So I received a text from Neighbor J two days ago: Would you like to participate in a community garden? X says we can use his fenced area; it’s full of raised beds.
Every year since the truly heavy DIY work on the former Ye Olde Wreck (now Mo Saoirce Hermitage) was finished, I’ve been promising that this will be the year I build raised beds and plant a veggie garden.
Every year, the expense of the project plus the fact that I’m a really, truly, terribly awful black-thumbed gardener means I put on my guilt and put off the project. Why go to all that time, cost, and trouble to get a few dozen misshapen strawberries, one-inch tomatoes, and potatoes with brown empty spots in their centers?
Reader and friend FM has been encouraging me to build and plant those beds, supplying cost-saving information, and sending me pix of his budding crops. I’ve promised him that this year is really, truly, no-kidding, the year. But the truth is I’ve still been looking for reasons to procrastinate — and I have lots of them. Believe me. And I can find lots more. Just give me a minute to look around at all the other work needed on this place.
But there, just down the street, is a YUGE fenced area, nearly an acre big, that already has raised beds and isn’t being used. X, who owns five acres, was actively managing that garden with the help of his young girlfriend (and five dogs) until a couple years ago when he got injured and lost his oomph.
Brilliant Neighbor J asked and he offered.
J started contacting the Usual Suspects in her circle. I instantly told J yes, absolutely, I’m in. Whoohoo, let me at ’em!
The next day, we trekked over to X’s place for a closer look.
Oh my. It’s a wonderful opportunity, but I forgot what a mere two years of neglect will do in this fecund region.
It also turns out that there’s much more than that single fenced acre. There are three fenced garden areas, an empty chicken pen, an overgrown orchard of blueberry bushes, quite a few herb hedges, and several mature fruit trees — all ours to manage and harvest from as we wish.
The 85-year-old lady next door (whose house is closest to the big fenced garden) has offered to supply water in exchange for a share of the crop.
We haven’t worked out specifics with X as to what he wants in exchange for turning all this bounty (and hard work) over to us. But J already ordered a tiller from Home Depot and my next job is to walk over to X’s place with loppers and begin cutting out the blackberry starts that are crowding the blueberries bushes and taking over some terraced beds.
A post or two ago, I remarked that government overreach on the novel coronavirus
would probably hit rural economies harder and longer than urban economies. I had in mind the way the government-enforced panic is likely to put more of us on the dole and shutter more of our already-struggling businesses forever.
In a comment, Ellendra differed, pointing out that she’s hearing more people making plans for self-sufficiency. Gardens. Chickens. And more. She makes an encouraging point.
I think the reality will go both ways. Rural and small-town businesses and individuals will be harder hit than urbanites. They’ve already been being hit for years by economic policies and environmental legislation (to which, in our area, heavily populated cities are granted exemptions while the places city dwellers regard as their weekend playgrounds are forced into compliance with draconian measures to preserve them for benefit of people who don’t live here).
But as Ellendra says, the creative and resourceful will dig in (in this case, literally) and take care of themselves and each other.
With several households in the project, I might even find both inspiration and information to make carrots grow to actual carrot size. Or something. It could happen.