Gifts under the Tree in September?
Yes, if it's a pecan tree in the Garland Community garden.
When Charlie and I went down to water the garden yesterday, what to our wondering eyes under one of the large pecan trees should appear was not a sleigh with eight tiny reindeer but two lovely wire mesh chairs, a matching table and a vintage wooden box--left by whom we don't know, but that doesn't stop us from saying thank you. THANK YOU.
The Vintage Wooden Box Found a Use
It is now home to four Collard Green plants. The bottom of the box is very thin wood that was also cracked in places, unsuitable for carrying things so we made it into a planter and placed in in our Children’s Garden area.
Thinking about the Garland Community Garden and Garland People: “Keep the Garland Community Garden Weird”
Charlie and I had to test the chairs and yes, we can attest to their ability to bear weight and comfort. As we sat there, surrounded by the garden all around us, I thought about how our garden should borrow from an Austin moniker and pronounce: “Keep the Garland Community Garden Weird.” As far as community gardens go, our garden is weird. We have few requirements for our beds except that we recommend they are accessible to the gardener from all sides and that from at least one side you can reach to the middle of the bed without stepping into the bed. People can put wood around their beds or not. You can even have pots for your garden plot if you like. Our mission is to encourage people to grow some of the food they eat.
In addition to our general lack of uniformity, our garden is open to visitors (with same hours as our Garland Parks) and many people visit our garden to walk around and also just to sit under the shade of a pecan tree. One man I know comes there at least once a week to eat his lunch. It is very comforting to be around trees that are older than you are. Most community gardens have strict bed requirements and no shade. Many of them are gated and access is only allowed to members. Our garden has no fences (except the small ones to keep rabbits out). Yes, we want to keep our Garland Community Garden weird and inviting--a place where people can come to and remember who they really, a place with soul for connecting with real life and growing things.
I am now a modified version of Elmer Fudd and Mr. McGregor
In addition to watering yesterday, I was also beginning my first battle in 7 years with critters in the garden. I came armed with 25 feet of chicken wire. some 3 ft rebar and tie-wraps along with Broccoli and Collard Green plants. [I don’t go in for the violent solutions of Fudd and McGregor.] The broccoli patch is now secure with 20 broccoli plants.
I don’t mind sharing with rabbits, but like some people, they don’t know when to stop. Two weeks ago, I planted 12 broccoli transplants. They left 4 plants. The other eight plants are nothing but a stem. Raccoons are much more reasonable. A few years ago, I planted a lot of corn that yielded 50 ears. Raccoons got 10 of them.
Seed from Seeds ‘n Such finally arrived!
You may recall a few weeks ago I planted two metal beds with seeds I had gotten from Johnny’s Seeds. (The beds were also a gift left by another unknown community Santa Claus). They are now seedlings that are almost ready for thinning. Yesterday the other seeds arrived. I’ll plant them today to finish the crop planting for these two beds. The Komatsuna (Japanese Mustard Spinach) is of particular interest to me. Mustard grows really well in North Texas, but it has very strong taste so a little of it goes a long way. Komatsuna Mustard Spinach supposed to taste like Spinach with a zest of mustard. If this is true and if it grows as well as mustard does in North Texas, it will be great.
Speaking of seeds, at our fall festival for gardeners last Sunday, Pam Swendig, Executive Director of Good Samaritan of Garland, stopped by with a large box of seed packets. I’ll be finding a good home for some of them in the Garden as I’m sure the folks will who attended our event. Thank you Pam! We appreciate all that you and the Good Sam volunteers do for the homeless in our community. If you have time on your hands, join the volunteers at the Good Samaritans of Garland and tell that I sent you.