dirt under fingernails

Before I get to the main portion of the post, let me just say this: I’ve been working on a semester-long project. The last portion was a video explaining our project, a recycling program. One group member spent literally days nonstop editing this thing. (Not me, obviously.) She is a champion. Check out what we were up to. I promise we weren’t drinking while we did the experiments…

Yesterday was the end-of-year reception for all the students who have jobs similar to mine–nonprofit- or public-sector jobs at agencies who partner with the school to provide funding. At the end of the reception, we were invited to take the potted plant centerpieces. Normally I pass. This time, I took a small rose to put in our front window.

This family is trying to grow things.

So, a week later than planned–which was lucky, since temperatures recently dropped to 30 degrees–we headed out to the garden. We rented a plot about a mile from our home, one of twenty in a portion of a city park where they’ve developed the soil & set organic standards.

We were racing the rain, so I didn’t stop for pictures. We did take time to clean up much of the plot–peeling back the layers of mulch and leaves that protected the soil over winter, pulling out last year’s turnips and dandelions, cutting and gather lettuce that had somehow sprung back up. An entire salad. Free!

On the edge of our plot was a large plant, too established to be a basic weed with leaves to small the be strawberries. Parsley? Cilantro?

Cilantro!

A garden worker came in when we were heading out, and we checked to make sure that the giant weed was actually an herb that will make salsa-makingmuch easier. Saladand cilantro surprise!

So far, we’ve put out:

  • four jalapeño plants, a gift from a friend;
  • three tomatoes, including an heirloom cherokee purple, sun sugar cherry tomatoes and early girl (another gift from a friend and, randomly enough, a French hybrid);
  • rosemary, peppermint (admittedly for juleps & mojitos) and thyme; and
  • nasturtium (to provide edible flowers & keep the pests away).

The rest of our plot will be dedicated to squash, pumpkins and eggplant. Now, fingers crossed we don’t kill everything.

We’re looking forward to practicing different types of food preservation, taking our compost out to the enormous shared composting pile and learning from the more experienced gardeners that share the space.

After planting, we took a walk around the garden to see what other gardeners were up to. Row after row of peas filled one plot. Another had a small greenhouse filled with what seemed to be wheat. Across the park was an assortment of lettuces & greens. I started to get nervous for our fragile tomatoes & herbs. Are they out too soon? All my gardening calendars (come on, you can’t be surprised I have multiple) say we’re past the last frost. Are the roots established enough? Will they make it until we get little cages to put around them?

I’m trying not to get my hopes up. Joe & I are expecting at least half of what we have not to make it. This is our learning year. But a jar of salsa would feel like a pretty solid accomplishment…

If you have any tips, we’d love to hear them! We’ll be putting pumpkin & squash seeds out this weekend, nestling them under a bed of straw in case this odd Indiana weather snaps back to winter again.

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About meganbetz

human geography PhD Student at Indiana University; wife, reader, writer, baker, gardener
This entry was posted in being conscious, being married and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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