Friday, April 26, 2013

Grow Write Guild #3 Describe Your Garden Right Now

Grow Write Guild

This is my community garden plot as it is right now. My garden plot is located in the middle of over 80 plots 20' x 20' each. The pathways have been covered in new bark and new signs note the plot number, I'm #40. 

Just last week my plot was one of the few weedy, untilled plots with a clump of fava beans growing on one side. The fava beans were given to me last fall by a neighboring gardener. I planted them and saw them sprout, then forgot about them over the winter. Since they are covered in flowers I left them there, hoping to see a few beans. I'm still impressed that I can grow things from seed.

As of yesterday my portion of the plot was weeded, covered with two truck loads of compost, ready to be tilled. I share the plot with my friend, who I usually refer to as 'my garden partner.' 

Our plot ready for tilling

Other plots around me are all in various states. Some have plastic covering the ground, while others are tilled and planted. (Our typical last frost is around Mother's Day). Some sport a fine crop of dandelions. There are a lot of objects brought in by the gardeners, aside from trellises and stakes. While I want to limit what I carry in and carry out to a hose and shovel, there are all sorts of decor and contraptions. I can't figure out what some are for, I need to remember to watch later in the season.

As we wheel barrowed the compost down to my plot yesterday I was more aware of my experience there than the plot itself. It was warm and I was hot, having chosen pants over shorts, and unused to moving that much. The sky was blue and as always, there was a breeze. The surrounding fields had just been mowed and my new allergy medication was not doing it's job. But, I love being there.

The community garden is located at 78th St. Heritage Farm. It includes the County Extension Office and the WSU Master Gardener's Foundation. Clark County Food Bank has fields there and 4-H has garden space there too. The community garden was started by the County a few years ago, but last fall the WSU Master Gardener's Foundation took over. They managed to get occupants for all the plots this year, so that's already an improvement.

The site is historical (as historical as they get on the west coast). It was the location of the Poor Farm in the early 1900s. Some of my mom's friends remember it.  When I talk about the community garden to one woman, she will say, "Oh that's at the Poor Farm." There's some irony in the fact that I am learning to garden there. 


  1. So interesting - do you have any idea why it was called the Poor Farm?

    1. I had never heard of them until I read about the redevelopment of this site. Before Social Security and Medicare if you couldn't take care of yourself the County would send you to a Poor Farm. Literally a place where the poor were expected to farm in order to earn their keep.

  2. We just signed up for a community garden plot for the first time this year. I'm nervous to see what state it's in. When we visited last year, the plots looked exactly like you describe... in various states. I hope ours is manageable. :-)

    Here's my response to the writing prompt #3... My Gardens Right Now


  3. How wonderful to have a whole plot ready and composted and waiting for you! And what a legacy you've joined- if the poor hadn't been made to farm that land, it might have been developed and it wouldn't be available to everyone now. It's humbling to remember the hard work that came before us.

  4. Paula, you made a really good point. This site not only provides community gardening but many other programs that serve the community.

  5. Wow, I've never heard of such a thing. Sounds like a really cool place.