This week I have enjoyed the time I have been able to stay at home and get my backyard garden in shape. It is actually going rather slowly and I could use more help. I have been daydreaming of an Urban Kibbutz Farm or a House of Hospitality with an attached farm where a people live together and have a service project of growing food to give away and taking in seekers. I have been feeling overwhelmed trying to be a mobile gardener and growing food in different gardens, even though they are within blocks of each other. I have been wondering if I might be stretching myself too thin by getting involved in the Esperanza Sustainability Center (see last blog and sidebar for link) and managing the new greenhouse they are building. The funny thing is it seems once I start thinking about something these days things start to happen. I was thinking of how we need shelves for the greenhouse and on Saturday I accidentally ran into an estate sale where an 85 year old man used to live who was an avid gardener. The man running the sale said I could have whatever I wanted in the backyard for free, so not only did I get a lot of outdoor plant shelves from the deck, but a lot of large pots and other garden related things, including some greenhouse plastic (a step backward in some ways for getting my backyard in shape).
Anyway, I am still pondering all these wondrous things happening in the universe around me and trying to figure out how to simplify my life a bit so I don’t get burnt out.
I was told not to expect much produce from the farmer’s markets this week, but that turned out wrong (the table was filled with greens, artichokes, a few beets, and big purple cabbages that we needed to cut up). I harvested a lot of vegetables from our gardens thinking that would be all I had. The Secret Garden gave us over two pounds of baby lettuce mix and a bag of greens (mostly chard). I also harvested a lot of snap peas that the kids had planted.
While there on Saturday I noticed that the zucchini we planted on Tuesday had got totally eaten and were gone! But the potato towers have potatoes that are growing well and the newer ones haven’t sprouted yet. Treat Commons had snow peas and some greens, chard and tree collards and some kale. My backyard garden is more of a nursery these days and that is where a lot of my time has been going, trying to raise a lot of starts. I am just starting to get some things in the ground (I installed three potato towers) and planted some seedlings from Jonathan.
The SF Glean team scored again this week with Jonathan and Ashly picking 36lbs of meyer lemons from one tree in Noe Valley. Two other neighbors came by with lemons they picked from their trees. Someone else brought some nice oregano from their garden and Steve and Shelly brought some rosemary. Fresh herbs are so easy to grow and they often produce more than we can use, so it is a great thing to share. We really can get free from having to buy some store bought herbs like rosemary, oregano, thyme, etc.
I must admit that the Farm Stand gets a bit crazy busy at times with all the people showing up especially at the beginning. I am trying hard to make it a fun and mellow scene, which for the most part it is. We have a great crew of volunteers which helps, though we are still in need of some people to help run the garden advice and plant give away table. A lot of people are showing up not just for the produce, but to check out the garden and I love talking to people and answering their garden questions.
Alvin came by with a big bag of sprouting potatoes that he got cooking with Food Not Bombs. I am still excited about growing potatoes and am looking for a sidewalk garden to try growing potatoes on. When I was putting things away at the end of the day, I noticed someone had brought by some pretty baskets that we can use for the stand. I feel blessed that there is such good energy around and it feels like we can transform things if we try.
Here are some events coming up that are pretty inspiring. Next Friday April 10th at 4pm Common Vision (http://www.commonvision.org/ is going to be planting an apple/pear fence at 18th and Rhode Island Sts. There will be drumming and tree planting and tree planting education. Another event later in the month is the Bay Friendly Garden Tour happening Sunday April 26 in the east bay. I love visiting other gardens as a way to get ideas and get inspired and this self-guided tour is free (and there are some gardens selling interesting seedlings), but you have to register online by April 16. Go here to check it out and register http://stopwaste.org/home/index.asp?page=617 .