priming the plot

I just got back from an evening session of watering the newly planted vegetables and herbs at the garden plot.  Nighttime watering is relaxing, but it is definitely a one-way conversation with your plants, since you can’t see what is happening!  We are so excited about this year’s gardening plans.  Still going strong in plot 13 at Ellis Elementary School’s community garden, we planted 12 tomato plants there this spring, along with serrano peppers, spaghetti squash, carrots, radishes, basil, cilantro, acorn squash, Swiss chard, and fairytale eggplant.  All are organic, heirloom varieties from one of our favorite garden stores in Denver, Paulino Gardens.

Freshly planted veggies and herbs, nestled neatly in rows…this was about two weeks ago.

This garden plot receives sunshine all day long, so tomatoes are begging to be planted here.  I have high hopes for their success.  It has definitely been a rather rocky start to this year’s gardening season, with May’s snowstorms and hail sessions.  There was also a malfunction in the school’s sprinkler and water system, and the water was completely turned off in the garden for about a week.  Each morning, I would fill up three large Home Depot buckets with water, load them into my car, and haul them to the garden plot.  Granted, the plot is less than four miles away, but the commute proved cumbersome, and the potholes I encountered spilled about a gallon’s worth of water onto my car seats one morning.  I was definitely reminded to slow down, plan ahead, and take deep breaths this past week {insert sigh…}.

The plants on June 3rd – quadrupled in size in two weeks!

Our dear friend, Vanessa, is gardening with us at Ellis this year.  She lives in a town home that lacks sun exposure, and she had been on a community gardening waiting list for a while.  This is her first time {ever} gardening, so it has been very beneficial to review gardening basics with her, as we all embark on this journey together.  We ventured out to Paulino, packed the car full of plants, and helped each other fill the plots with compost, till the soil, and plant the seedlings and starters.  It was a modern-day “barn raising” party.  We initiated her into our tradition of purchasing plants at Paulino and heading over to Udi’s for the most amazing sandwiches.  They taste so delicious, after a serious session of shopping.

The garden a little over a month ago, in dire need of tilling and weeding.

The community herb garden. One gardener is assigned to this area, and we all partake in the bounty.

One of three shopping carts, full of plants for the garden plot and the home garden.

The Escape (pronounced, es-CAH-pay, by the way) full of our finds.

We are barely able to contain our excitement! We had all had our fair share of coffee for the day…

Denver Urban Gardens supplies a heaping mound of compost, donated by the city for use at the garden. The city collects compostable items throughout the year and cures it to be used by the city’s residents. Awesome.

The community flower garden and arbor.

Phlox and late-blooming orange tulips, both perennials that reappear each spring.

Vanessa’s gardening area. I really don’t think she knows what she is in for this summer. She purchased whatever her heart desired, and she packed her plot full of it.

Random onion patches fill the gardening area.

Our freshly watered plot baking in the sun. This will look completely different in about a month!

We planted about two dozen marigolds around the plants to deter pests and insects.

Steve was stuck with weeding and tilling this year! Thank you…

A newly added gardening area along the fence line. We planted peppers and cilantro here.

Enjoying the last bits of iris season.

Getting my watering on!

Jayme Henderson

I am a sommelier-turned-farmer, who recently moved to Colorado's Western Slope to become a full-time grower of grapes and maker of wine. My husband, Steve, and I own and live on a vineyard, where we craft high-elevation white wine and rosé under our label, The Storm Cellar. I enjoy freelance writing and photography, and I am currently the cocktail columnist for Colorado's Spoke+Blossom magazine. I love playing with our two cats, gardening, mixing drinks, finding (and sipping!) great sparkling wine, cooking, playing the piano, and hiking.

June 10, 2013

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3 Comments

  1. Reply

    danielburns271

    June 8, 2013

    This is very inspiring for communities which don’t have their own garden.

    • Reply

      jayme marie

      June 8, 2013

      So true, Daniel! I am optimistic that more and more cities will adopt this form of gardening/farming – for and by the community.

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