucky she’d left a hoodie in the van that I could have her sit on to go home.
  • seed tapes! I saw a blog post about making these yourself, which I of course can’t find. Instructions here, though.
  • don’t dig separate spot for multiple rows of the same veg (I dug three tiny little rows for carrots when I could have planted them all on one larger row.)

We’ve also planted some perennials at home, as the community garden is tilled each year and so they can’t be grown there. I sacrificed a full flowerbed for strawberries (Miss J’s fave!) and we have a planter box of thyme, oregano and chives. I also planted a planter box of Calendula, for the beauty of the flowers and also their medicinal value. I just picked up some rosemary seeds, and I have a planter I can use for those.

All in all, I’m feeling very satisfied with this accomplishment. The hardest work is done, and all we have left to do is Water, Weed and Wait for our harvest!

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