“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” – Rachel Carson
I love my community, I must say we’re pretty awesome. Case in point, the Community Gardening “Party” we had two Sunday’s ago where members of our community came out and help weed the untended plots in one of our local community gardens. It was a beautification project of sorts: The community gardeners had gotten in over there heads with weeds (quite literally as some of the burdocks were easily 6 feet I’m sure!) and sent out an SOS which was circulated by active members of our community – Thank you Diane Bennett and Clarie McDonald! – and ASH our community association. So Sunday afternoon we arrived prepared to get our hands dirty cleaning up and tending to the gardens in Strathcona.
I love tangled gardens – the jungle of weeds vegetables and flowers captivate my mind. At fist glance you might think they’re all competing for the same resources, but look closer and you’ll realize they’re actually not competing but collaborating. You see weeds often they grow in areas where the soil is too poor to support other plants. Their deep tap roots reach down to the subsoil and bring up moisture and nutrients to the top soil. These nutrients are released when the weed reaches the end of it’s life cycle and are then made available to other plants with more shallow roots. For example, burdock means your soil is deficient in nitrogen where as dandelions tell you you’re missing calcium. It’s like a deconstructed puzzle, all the information you need to put it together is there but you have to have patience and take the time to look for the necessary clues to properly reconstruct it.
The garden was also full of animal life. I did my best to save the countless snails from being smushed by under the feet of busy gardeners but after thirty I decided it was every snail for themselves. I marveled at the pollinators paying their due diligence to the flowers and was even lucky enough to cross paths with a few toads which I encouraged to find an new resting spot out of the commotion. All of us coexisted in the garden as we untangled the overgrown patches revealing soil that will house the crops of next years avid gardeners.
When I left the community garden I thought it only proper to pay a visit to my own garden and give it some TLC. The tomatoes are starting to develop, and the vines of the squash, cucumber and eggplant are really taking off! A few of the peas have started to shoot up as well but best of all, the kale that almost fell victim a munchy resident Sandy Hill squirrel has made a comeback and it’s leaves were the most tasty nutrient dense kale I have ever tasted!
All this gardening left me famished. Luckily I could come home to my CSA and prepare a wonderfully delicious meal. I made a salad incorporating a mix of ingredients from my CSA, my windowsill herb garden, my shared garden with France and a little taste of the county with some wine from Harwood’s vineyard.