Monday, May 3, 2010

If They Come, You Will Build It

I had never seen so many eager faces in our garden as the day of the Double-Digging Potluck event. In mid-April, we found that we had several tomato plants that were ready to be transplanted into the ground, but no space for them. So we made plans to create a few new nicely sized beds for them to go in. The way we go about creating new beds at the garden is a method called double-digging, which involves breaking up ground, shoveling it out, breaking up the ground beneath the foot-or-so that was shoveled out, and then filling the hole in with all the removed dirt mixed with compost. This method is thorough and provides the plants with lots of room to extend their roots through the now-loose soil, while also ensuring that the nutrient-rich compost is present at lower levels in the ground, too. Double-digging, however is also very labor-intensive!

So Nicole, Matthew, Ann and I, feeling like the four of us atetmpting to prepare more than one bed in this way over the span of just a few hours was, though surely possible, likely to leave us with a soreness that might last days, decided to extend an invitation for help! Through a Facebook event, we invited the Students for Sustainability group along with some of our friends to come out on a Saturday morning to help us double-dig out some beds, and encouraged for everyone to bring a dish or drinks to share for an afternoon picnic.

The response was great! There were about fifteen people who came out, and so for every person working hard, there was another ready to take over when things got too tiring. We worked for about three hours or so, and then enjoyed a delicious meal together. I figured out that Matthew's got a knack for guacamole, and Nicole makes a mean hummus. It was a very fun time, and to me, extremely encouraging to see all of those people ready to help out with the garden effort.

For some of the people who attended, they shared that it was their first time to ever come out to the garden, or even to the arboretum! It made me realize the importance of having events at the garden that extend out to the community. In the future, I expect to host several more group building and planting days, complete with good food and even better company such as this one. Anytime I see someone new in the garden, I get a really good feeling, and it seems to be something that we share.

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