Last July, an area outside the fence of my community garden came available for planting. Traditionally, the area has been planted in flowers, but after some discussion with the garden executive committee, I decided to take it on as a potential Plot Against Hunger garden. At the same time, the Cornell Club of Washington contacted AFAC to ask whether they had any garden projects that alumni could do in one day. Boy did we!
The area was overgrown in a grass called nut sedge, and our group of volunteers, organized by Justin Manzo, had to start with the grass. We used garden forks to pry it up and then knocked the dirt off the roots before depositing it in our garden trash. This was phase 1 of our project and took the longest time, but done well, weeding saves an enormous amount of time later. After that, we loosened up the soil a little more and smoothed out some of the uneven places.
The next phase was mulching. Our garden mulch coordinator had ordered a big load from the County the previous week, so we had plenty to work with. Volunteers shoveled mulch, wheeled wheelbarrows, and smoothed out the mulch in pretty short order. This was much more fun than the weeding!
Phase three was planting. I had two flats of broccoli, mixed cabbages, and bok choi seedlings along with snow pea, carrot, and spinach seeds.
We planted the peas along the fence, so the peas would have something to climb up, distributed the seedlings throughout the plot, and added spinach and carrots where there was room left. What a group of workers this was!
I gave everything a good soaking with the hose and planted the Plot Against Hunger sign before I left. I suppose that was phase 4. With any luck, the rabbits will feel too exposed to go munching out in this area, which is on a very busy corner, and human munchers will see the Plot Against Hunger sign and refrain. I hope to find a group to adopt the plot and plant it next spring. For now, we just have to wait for the seeds to sprout and the seedlings to grow.
Many, many thanks to the Cornell Alums! These are people who munched at the Moosewood Café while in college, so they know good fresh food—and their labor will help provide AFAC clients with fresh vegetables this fall.