Monday, July 26, 2010

The other garden

The garden about which I write here is an organic vegetable garden but another garden at Hope House has lately gotten a lot of attention.  Our meditation garden was installed last year during a cold sleety rain by a wonderful man, a Master Gardener, named Bill Adams.  Bill was a great bear of a man and worked hard breaking up our solid clay soil.  He found someone to donate the plants for the garden and brought some himself.  He provided the brains and the brawn for our meditation garden.  Tragically, he was killed as he worked in his own garden by a driver who hopped the curb and struck him. We will always remember him for his great laugh, wise ways and generous spirit. So the garden he helped plant is special to us.

We discovered that our meditation garden had a drainage problem, due in large part to the clay soil.  So that required some effort. And we did put in a drain but not before we lost several of the plants to wet feet. But enter our second hero, Megan Fechter, a local high school student who decided to take our flagging garden on as a Girl Scout project.  She raised the needed funds by cutting grass for neighbors and then rallied friends and family to help with the work.  Here's the result.  I thought it worth a mention.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot!

The garden has taken a back seat to grant writing this week. Ironically, the grant that was taking me away from the garden today is one that, if we get it, will help pay for the garden next year. I did go out to take what I call a "sanity break" and checked on the plants.  I have never grown tomatoes that have taken so long to ripen!  But it's been so hot, unrelentingly hot.  The whole garden looked like it was stooped over with the effort to survive the heat.  (Well, maybe not the watermelon plant.  It looked pretty happy.)

I tied up one drooping plant and asked the residents to water deeply tonight.  I'll check in again in the morning.  

Thursday, July 1, 2010

One of the clear successes in the garden has been the herbs.  I love to watch the expression on a person's face as the stevia leaf in her mouth suddenly becomes sugar-sweet.  The eyes widen in complete surprise. The dill complements our pickling cukes and the basil seems to be popular with everyone.  Chicken and tarragon are a natural pairing and we have plenty.  We're having a big celebration tomorrow for the Fourth and I expect the herb garden will get a good workout. 

Yesterday I received my kid's healing herb garden kit from Mountain Rose Herbs. (This is a terrific resource for all things herbal.) This contains some lesser known herbs such as calenudula (great for the skin) and lemon balm (makes a soothing tea). I'd like to get the older kids in on this garden as the first one I did with the little ones in the Theraputic Childcare Center.  I'm planning on having a regular garden party in the next few weeks to harvest our sweet potatoes and other veggies and make room for what can be planted mid-summer.  Also, I want to create a new bed or two to get ready for the fall planting.  If I don't come up with some collards this year the women might mutiny!

Brian Gandy of Garden City Organics did a great job on our greenhouse shed.  I plan to prime the inside and the trim this weekend and then get a work crew together here to paint it.  I'll add vinyl tiles to the floor, sand the work bench inside and put up some tool racks.  I want to add a rod from which we can hang planters inside and a few hooks on the outside for the same purpose.  I love this shed!