Sunday, May 15, 2016

How Does Your Garden Grow?

A few weeks ago I won the lottery and the prize was some prime real estate.

I entered my name in my city's free lottery to win one of around 80 community garden plots. My name was drawn and I have been given a 4'×8' plot to call my own from May until October.

It seemed like a good idea at the time but the task is rather daunting. I have not had good luck with plants in the past. I actually managed to kill an aloe plant. But I want my children to have the opportunity to watch things grow, learn to care for the garden and enjoy eating the fruits (er, veggies) of their labour.

I still remember the first time I was given my own small corner of the garden. I was probably around four years old and I planted radishes. I didn't like radishes, but I was persuaded to plant them as they would be easy and relatively quick to grow.  From that point on whenever someone asked me "Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow," I would reply, "With radishes." I thought my children should likewise have their own corners in the garden.

Last week we were assigned our plot. The children were excited to discover that there is a playground right beside our plot. They had fun playing while I signed the waivers.

A few days later we returned to begin working on our garden. We had just begun pulling weeds when we were joined by two more children, who remembered my kids from playing together on the previous visit. They wanted to help too. Before I knew it, all of the children were leaving the playground to come and pull weeds with us. Eventually parents wandered over too to talk about the gardens, the neighbourhood and the kids.  Many hands made light work.  And by the time the last of our little helpers left we were ready to plant.

I divided the garden into squares and let the children plant the seeds: onions, beets, peas, lettuce, and carrots.  And while we planted and mucked about in the dirt, I thought this is the real prize. If you ask me now, "Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow," I'll reply, "with new friends and community, childhood memories, a dandelion for the bees, but no radishes."