Garden Party Potluck 2013

1, Garden Party '13.jpg

(secret garden II, mid july.)

These photos show our one Secret Garden Party Potluck of summer 2013. In 2012, we held potlucks every two weeks around the garden, but our gardening circumstances changed dramatically in that year, making the frequency impossible- but one was good enough, and we hope to return to doing more in 2014. 



In 2012, we turned an unused large plot of land, which was an extension of my back yard, into a large scale kitchen garden. For reference, the visual story of that garden can be seen here. The following fall, ground was broken and two cheaply made kit-houses were plopped out of thin air on the lot. Now, the south facing windows in the house look out not on the garden, but on a taupe wall and let in a reflection of the light rather than having it cascade through the living room as it once did. Determined to not give up the practice I'd begun of daily garden tending and cooking directly a lot of my own food, I knew that the only thing to do was to attempt bouncing back. 

In short, two other gardens were dug in 2013. The first, in the remainder of the backyard belonging to my house. We cut down a dwarf tree that shaded one area too severely, took apart the one raised bed that was there, and cut four long beds in that space, and a 5th closer to the house. This work was done mostly in the spring, and produce grown there was featured in 'Secret Salad Bar' and 'Spain/Turkey Relations.' 

In late spring, we reached an agreement with our neighbors across the street, Ted and Suzette, who rent a house with an amazing side yard that once held a magical homesteading utopia garden, long gone fallow. They agreed to let me and assorted friends come work on the yard and grow food there again, in exchange for getting some of the work they wanted done around the place completed & getting to consume some of the produce themselves. 

We started our second garden in one of two fenced-in plot spaces. We had 6 beds in the ground, and on a corner spot where a giant blackberry root tore through an 8x8 square of land, we dug around it, burned it to its core, and then built a raised bed on top of it, which gave us two more beds, making it 8 in total.

Working so late in the season, we could only do summer crops, but we grew incomprehensible masses of tomatoes, quite a lot of basil, three varieties of eggplant, two massive summer squash plants, potatoes, some hot peppers, some tomatillos, and four varieties of bush beans. This garden space had long established raspberry canes, which we nursed back to health, as well as super productive cherry trees. Hop vines, apples, a giant kiwi bush and a cardoon plant round out the picture. We also uncovered a long established hill of rhubarb, which was lying sickly under the overgrowth, but flourished healthily during all our work around it. 

There is another fenced-in plot space, identical in size, which we will complete the trilogy, when dug/grown on in 2014. In order to clear the first space, we had to pull out masses of brush and overgrowth, then move it on top of the pile of brush on this second plot. Over the summer, we kept the whole mess covered and breaking down. Then, in September, after gardening successfully on the first half, we cleared the second.

Garlic and cover crops were planted where the summer garden was, and we are spending the winter dreaming up our plan of action for all three spaces.