Saturday, June 7, 2008

Summer in the city

It's almost summer, in the city, but it feels like it's already started. As I type, it's amazingly hot and humid, and there is no airconditioning or fan or moving air in this room.

We went to our community garden meeting today. We, meaning myself and M and N of the Meetup Astoria Moms group (or ASAHM Meetup group, as we are also known). Wow, meetings like that are pretty exhausting! Not a whole lot felt like it was being accomplished (though most of the agenda was covered), but it was very eye-opening for us all, and we got to see and hear from quite a few of the other gardeners.

Have we blogged about our awesome garden? We joined the Two Coves Community Garden. Because we are a community group, we were allowed to get a bunch of plots next to each other to use to form a big garden. Well, big if you live in the city and are used to gardening on a balcony, or a window-box. We have about 600 square feet, and we have made lots of little gardens within the space: a butterfly garden, an herb area, vegetable gardens with lots of different veggies growing like tomatoes, squash, corn, beans, lettuce, radishes, carrots, pumpkins, and cucumbers, and flowers, flowers, flowers. There's also a nice spot for the kids to dig in and make mud puddles, and they love this most of all!

The kids absolutely love the garden. It's even more fantastic than I thought it would be....and I had high expectations for it.

Yes, it was very hard to prepare the garden with kids all over the place, and it's been equally hard to plant, and now it's sometimes really hard to find time for weeding, but we're getting it done! Slowly....

Another obstacle has been that our kids are little, and active, and it's taken time for us to make sure that our kids understand the rules of being in a community garden (not stepping on other people's plots, knowing where their garden ends and another begins, common areas versus private areas in the garden, weeds versus plants....) and there has apparently been some backlash against our group.

We immediately tried to address it--- with each other, to make sure that some moms are on "kid duty" while others are gardening, and to make sure that all moms are encouraged to get some garden time in if they want--- with our kids, to make sure that they understand that there are not only expectations of their being able to behave by their parents, but also by people in the garden community (they understood that they would not be allowed to go to the garden if they didn't follow the rules!), with the garden leaders.

With gardeners that we met, we tried to address it also-- that we knew that it might be a problem and that we were addressing it. Oddly, all gardeners that we met were extremely kind to us and our children. However, we were told that there were numerous complaints! I guess that we will see....

All I know is that we love this place, our garden, and it is the perfect place to spend the summer in the city. We water our garden with water from the fire hydrant, we garden next to people in our Astoria community, we get to be with our friends, and we get to do it in Astoria! Who knew that we could have our own slice of natural heaven, and get to share it with so many people in our community! It really does feel good, and feels right to allow our kids a lot of time outdoors, and time well-spent with friends.


knittingmami said...

great post. We love the garden also! I love the look of total joy on the kids faces as they run around. I love to see how little Oscar can dig away so busily. I love that when my son was unhappy the other day with strawberries we bought he said- we'll have to go to the farm and pick some other ones. He gets it- that the produce comes from somewhere and he can help make it happen.

Emelye said...

Hi, I'm Emily, and I facilitated the community garden meeting you came to. I only garden on the weekends, and it was so great to meet some of the moms and kids I hear a lot about. And it was so valuable to have your input at the meeting.

I look forward to getting to talk to the Astoria Moms more about raising kids in this part of the city!