Saturday, May 22, 2010

Urban Gardener Weekend Update

I headed south on the weekend to visit my good friend Renee in Washington D.C. She's not only a fellow urban gardener, she's a certified landscaper who has plenty of useful gardening tips to offer. For example, she commented recently on this blog about the best way to plant tomato seedlings. She makes her own compost, knows a great mail order site for choice heirloom tomato seedlings and knows tricks to keep the plants healthy all season (taking the lower branches off tomato plants helps them to avoid soil born diseases, for one.)

Renee has not one, but two urban gardens. The first is right in her backyard, which she recently renovated - creating a beautiful urban oasis that will blossom all summer with flowers, fruit and vegetables. Just as she finished that project, she landed a spot in Friendship Gardens, a community garden with a long waiting list located near her home at Warren and 45th Streets in North West Washington. After exhaustively weeding and prepping the soil, she's planted her 15'x 15' plot, which costs just $10 a year to rent, with tomatoes, herbs, carrots, radishes, peas, lettuce, grapes and more. I'll have to return later this summer for the harvest!

The 50 or so Friendship gardeners share tools, tips and seedlings as they grow crops in an effort to feed their families healthy food or just enjoy the summer outdoors. I am a little jealous, I have to admit, of their camaraderie and ability to grow a greater variety of crops. But I am still looking forward to another summer working my own urban garden, and enjoying the recent additions to our crop list. Already the lettuce is looking strong. Our cucumber seedlings are having a tough time, but while we may lose a couple, I'm confident that the others will gain strength in the next week or so as they bask in the summer sun. As back up, we've put a few more seeds directly into the soil. By the end of the Memorial Day weekend our garden should be ready for prime time!

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