Sunday, 30 August 2015

The Garden Is Dead, Long Live The Garden

posted on 8/30/2015 by the Salt City Sinner 

The last two times that I wrote about gardening, the tone was uncharacteristically less “playful whimsy” than “agonized demon howl.”

This is with good reason. The cockroach-hearted fauxhemian Whole Foods crowd at Wasatch Community Gardens, you see, did a terrible thing to me and many other people – they decided that agreements are for suckers and that what the world really needs is another blighted patch of asphalt rather than a large and vibrant community garden, and so they killed my garden (and the gardens of many others) dead, dead, dead.

Forgive my bitterness: there is something about loving a patch of actual soil, about nurturing life from tiny green shoots to a luxurious canopy of flowers and vegetables that brings out a protective streak in a human being, and also a ferocious loyalty. The destruction of Sugar House Community Garden did not, however, end my gardening career – heavens, no! Instead, I and a handful of former SHCG gardeners transported (with no small effort) four raised beds’ worth of soil to four new raised beds at Saint Mark’s Millcreek, an apartment community for low-income seniors and people with disabilities.

moving a garden, just like they moved Mrs. Brisby's house in "The Secret of NIMH"

The first year was fantastic: every week during harvest season we collected and distributed produce, and all season long the seniors and other residents at Saint Mark's could enjoy the beds, which are located right off the back patio outside the recreation room. This year, we were able to add two more beds, for a grand total of six, and the results have been fantastic.

We have grown approximately my weight in beans (I exaggerate… slightly). We have grown a few different varieties of tomato and pepper, and the results from both have been pleasing.

We have a designated herb bed, located in the partial shade provided by a nearby tree...

...and this year, instead of repeating last year's feat of growing a three-foot novelty squash that wound up named “Millie” (for “Mill Creek”), we are growing one gentlemanly pumpkin, currently unnamed.

This is a pretty average week’s harvest during the current peak garden production time:

Not too shabby! With the strategic deployment of hoop houses, we should be able to keep a minimum of one bed producing well into the winter months.

As you can see, Sugar House Community Garden, like a great many anarchist or quasi-anarchist projects, has turned out to be much harder to crush in actuality than in theory (or was it in theory rather than actuality?).