I realize, very belatedly, that I forgot to mention something in my last post! On Saturday, I helped to glean beans for the Foodbank. While slaving away under the sun (and being reminded of long, warm farm days), I happened to be picking in the row next to... dun dun dun... the reporter from the Idaho Statesman who contacted me about a month ago! So we had a brief, in-the-field interview (seemed appropriate), and a photographer came and took some pictures of me in the dirt. It was so funny, I just happened to be in the right spot at the right time! So I will be in the newspaper (eventually... I haven't seen it yet. Once I do I will link it from here) for two things: gleaning and community gardens! Apparently. We'll see how that works out. There was another man picking beans next to me, and he was 73 years old. I was pretty impressed.
As mentioned last time, I met with my potluck acquaintance on Wednesday and we discussed gardens for around two hours, after I was served fresh pumpkin pie (not a bad way to spend the evening!). He is building a passive solar, earth-sheltered greenhouse. Right now it's just a huge hole in the yard (10x12 feet wide, 3 feet and 6 feet deep in different places). I would attempt to explain it here but it would take a long time... but essentially he's using air convection (cold air sinks into the 6-foot-deep part, warms up, rises into the 3-foot-deep part), black barrels full of water for heat (heated by the sun), dirt piled on three sides (earth sheltered), glass, and salvaged materials. He also had a solar food dehydrator with tomatoes drying in it. On top of that, he had a few fruit trees, rounded raised beds in the permaculture style that were easier to water, an herb spiral, and of course the garden itself. We discussed more than I can possibly write here, but I will be putting this information together for the garden pamphlet of sorts.
Today I met with Shana Moore, who coordinates the Jordan Street Garden in Boise. This garden is located about a block away from a refugee apartment complex, and each family that put in some effort at the beginning of the season has their own plot. This garden has only been around since mid-May, but it was very impressive!! It obviously serves as a community meeting place as well as a food-gathering place, because there were tables, chairs, etc. It seems obvious, but the fact that this garden is so close to that apartment complex has definitely helped it to thrive. When the garden is practically at your back door, it's very easy to walk to it and weed or water something! And not only that, but there is a good chance you will meet someone that you know.
I think it's amazing how so many of these gardens I have seen, practically all of them, are in their first season. This just shows the appropriate timing of my job and the appropriate timing of my work. There is much to do...