Gardening opens doors to new worlds

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Coexistence - Round 2

I just can't seem to remember the new killdeer nest and so am startled every time I walk by and the birds freak out.  Once my heart palpitations quiet enough so I can hear it, the little voice of guilt starts whispering because I've disturbed the little beasts once again.  But then I realize that they endured us once, maximized their fitness by hatching all 4 eggs, and came back for more; so, I guess we aren't such bad neighbors after all.  At least we don't eat them or any of their 4 dear eggs.  Marian and Katrina are the gracious hosts this time - who will be next???

A Sign from Above

Amazingly, yesterday was the first time I had gone to the Community Garden to just garden. I was alone and almost as soon as I started working the soil, it started raining. Since I had nothing else to do while I waited for my son, I kept on gardening in the rain. Soon the evening sun came out and I thought "rainbow" - indeed, there was a little fragment of rainbow to the East. The next time I looked up there was a glorious full rainbow! Pretty spectacular garden we have! I had to dance a little jig right there - I'm sure everyone on University Ave. was looking at the rainbow, rather than at me! The irony was that instead of a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, there were golden arches.

I planted 12 tomato plants in the UU plot-6 large red cherry tomatoes and 6 lollipop tomatoes. I think some tomatoes or peppers had been planted there before in the little peat things, but the plants were all gone. The long stems of the tomato plants are buried in trenches oriented toward the middle of the raised bed. I forgot to take basil, but will plant some soon.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Seed starting

My daughter is once again gearing up her business, Joyous's Plants, for the Midtown Farmer's Market. She's finding out that growing herbs (2 kinds of basil, summer savory, lemon balm, and parsley) is a lot more work than growing the red buckeyes she sold last year (there are about 4 of those left, too).

But everything is coming up well, and she has a great crop of moonvines to boot (below).

My tomato and pepper seedlings are also looking good despite some of the seeds being 10 years old! I just potted up many of the tomatoes and will have extras for the community harvest plots at the Community Garden. Now if I could just finish up my home garden fence and raised bed...

Firsts for the year

2010 Spring firsts for me:

sunburn: 3/24
ticks: 3/27
bat: 3/30
damselfly: 4/2
dragonfly: 4/6
ruby-throated hummingbird: 4/7 - hummers beat the red buckeye flowers this year, but coincided with the early coral honeysuckle blooms.
annoying black beetles that swarm our lights in spring: right now - argh!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Literary and aerial company

Yesterday, 3/29, Mary Hartwell arranged for Nan Chase, author of Eat Your Yard, to come out to visit the Community Garden. Nan was in town for a reading and book signing at Off Square Books. She was joined at the CG by Mary Hartwell, Lisa Howorth, Nita, myself, and the killdeer. The latter were not exactly welcoming, understandably, but they were impressive, and the rest of us had a great visit. It's so fun to take people out there now that stuff is actually growing! Nan gave us some suggestions for edible landscaping around the perimeter.

Today, 3/30, the bats have returned to our yard. Maybe they've been here awhile, I'm not sure. No sign of them using our bat house yet, though.

Coexistence in the garden

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) in the Community Garden.

As many of the Community Gardeners know, Trey and Amelia, are nurturing chard and a budding killdeer family in their garden plot. The egg count was up to 4 yesterday!

What an auspicious way to begin our first spring of gardening in community. Not only are we providing a safe space (hopefully) for these birds, but Trey and Amelia are showing all of the characteristics of wonderful community gardeners in recognizing and accepting that others have different needs and objectives than they do in this space. Way to go birds and people!

But beware, the Birds of N. America online says "In Mississippi, some pairs remain together and defend their territory year-round". It goes on to say that "In Mississippi, maximum of 6 clutches by a single pair recorded: first clutch laid in mid-Mar, last in late Jul ." There may be omelets from the Garden yet! (Kidding, just kidding!) Here's what they eat: "terrestrial invertebrates, especially earthworms, grasshoppers, beetles, and snails; infrequently small vertebrates and seeds." Sounds like they are good garden neighbors, all in all.

Killdeer are a type of plover and are widespread in N. America.