Thursday, May 26, 2011

More Gardening!

I have great news to share! Greg and I will be able to do more gardening than we had expected, because now we have more space in which to grow things! We recently learned that the Community Garden has a limit of two plots per household. Not one, but two! As long as you have the time and desire to garden a second plot, and you wait for your fair turn on the waiting list, you can have a second plot. Oh, happy day!

So far, all we've done is pull some weeds from the second plot. It will still require a little bit of preparation before we can plant things. Then we've got to decide what to plant! We spent months planning our first gardening plot, but now this one has landed in our laps right amidst the growing season. Should we grow more of the same crops that we've planted? Should we pick out some new crops? Too many decisions!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

First Harvest

Sunday was an exciting day. We arrived home from a fun weekend away, then decided we should check on our garden. Things are looking really good and I'm happy to announce that we actually picked a small handful of leaf lettuce. It was only half an ounce, and it's gone already, but it was a wonderful beginning to what I hope will be a productive growing season!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Why I Garden

As I've probably mentioned, my husband and I live in a third story condo without an inch of soil to call our own. Knowing that, growing a garden doesn't seem like the most logical thing to do. So why the heck are we doing it?

First off, how are we doing it? Well, the Parks and Recreation department of our city has a Community Gardening program. After a short time on the waiting list, we were assigned an 8-foot by 12-foot plot. The garden is about a 15 minute drive from the suburbs, so we make a trip downtown several times a week to tend to our little patch of growing space.

But why? There's plenty of food at the grocery store, right? Of course there is. There is no shortage of produce. It doesn't matter if it's completely out of season or if it's some tropical crop that could never grow in Iowa. There it sits in the produce case, just waiting for us to take it to our kitchen.

If you start examining the stickers on that produce, you'll see that there are some rather well-traveled fruits and veggies out there. Did you know that Chile is over 5,000 miles away from here? Compared to that, driving to a garden downtown doesn't seem so troublesome.

Nothing against Chile, but we've got great soil right here in Iowa! It's capable of producing so much more than grass and commodity crops. So I'm happy that we are able to take 96 square feet of space that used to be covered with grass and turn it into beans, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, spinach, and so much more fresh, local food for our own kitchen.

I can't say that we never purchase produce from the grocery store. But armed with a tiny garden of our own, a great local farmer's market, a pressure canner, and a chest freezer, maybe we'll be able to change that sometime soon.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What I've been up to...

Wow, time has really flown by since my last post! Let's see what I've been doing.

Work: Too much. We were already short staffed, and then another person quit. Fortunately we'll have a new intern start in a couple of weeks. Until then, I'll be just trying to keep my head above water.

School: My class this semester hasn't been terribly demanding. In fact, the class that I'm taking is down right easy. This is a wonderful thing considering my crazy work schedule. I'm taking the final exam this week, then starting a summer class in early June.

PE Exam: Getting ready to reapply for the October exam date. Then I'll start the stressing out and studying all over again.

Knitting: Mostly socks. Don't really have the attention span for larger projects at the moment. I had some big plans for the state fair, but I'm not sure how much I'll actually get done.

Gardening: We have planted several cool weather crops already. The garden is filling up with tiny radishes, spinach, kale, chard, peas, onions, carrots, and lettuce. Loving the opportunity to go get my hands dirty for non-construction related reasons.

Vermicomposting: My worms are doing exactly what worms are supposed to do. They've been eating, pooping, and making more worms. I've just started filling up my next tier with food scraps and allowing the lower tier to finish decomposing. The worms should start slowly migrating to the upper tier and leave the finished compost behind. These guys have been thankfully low maintenance.

Geocaching: Greg and I have been getting outside to collect a few geocaches a couple of times a week. We're really having fun and getting some exercise at the same time! We're even doing some biking again.

So, as you can see, there hasn't been much time for blogging. Oh well, you all understand, right? ;)