Nounallotmenteer (plural allotmenteers)
In the US we call them community gardens but there is no fun descriptor that comes out of that so I will hereby request that from today onwards you refer to me as allotmenteer. Or at lease until the end of Summer, should I forfeit and decide to ditch the whole thing. The first 3 people I told about my idea to apply for a community garden plot (my mom, my dad, my husband) all told me I was crazy. The fourth person I told, one of my oldest friends who hungers for her own patch of dirt to grow in, said let's do it!
See, I already have two veggie patches at home which keep me really busy, but they are somewhat sun-challenged. I manage to grow tomatoes, but not the amount I would like. I dream of more space to grow other sun-lovers too like beans and peppers and to free up some room to grow flowers at home.
My other fantasy for my new community garden plot is that I will have buckets full of beautiful produce, more than my family and friends can possibly eat, and that I will be able to donate the extras to local food banks.
I'm also hoping to meet some interesting garden folks and learn some new things about vegetable gardening.
The Portland Community Garden program is nearly 30 years old and some gardens have up to a four year waiting list. I was very lucky to get a plot at all, let alone one that's in walking distance of my house. In our excitement, my friend and I made a visit to one of the established community gardens in SE Portland, the Colonel Summers Community Garden. I love how ragged and full of personality it is. People are really focused on utility. I plan on visiting more community gardens to cull ideas on how to get the most out of my little 10'x10' plot. I think it's time to explore some vertical gardening ideas!
I blame Alys Fowler for making me long for my own community garden plot. In the TV series Gardener's World Alys visits her allotment in the dead of Winter to talk about growing garlic, dealing with weeds, and drinking a hard-earned cuppa with her cute dog.
Doesn't that look fun? You can see the full episode and others here. I highly recommend Alys's beautiful books Garden Anywhere, The Edible Garden: How to Have Your Garden and Eat It, and The Thrifty Forager: Living Off Your Local Landscape as well as her terrific blog for The Guardian.
Stay tuned for more news from my new garden plot!