Friday, May 22, 2009

Kindergarten Beans and Killer Potatoes

Every spring, for the 16 or so I've lived here, I start imagining the garden I might have come summer. My flower and herb gardens are finally getting in pretty good shape – perennials well-established, a few trees (including some fruit trees) are beginning to put on height, etc., but the vegetable gardens have always been less than stellar. People can and do grow food some here, but it's a tough go in Tough City. Even after a warm day, it is cool — often cold — in the evenings. It's a rare evening we can sit outside without fleece jackets and blankets. A greenhouse helps (so would a full-time, coddling gardener) as does an early start. I've managed two out of three this year (no sign of the coddling gardener). I've got some greens growing in the neighbour's greenhouse, peas and broad (fava) beans started in the garden and sprouts of arugula, carrots, kale, lettuce, and beets are starting to pop up. There are three cookie sheets full of seedlings in peat pots waiting for it to warm up enough to set out. Perhaps next week.

A few years ago, I was looking at the sunny, south-facing slope at the back of our elementary school (yes, there's only one) and I thought it would make a fine place for a terraced vegetable garden. I brought it up to the people running our community school program and they ran with it. Now they have this lovely small garden, named by the kids, too:

The timing is a bit of a challenge for the school because things really get growing once school is out in the summer. Still, there are enough kids around and programs going on then to care for "the crops." Regardless, clearly the kids are having fun. It's always a bit of a miracle to see what can pop out of a tiny seed.

And here is what the older kids are growing:

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