Friday, May 13, 2011

Fenton Friday: Measuring and Mulching

bare un-measured plot
I'm starting a new garden and a new blog feature. Every Friday I'll be giving you an update on my community garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden just across the street from my house. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space -- not so big to be overwhelming, but big enough for me to get some decent growing space. As with many maturing gardens, most of my initial full-sun space at my own place has been taken over, which has left me scant room to plant any edibles and, dang it!, I wanted to grow some Sugar Baby watermelons again. I also want space to try out plants and to compare/contract my results with that of my Washington Gardener Magazine readers.

All mulched up

After months of watching the county parks' crews bulldoze the space, removing layers of concrete, gravel, and compacted soil then adding several cubic tons of soil, this week we finally got to move in. The parks people (Hi, Ursula and David!) provided the garden plot with a surrounding deer fence, a cistern, and piles of free mulch. We gardeners were like horses at the starting gate, just bursting with pent up energy. The first evening we measured and re-measured to make sure we had our garden plot areas staked properly. Then I went home and wheeled my handy-hauler across Rt 410 to the garden so I could move mulch in. (Yes, it was quite amusing to the passing college student to watch me run across the lanes of traffic with shovel and big plastic wheelbarrow in tow -- har, har.) I set up a shredded bark mulch border/walking path around the whole plot, then ran a walking path down the middle. That left me with two long, growing beds about 3.5 ft x 9 ft each. I covered those with leaf mulch (good stuff!). I'm determined NOT to spend the summer fighting weeds in the sweltering heat.

Cobrahead plant marker

The next day I came back with potato slips. I put in 4 rows of 3 plants each: two rows are Banana Fingerling and two rows are German Butterball. I marked the rows with fancy plant markers from the good folks at Cobrahead. The markers are made from tough recycled plastic with corn cob filler and I think look really snazzy. My penmanship could use a little work though...

Yesterday, I went over to the plot and at the entrance I did a row of dwarf Marigold seeds and put in a couple of potted Calendulas to mark the row. I'm going to hold off on the rest of my potted vegetable seedlings waiting in my driveway until the garden's cistern is filled and there is an onsite water source for these thirsty plants.

I have already found one big problem with community gardening -- at least for me. I cannot resist socializing (see my 1st-6th grade report cards as proof). Already, I have spent WAY too much time greeting and chatting with fellow plot gardeners. Some of whom I have known a while (Hi, Beth!) and others whom I'm just meeting. When I went over yesterday and no one else was at the garden, I immediately felt like, "Oh darn, I'll come back later." But then, was like, "Where is that coming from? I'm supposed to be here to get something actually done!" I'm going to have to keep a tight reign on myself and am bringing a kitchen timer with me for my plot gardening sessions to keep me on task.

 I hope you will check in weekly for my Fenton Friday updates and will also let me know how YOUR edibles are doing this year. I want to hear it all -- the good, the bad, and the ugly. Want are you planting in your vegetable beds?


Anne >^..^ said...

Grow a row for me!

Erica Smith said...

Congratulations on your new plot, Kathy, and I'm glad you can commute there so easily (if dangerously). Looking forward to the updates.