Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Before I begin my usual garden banter, I'm curious about something... how many people read this? So if any readers could do me a favor, I promise it won't take too long, and leave a comment. I don't care what you say and you don't have to identify yourself, I'm just wondering how large my "sphere of influence" is.
On Friday Cindy and I did head out to our scheduled community garden visits. Alas, I have no pictures, as it was, oddly enough, raining all day! I'm told that weather is unusual for August... I didn't mind though. It reminded me of rainy summer days in Minnesota, and I always enjoy a good thunderstorm.
The first garden was part of the Emmett Valley Friendship Coalition. The garden is 1 and 3/4 acres in size and is full of vegetable goodness. As we were walking through, I tried some cherry tomatoes, which were amazing, and I was given some corn and a squash! I am always excited about free food, especially fresh vegetables! I'm hoping to sautee the squash with some rice for dinner tonight, and maybe have some corn on the cob as well. The man in charge of the garden, whose official title is Biomass Coordinator, is Morris Huffman. He told us in depth about installing irrigation, harvesting, and their very interesting system of planting corn. Instead of planting it all at exactly the same time, they plant each row about a week apart. This means that instead of harvesting everything at once in a mad frenzy, they harvest each row about a week apart, as it matures. There are so many techniques... no matter how many garden books you read or workshops you attend, most wisdom comes from doing and adapting to your circumstances. Each garden is different. This one was particularly beautiful and large. I could almost feel the celebration of the plants with the rainfall.
The second garden was in Garden City, and it is called the Boise Vineyard. We met with Larry Parry, who I spoke to over the phone, and Bill Meeker, the resident Master Gardener. Even though he has Parkinson's, Bill Meeker is still out there gardening madly away, and he was obviously so excited to show it to us. This garden was, again, very large and beautiful. I tried some sort of strange, exotic berry. I can't remember what it's called but it was very bitter. I was pleased that I could recognize most of the plants from my farm days, though my memory is a little hazy at times. They also gave us very good news; there are apparently people calling them all the time offering land to donate! So we told them to send them our way. Those are just the kind of people we are looking for.
After that enlightening experience, I was so inspired I spent 5 hours digging up part of my yard on Sunday (with permission, of course). It isn't finished yet... I haven't done that sort of manual labor in a while and I'm pretty sore today, but I know what lies ahead. As far as I'm concerned, growing your own food is the ultimate do-it-yourself project, and a huge step towards self-sufficiency. I can't wait to pick something, walk 10 feet to my kitchen, prepare it, and eat it. That's assuming that I don't destroy the soil and kill everything by next growing season...

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