The Garden that Ate the Community Garden

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It’s been more than a few weeks since I’ve written about my garden. I’ve had to pack the kids for camp. I was away visiting family and friends in New York City.  There are several writing deadlines I must complete before the end of next week. And the family is in a bit of transition. More on that in a later post.

But, at the beginning of the summer, I said I would post about my garden, and I’ve got to get back on track.

Since early May I have been tending a 10 x 10 foot plot in my town’s community garden. I have been watering diligently

through this very dry summer.

When I was away,  I left my garden in the care of some  friends who have a plot  adjacent to mine. They have a garden that is not only well cared for but is sealed like a fortress against any critters that may want to feast on their crops.

After a week of being away, I was tempted to drive out to the garden the night we arrived home. But there were kids and suitcases to unpack and get into the house. The garden would have to wait.

No one can tell me that there isn’t a time difference between New York City and Rochester.

Maybe its just the pace of time that moves faster “downstate” because when we returned from our week away in good ‘ol NYC, I was exhausted and slept until after 8 that morning.

I tried to push some energy into my voice when the phone rang and woke me at 8:15.

It was my gardening friend.

“Have you been over to the garden? I didn’t wake you?  Did I?”

No, of course you didn’t wake me, I said, faking a wide awake tone into my voice. But, considering I just got home at nine the night before, and my garden would not be visible in the darkness.

I thought, is she mad? I’m still in downstate jet lag…why don’t Rochesterians get that there exists jetlag when returning from New York City? And you don’t even need to fly to get it!

“Well, you should get over there soon. Your garden is becoming known as the Garden that Ate the Community Garden!”

Indeed. In just one week’s time, my garden had exploded.

Now, compare my community garden at its humble beginnings back in May:

My garden when it was no more than a patch of weeds.

I cleared it and planted tiny seeds:

And now:

Sunflowers have grown taller than my tallest child.

Both the sunflowers – and the children

- have some still to grow:

Pumpkin vines are creeping everywhere. I’ve actually received gentle reminders from my garden neighbors to please retrain my vines back into my garden plot and out of the common garden paths.

And, unlike a sun deprived pumpkin vine, not only am I getting blossoms that have been host to a number of pollen-intoxicated bees, but I actually have 5-10 pumpkins taking shape. I’ll need to make a lot of pumpkin pie this fall.

Not to mention a lot of tomato sauce:

The full sun of the garden has produced such strong leaves on my tomato plants, it looks like they’ve been going to the gym.

There have been some failures, of course every garden has them. My eggplant plants were eaten first by beetles and then strangled and overgrown by the invasive pumpkin vines.

The basil seeds I sprinkled never made it in this dry summer without a good daily watering.

But so far, this experiment in community gardening is paying off. Harvested my first crop of purple beans for dinner last night:

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About stacylynngittleman

I have been a public relations professional and reporter -- and always thought I would live in the New York Metro area - before my husband took a job in Rochester, New York. Most in Metro New York can't find Rochester on a map,and neither could I before we moved. I am now a columnist and a freelance writer for Rochester's only daily newspaper, the Democrat & Chronicle. I also am passionate about gardening, fitness and most of all, Jewish education and Israel Advocacy. Here's my perspective on Western New York living - the good, the bad, and the snowy.

One response to “The Garden that Ate the Community Garden”

  1. ilefkowitz says :

    I am so envious of your garden. Ours was pretty much eaten by the deer this year. Jeff has been trying all manner of natural approaches to deterring them but I think we are going to have to fence it in next year. Not usually a problem but our garden is in our front yard. It won’t look super pretty but if I get more than one cucumber out of it, it will be worth it.

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