Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day 1: Boone St. Garden

*click on the photos to enlarge*

Last Saturday - 3/19/11 - was our first day breaking ground at the Boone St. garden!

Special thanks to our friend Lowell Larsson, a member of the Greater Greenmount Community Association, who took many wonderful photos at the event and has been a huge source of support for the garden in general. You can check out all of his photos and write-up about the day on the community's website here.

Sandra Coles is President of the Greater Greenmount Neighborhood Association, and she has also been so supportive (in the photo above she's the one gesturing on the left).

Cheryl and I originally planned to spend the day tilling, but we weren't able to rent the powered tiller from Dale in time. Luckily there were plenty of other things to do!

The day earlier on Friday, I drove up to Harford County to fill up the truck with two year old compost from a dairy farm. It was a beautiful drive, and I got to have ice cream at Broom's Bloom Dairy. I got apple pie flavored and a quart of vanilla peanut butter cup to take home. Mmmm.

Sadly, we're going to need about twenty pickup loads of compost to fully cover the amount of land at Boone St. Thanks to Lowell we have a company willing to drive a dump truck for us. Now we're working on a source for a dump truck load worth of compost.

We couldn't till, but we have enough compost to cover one 100 ft row in about an inch. As you can see in the photo above, we measured out the row location with string. Burlap bags donated from a coffee bean roaster will kill the grass and make walkways.

Once the row (singular, but at least it's 100 ft long!) was marked out, I still wanted to break ground and get seeds in. So we made a semi-circular bed around the base of one large tree. A pickax makes a perfectly good tiller in small doses!

I made three small sections in this perennial bed, and chose plants that are usable, hardy, will easily spread out to cover more ground each year. Sorrel is planted in one third, Mountain Mint is on the other side, and I went for an interesting but not so well-known flower in the middle with Foxglove.

As I was pickaxing the perennial bed, Cheryl held a seedling workshop, which we had been announcing at the Greater Greenmount Community Association meetings for the past two or three months. Everyone was really excited (especially at the thought of the cucumbers, watermelons, tomatoes, and canteloupe to come!)

We met a lot of neighbors, made plans for the future like playing music and bringing snacks, and are going to try to meet up every Saturday!

A lot of trash was cleared out of the lot as well, with more to go. And the new truck came in handy yet again for hauling all those bags of trash to the dump!

City Council President Bernard 'Jack' Young even stopped to visit!

We ended the day by getting rid of the last of the rabbit compost. We layered it with cardboard and old leaves to make a future bed for perennials in the community garden.

And a nice addition to a garden day that went as well as I could have hoped: we found out last week that we got our Parks and People grant!

Now we can afford things like lumber and hardware for raised beds, large amounts of compost, hoses, etc.

Hurdles to come include finding a source of compost that can get us enough to fill a dump truck, building raised beds for the community garden, and hooking up the water supply. I think ideally those things should be done by mid-May, so we do have about a month and a half. It's big, but doable!

My goal is to keep a diary of the garden so we have a record to look back on for next year.

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