Before and after! Here are photos I took of my new community garden plot that I began working on in early August. In the “before” photo you see what it was like when I first saw it, full of weeds and grass. I knew it would take a lot of work, but then I began to see the amazing potential it had. The first step was the hardest; pulling and digging up all the weeds and grass with the help of my dad, leaving the artichoke, the only edible plant on the plot. After all the weeding was done I began to see the plot as a blank canvas just waiting to be transformed.
I then thought of a documentary I saw called “Back to Eden,” which taught me sustainable organic growing methods that are capable of being implemented in diverse climates around the world. Before I returned to my plot I watched the documentary again and I felt much more confident knowing how to plan and take action. I made a map of where the paths and beds would be. We contacted a gardening service, which brought organic soil and wood mulch from a local company in their truck. I helped unload it onto my plot. I decided to put a layer of dried leaves over the dirt, and over that a layer of organic soil that I mixed with chicken manure and worm castings. I then added on the top a layer of wood mulch, which helps retain moisture in the soil, gives nutrients, keeps weeds down, etc. When the beds were in place my dad and I created paths by digging trenches and lining them with newspaper. Next we brought in thick wood chips which we scattered on the newspaper. And this is when the fun really began!
My mom and I started thinking of all the fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers we would plant. I then bought organic and heirloom seeds and young plants. I began by planting in the large beds rows of basil, spinach, beets, onion, mixed greens, lettuce, borage (which bees love), swiss chard, lacinato and curly kale. In the two smaller beds my mom and I planted broccoli, lettuce, peas, radish, onion, and more herbs such as basil, dill, oregano, tarragon, thyme, and sage. A few weeks after planting I took the “after” photo and was surprised how fast everything came up from the soil, thanks to the “Back to Eden” garden method. I am amazed and so very happy every time I visit my plot and see how everything is growing more and more each day. I also enjoy taking home bags of fresh-picked greens and herbs for a large and delicious salad every night. I hope my experiences will inspire you to grow some of your own food and live more abundantly!