Sunday, March 25, 2007

Paradise From A (Bike) Parking Lot





Wanting to have a "demonstration garden" for the children in my family child care but not having any more lawn to spare (they have to have some lawn area to play on!) I made the only possible decision...to take out an area of concrete patio area that was at least somwhat unused. After watching the play activity for a few weeks I felt this area really was used mostly for parking bikes and the basketball hoop... but not really needed for everyday play. I've had a vegie garden for years and always had cherry tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, eggplant and a few other alternating items that the children have enjoyed but never had space for things like corn or pumpkins. As a result of a conversation we had one day I realised a number of them didn't know what a corn plant looks like...and I decided that couldn't continue.
When we moved here over 26 years ago one of the first things I did was take out part of the patio to plant a Santa Rosa plum tree and a wisteria. This time I decided my 21 year old son was better suited to the heavy duty demolition part of the job and so he began concrete removal two weeks ago.
Last weekend he (with the help of a friend and a cousin) finished the removal and and I began to cultivate the soil that had been trapped for over 26 years...and I was reminded of what the soil here is really like...pretty much hard packed clay. I had to drench the soil and let it soak in in order to get the shovel to stop bouncing off the surface and it has been a long week of working section by section, loosening the soil, smashing clods and mixing in what I hope is a sufficient amount of compost to keep it workable.
Today I finished the digging and now I'm thinking about trellises...I'm planning to put cherry tomatoes (the seedlings are up!) on the fence I've put around the bed to keep bikes and other dangerous things out...but I'm waiting for inspiration on arrangment and type of trellises for pole beans, cucumbers, and a variety of summer squash ( Zucchetta Trombolina) I found from John Scheepers that reminds me of something my Italian grandpa grew years ago...I just couldn't resist. After all...I have all this new space! I do need to allow a nice block for corn so I'm playing with ideas in my mind...I've got a couple of weeks until we can plant. As you can see...I've moved the headboard I was putting in last summer when I decided to try becoming a blogger...one of my traits is I'm always moving stuff. I've learned not to put much permanent hardscape in...I'll just want to change it sooner or later.
In any case...my job for this week is to think about trellises!

4 comments:

Carol said...

It looks impressive how it went from concrete to fresh ground for planting. A lot of sweat must have gone into that project!

Leslie said...

It's true, Carol, but lucky for me it wasn't all mine!

Annie in Austin said...

What an innovative way to squeeze in the demonstration garden, Leslie! The headboard looked interesting when you first put it in - but it looks even cooler in this new garden. Do the kids get the vegetable bed joke, or are they too young?

An amazing number of adults have no clue as to how vegetables grow, but the ones in your care won't be in that group.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Leslie said...

Annie...the kids are mostly too young (1 to 7 years old) to get the joke...although some might appreciate the humor if I explain it! :) They are really excited about getting to plant seeds actually in the ground...usually when we have seed week they plant in pots to take home...I never know if they survive!