This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he always thought the garden was his. Even though I do all the work, he always stood by me. I'm located near Boston (in USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot and a backyard vegetable garden. I use sustainable organic methods and try to grow all of my family's vegetables.

Friday, May 07, 2010

plot assignments

The past two evenings, we assigned 23 of the 25 empty plots, including the newly created plots up front. Only 2 new plots are unassigned now. For the first time in at least 10 or 20 years, all of the 120 old plots are assigned! With the 15 new plots, we have a total now of 135 garden plots.

We have a rule that plots need to be worked by June 1, so the next step is to see if there are plots that aren't being worked and maybe we'll have more plots to assign at this time.

The plot assignment process takes some time and is very pleasant in the spring dusk. We walk new gardeners around in groups in groups of 6 and point out the available plots and answer questions about their pros and cons: where's the closest faucet, what's the soil and sun exposure like, etc. Then, gardeners pick their plot in the order their application was received.

It very fun to see how gardeners stress over their selection and then, once the choice is made, they look so happy. New community gardeners! I remember the feeling. They take out their tape measure or shovel and putter around. They poke at this and that and I can just see the process of visualizing what will grow where. What fun!

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5 Comments:

Blogger Jill said...

I'm on the list for a plot, but I'm probably number 86 or something....do you know if we are on the list for this year but don't get a plot, if we will be at the top of the list next year?

For now I'll have to be content with containers, which isn't so bad I suppose!

May 07, 2010 11:03 PM

 
Blogger kathy said...

Each spring, current plot owners who want to move to a different plot get first choice, then those on the waiting list get to choose. The list will stay in the same order, the order that you sent in your application, so you will gradually move up as those above you get plots. (There are always a few people who don't show up for the assignments, too, and this shortens the list.) I think we assigned about 30 plots so far, so if you were 86, you are now more like 56. You can email Mary (or me) to find out your number anytime, if you want to know.

May 08, 2010 2:07 AM

 
Anonymous Patrick said...

We also have a rule that plots have to be worked by a certain date, the 1st of May I think. The rule is the ground has to be 'black' meaning no visible weeds and no roots in the ground.

They are not really very strict, and the intention is that you should at least be trying. I also don't really know if they have ever taken away anyone's garden for this reason, it's more that they want to be able to come up and scold you if you aren't using your plot.

I'm a real source of irritation on this point, because I cover my garden in black plastic for the winter, so I don't have any weeds come spring. The rule assumes you will dig the weeds out. They haven't decided yet if I'm following the rule, but have decided to stop bothering me about it.

Do you ever have trouble figuring out if someone is following the rule?

May 09, 2010 3:16 PM

 
Blogger kathy said...

Wow. No weeds! That would eliminate nearly all of our gardeners. Our weeds are very aggressive and only the most meticulous have none. I certainly have many at almost any time of the year.

I don;t know what you mean by "no roots". Last years' old roots (beets etc)?

We are the same about not being strict and trying counts. Also, all sorts of excuses will work, and the Commissioner will give you more time. But plots are taken because of inactivity. I don't know how many, but my understanding is several each year.

We also have many gardeners who cover soil with various materials. Plastic, newspaper, rugs, etc. But we don't consider this working the soil.

Our Commissioner will check the gardens as the end of May approaches and see what's going on in the plots. The most difficult thing for us is gardeners who want to have a plot full of raspberries. They don't do anything to tend them, but come and pick a few times during the summer. My plot neighbor does this, and, on top of this, has 15 foot tall sunchokes that grow up and shade my garden. They don't even harvest these perennials as far as I can tell. I end up pulling sunchoke and raspberry runner/weeds from my garden all summer. These are deeply rooted and hard to pull. I have heard rumors that unworked raspberry plots are being strongly discouraged (disallowed?) this year. We'll see.

The other issue we have is gardeners who come in May, work the sol a bit, plant a few tomatoes or squash, and then don't show up again all season. The squash spill out on the path (its actually easy to just throw the vines back into the plot) but I hate the sight of rotting unharvested tomatoes. And the weeds grow to 10 feet.

May 10, 2010 5:51 PM

 
Anonymous Patrick said...

By no roots, I mean it's not acceptable to get rid of weeds by just cutting them to the ground. You actually need to remove the roots from the ground so they don't keep growing.

For some weeds like Canadian thistle, this is impossible because the roots are too deep and have too many runners. These take years of repeatedly digging up in order to get rid of.

This is one of many rules we have that no one really knows what it means. Like you said, it literally is that we are not allowed to have weeds, but this is of course impossible.

We also have the rule for example that our hedges have to be kept to 1 meter high, and 50 cm wide. Since the hedge is a growing plant, it's not possible to do this exactly, and no one is quite sure what the acceptable range is. Also some gardeners prefer to remove a lot of the interior branches to make it thinner and easier to trim, and the management is sometimes annoyed by this, but there don't seem to be any rules covering it.

The plot next to mine has been untended for the last few years, but fortunately just got a new gardener. This was the source of a lot of weeds in my garden too, and I'm glad someone is going to start using it.

In the end the plot became available because they contacted the previous gardener and got his permission to assign it to someone else. Not many plots are forcibly taken away from gardeners, and this is sometimes a problem.

Although everyone is required to perform their 3 days of garden work duty each year. If they don't they are first fined. If they continue to not participate or if they don't pay the fine, they are eventually kicked out, but this can take years!

We have a lot of grassy weeds, and these tend to choke out everything else if they aren't removed, so we don't usually have the problem of vegetables growing wild over the course of the summer. Tomatoes growing wild and rotting sounds terrible!

May 15, 2010 7:58 AM

 

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