Yesterday was an amazing day at the garden! The weather was spectacular and we had ten people geared up to work. In addition to current stalwarts Els, Donna, Jonathan, Sam, Lauran, Blanca, Andrew, and myself, we were so happy to see Marcelo who has a few Saturdays off! Perfect timing! Darah, who discovered the Kitchen Garden a few weeks ago while walking her dog, joined us for the first time, and we anticipate another new volunteer in the future—Jenna, who walked by and was intrigued to learn what we were up to and if she could join in (of course!)
Sooooo, we accomplished so much and the entry area is truly transformed. First we made a brush pile outside the garden by the compost structure from all the detritus of branches, etc. on top of the dirt pile and removed all the weeds. We watered the cardboard we had put down a few weeks ago to start killing the grass and weeds and mark the site for some lasagna gardening. We started with a layer of compost that I had brought from home, topped with a deep layer of soil (basically, the entire dirt pile), covered with more compost that Judy had brought a few weeks back, and topped with chopped up leaves. Thus the layered "lasagna" bed.
It looked good, but we were worried that the sides would melt away in the rain since there was nothing to contain it. Els disappeared and soon reappeared toting a tree limb. She and Andrew headed off on another search, and soon we had a bordered bed! Els topped it all with the weathered burlap Dave had removed from the fence. Credit to Els for the idea and inspiration!
The unsightly dirt/brush pile is now gone and we have a new bed. And here's the new flat, clear area for our shed and whatever other purposes we come up with! Els already planted beans along the fence line next to Zion.
Beyond this monumental accomplishment, there was more:
• Marcelo, Andrew, and Blanca did major work on the compost. They moved the contents of the center bin into the left bin and sifted out a wheelbarrow full of ready compost.
• Marcelo and Jonathan set up the timer for the irrigation system and we ran it to make sure it was working.
• Marcelo committed to organizing the big bin (and we're excited that we'll have more storage room once we get the shed, so everything should be easier to find)
• Darah set to work getting the pollinator garden in order, joined by Donna.
• Kids in the garden: A new initiative! Last week Sam brought eight kids (ages 4-5, I think?) to the garden and he and Donna helped them get gardening. They were able to work on Sam's bed and each one got to take home an anise hyssop. It sounds like a great success, which will be repeated every week. We discussed ideas like having the kids taste and smell all the herbs, bring food scraps from home and learn about composting, apply our homemade compost to their plot this week, and plant a variety of vegetables (starting with lettuce) that they can observe, nurture, munch, take home, and/or give to the food pantry.
• Naturally, we did the usual weeding, harvesting (some kale, cilantro), and hanging out.
The mesclun mix is popping up, but so far we don't see any signs of the green or red lettuces we planted. Hopefully by next week, we will. The carrot tops are getting bigger and bushier but the carrots are still small.