Plot Summary: The Community Garden Project, Chapter 1

My Plot Before; click through for "After"About ten days ago I received some great news—I had gotten off the waiting list for a community garden plot in Bouvier Garden (yes, like Marge), a humble little project on Bouvier Street, a small thoroughfare between 17th and 18th Streets in the Point Breeze/Newbold Neighbors area. The garden itself is on a stretch of street between Reed and Wharton.

This is just a short bike ride from my home in G-Ho, so I was pumped. This weekend, I finally had a chance to get started. When I first stopped by for some recon, I was happy to find a top-flight raised bed, leftover from last year's occupant. There is also a chicken wire trellis at one end of the plot—perfect for climbing beans. (I already got some from Happy Cat's Tim Mountz: Lancaster brown beans from his grandfather's collection.)

In terms of soil, I had a lot of space to fill, so I headed up to Greensgrow on Saturday to stock up. After considering my options—and having learned about the evils of peat from Organic Mechanics' Mark Highland in April's Grid—I settled on a mix of coconut fiber and compost. The coconut fiber is sold in 2X2 compacted blocks, but when rehydrated, it expands to the volume of a large wheelbarrow. It's like magic. I bought three and spent most of my afternoon lugging water to activate them. I then mixed the coconut fiber with several bags of mushroom compost.

When I arrived at my plot, soil ingredients and herbs (also bought at Greensgrow) in tow, I had some weeding to do.

After a day of sweating in the sun, I had made some serious progress—though I might still need a bit more soil before I plant my tomatoes and other vegetables. I also plan to segregate my mint seedling in a pot—right now its been exiled to the far corner—as it has a tendency to crush and destroy all other plants in its path.

Check back for more on my progress—including the baby tomatoes that are going in this week. I have four varieties, handpicked by Mountz himself.