All summer, I’ve been tending a plot at the community garden at the apartments across the road from me. Unfortunately, those buildings came under new management this summer. Just this morning I learned that all plots need to be cleared by this Thursday, and rumor has it that won’t be a garden next year at all.
I want to say this makes me sad, but it goes well beyond sad. Growing food is a wonderful thing, and something that I’d recommend to anyone. It’s a powerful way to help assure food security and to teach a useful skill. This particular garden was wonderful for helping to create community, especially among a group of people who were refugees from all parts of the world. It saddens and distresses me deeply to see productive gardens being relegated to the status of “eyesore”, an attitude that I still seem to run into all too frequently these days.
But, distress aside for the moment, we’ve had some good food from that garden and today we went over and brought more bags of it home. Lettuce, peppers, kale, peppers, radishes, beans, peppers, and a few baby zucchini. I’m thrilled with the amount, and trying to figure what I can make with this sudden bounty that’s come home somewhat ahead of schedule. I suspect there will be a lot of salad and soup in our future.
I’m also planning ways to avoid waste. This is more food than we can eat before it goes bad, and I have no desire to waste anything, let alone food that we’ve tended over the course of a season. I’m hoping for some red pepper jelly and dried beans for later use. I’ve also started drying the radish and carrot tops, the kale, and the chives. It turns out that the wire shelf I was planning to get rid of makes a passable drying rack. I’ll need to move things around a bit more – I didn’t plan to have quite so much to deal with at once – but with any luck this will work well for now.
It’s not an enormous amount – my eventual goal is to grow as much of our yearly vegetable needs as I can, and this is a far cry – but it feels incredible to have grown and harvested this much this year. I’ve loved growing it, eating it, and preserving it, and I’m hoping for the opportunity to do this again next year. I’m in touch with the city about garden plots, and have my fingers crossed that something will open up. And in the meantime, I have my many containers outside, which have produced a surprising amount of food this year. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and I now seem to have will in spades.