Thursday, 2 May 2013

GARDENING -- Can You Dig It?

posted on 5/2/2013 by the Salt City Sinner

in one of my very favorite photographs of all time, L. Ron Hubbard interrogates a tomato

As spring finally and gloriously breaks over Salt Lake City like a trash sack full of champagne flutes, it is time to return to the comforting bosom of the rich loam! To return and, alas, to say goodbye to my current raised garden bed.

Salt Lake City, you see, is  installing  a streetcar line in the Sugar House area. In addition to closing 11th East (the main foot-and-car-traffic thoroughfare) for a few years, which has  led to protests  from local merchants, the construction will be leveling the community gardens where I have had a plot since early 2012. Our garden has formed a committee (that granola hippie solution of first and last resort) to determine where all of us poor gardeners will land next year. Until then, it's back to my home away from home for another season of growing delicious things to eat.

Right now, of course, the old gal ain't much to look at:

...but things are just getting started. For perspective, here's how the plot looked last year when it was going like those proverbial gangbusters:

Last year's  season  yielded way more carrots and basil than I could cope with, along with a hearty quantity of tomatoes, peppers, squash, eggplant and beautiful heirloom radishes that were crisp and white and spicy and looked like they had secret blood-colored flowers in their centers.

I learned some valuable lessons about growing onions and broccoli last year. First, I learned to harvest my onions a lot earlier than I did, and to space them more generously. Second, I learned not to grow broccoli, because it pisses me off and isn't worth the trouble (long story).

This year will be more of the same, with the addition of wormwood (which I'm fairly certain is legal to grow as long as I don't ferment and bottle it) and probably some alternate varieties of pepper. None of the peppers I grew last year except for the long, skinny red Thai ones were hot enough for my taste.

Some of my carrots decided to return to haunt my plot:

...along with this hardy fellow:

...but for the most part, I've got a blank slate to work with (which I like).

Of course, I will not be adding very many soil amendments this year, due to the fact that all my hard soil-oriented work will soon be crushed under a bulldozer, for Progress. It's hard to motivate yourself to do serious vermiculture or soil cultivation, beyond things that will make your plants happy in the short term, when your plot has an expiration date. Not that I'm bitter that Salt Lake is trashing a vibrant, joyful community garden for the sake of commercial development and more crappy strip malls or condos, oh no.

Here's hoping that the nice weather holds for a while, and that the many gods and goddesses of earthy fertility see fit to bless me with onions this year!

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