Tag Archives: community garden

Plot 6 in 2019

We have had SUCH a weird, cold, and rainy spring! Our poor garden plot was pretty neglected until last week when we took advantage of a warm, sunny day to finally plant some seeds and our baby tomatoes. I wish I had taken a picture of our plot before we cleared it off. Because of our late fall trip to Japan last year, we missed the end of the gardening season and then it started snowing shortly after we got home. Our plot didn’t get cleaned for the winter, so I had to tear out dead tomato plants and dried herbs this spring. And we had a giant hemlock plant growing in the center of the plot. Thankfully, I was able to remove it, roots and all, so hopefully more hemlock doesn’t reappear this summer. What a nightmare!  This is what our plot looked like the other day…we’ve had some rain since, so hopefully some of the seeds are sprouting! We planted seeds for edamame, Welsh onions, thyme, basil, bush basil, chamomile, dill, and nasturtiums. And we transplanted four tomato plants (Brandywine, Black Krim, Mortgage Lifter, and some Japanese-but-really-Russian? tomato that Naoto picked out) and our rosemary plant from the seed swap. The walking onions, garlic, and parsley all came back from last year. We still need to stake the rest of the tomatoes, and put up some markers so we don’t accidentally pull some of our seedlings. I have a little map of where everything went, though with all of the rain we’ve had, I’m sure a lot of the seeds travelled! I do regret not planting the tomatoes closer to the center of the plot, but hopefully we can keep the jungle tame enough…

How is your gardening going?

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Seed Swap 2019

A few weeks ago, Naoto and I attended the 9th annual Forest Park Community Garden Seed Swap! We’ve been going for quite a few years, both as gardeners and volunteers. It’s the perfect spring kick-off and a chance to meet other gardeners and start thinking about our plots for the summer. For the second year in a row, Empowering Gardens did a presentation for us, this time about soil and seed starting. They brought rosemary seedlings for everyone to take…mine is currently wilting in my kitchen. Please send it your thoughts and prayers. Other than our rosemary, we picked up a lot of herb seeds (thyme, parsley, basil, and shiso,) some more edamame, and arugula. And I picked up some pretty poppy seeds that I’m going to attempt to plant in the communal area at the community garden. Of course on top of all those herbs and edamame, we’ll be planting our usual tomato jungle…it’s inevitable.

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Plot #6: Gardening Begins!

plot #6, forest park community garden, pre-preparationNaoto and I went to the garden for the first time this season on Sunday. We were pleased to find very few weeds in our plot! The soil preparation has gotten so much easier each year. (Here is what it looked like when we inherited the plot.) plot #6, forest park community garden,weedingBecause it rained on Saturday, weeding was super-easy. (And no, Naoto did not do it alone. I jumped in after this picture was taken!) plot #6, forest park community garden, mulchingAfter loosening the soil (not turning it!), we laid down another layer of fresh mulch and called it a day. I was planning to plant some daikon, beets, and bok choi but the water at the garden wasn’t turned on yet, so I suppose planting will have to wait a little longer.

How is your garden growing?

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Garden Update: Things Are Growing

DSC_0021Naoto and I spent some time at the garden on Saturday afternoon and again last night. We are both amazed at how much the plants grow within such a short few days. Here are a few shots of our garden, complete with my homemade plant markers:

DSC_0017 DSC_0016 DSC_0015 DSC_0013 DSC_0011 DSC_0009 DSC_0007And, in the most exciting news of all, our Juliet tomato already has a blossom!!

IMG_2329It’s so weird to me because the Juliet was the last tomato we planted (just last weekend with my dad).

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And, now that the vining plants are growing (except for the loofah…the loofah is doing nothing), we have to come up with a plan for handling the vines. We’ve seen some good ideas in other garden plots, so we just need to buy our materials and build something simple.


And, in our first gardening challenge, our limas are being eaten by…something…a rabbit? A bug? Who knows. But the whole crop is not looking good. I still have hope that maybe one or two plants will produce some good ol’ lima beans…

One thing that’s been fun and helpful for me so far this gardening season is participating in #SeedChat (with @SeedChat & others) on Twitter. It happens on Wednesday nights at 8pm CST and it’s a great way to “meet” other gardeners and ask questions (if you’re a newbie like me) or offer advice (if you’re an experienced green thumb). If you’re into gardening, check it out!





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Getting Started…


I headed over to the garden plot this afternoon to tackle the weed situation in our plot. As you can tell from above, things were pretty weedy…but our plot wasn’t the worst one, so that made me feel a little bit better as I kneeled down and started pulling. Most of the weeds came out relatively easily, but several of them were really rooted. I have callouses on my hands from all the tugging. I kept thinking, as I was bending over, the drivers sitting at the light on Harlem must see me like one of those “old lady butts” that used to be popular garden decorations. (Do you remember those? No? Maybe it was a regional thing? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s an example of one.)

IMG_2003I found this tiny, soft carrot during the weed pulling.


IMG_2007After weeding, I started hauling mulch to our plot. The community garden had a huge mulch delivery that we are all welcome to use. I hauled five buckets to our plot, which was dirty work, thanks to a mulch avalanche onto my feet and the fact that I was doing everything with my tiny garden spade instead of a proper shovel.

IMG_2009After two hours of weeding and hauling, I had this to enjoy:

IMG_2010There is a plant in the corner (garlic maybe?) that I didn’t weed out. I’m not sure what it is and I know I don’t want to keep it, but it’s so big that I think I’ll need a shovel to get it out (instead of my tiny gardening spade). Naoto and I will be back at the garden this weekend to take care of the mystery plant. We’ll plant our seeds and tomato and pepper plants then, too. I am really excited! I’m looking forward to more afternoons of dirty feet and dirty hands this summer!


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