|Sunflowers at 78th St. Heritage Farm|
I've added notes to the Community Garden 2013 tab (just click on the tab located at the top of the page). They include notes on each plant, mostly for my reference next year. I've also added the following text summarizing why this year is my last at the community garden. Almost two years ago I decided to give it a try and it has been a lot of fun and I've learned quite a bit through trial and error. I don't think I've ever eaten so many vegetables.
This year at the community garden I planted more and tried new veggies. The Master Gardeners took over the community garden from the County. There was a lot of confusion at the Orientation meetings, over the rototilling schedule, and available compost. Despite a new bulletin board constructed in spring, little info was provided and no form of communication with the gardeners was posted there. I later discovered that messages were left in the shed.
It was their first year and they made several physical improvements to the gardens. They did provide test plots and garden mentors, but unless you happened to meet that person, there's no way you would know about it. Despite all this, they showed more interest and involvement in the gardens than the County had. There's a lot of potential at Heritage Farm, but it may take a few years.
This year I realized that gardening in a community garden had a few drawbacks that impacted my crop. Both years in the same plot I had flea beetles, not a few, but an infestation. They tried to eat everything and when I sprayed the tomatoes and the potatoes they hopped on over to the beans and corn. I had never heard of them until last year and learned they are soil born, their larvae is in that dirt. I realized this year that no matter how much I sprayed or when I would always have to contend with them. Just not worth $60 for the plot and all those bottles of Organic spray.
Another drawback is that neighboring gardeners leave garbage, weeds that seed, and sometimes piles of discarded veggies in their plots. These plots are only separated by a 2' path. This is essentially at the edge of your own garden. Both years my plot was surrounded by untended, weedy plots. I've seen rodents 3 times this year and there are small piles of discard veggies all around. Then there's the concept of sharing water. We all have our own hoses, but 4 plots share a faucet. Every time I've been to the garden this year, I have had to move my neighbor's hose (sometimes in my plot and still attached to the faucet).
I felt the Master Gardeners could have done more to encourage everyone to follow the rules agreed to in our initial contract, which included pages about weeds, faucets and garbage. I eventually decided, that even without a yard, I would prefer to have more control over my veggies and the conditions they are grown in.