I'm so very excited to start my very first journey through soil and sweat! That's because this year I've been assigned my very own plot at the Rees and Sumach Community Garden. I hope to use this experience to strengthen my understanding of what is means to be a steward of the earth. 🌱
And what better way to do that than by doodling while I dig?
I find it crazy that I've never really had the experience of growing my own produce. I barely know what most of my favored fruits and vegetables look like while they are still rooted! It's incredibly sad (but true!) that I grew up on sugary-bomb cereals and boxed mac and cheese without even the faintest notion of these not being real foods. Cooking to me meant skimming the instructions on the back of a ramen packet. It's been an amazing journey of enlightenment as I've sunk myself into book after book, absorbing the beauty of sustainable growing practices and the health wonders of a plant-based diet. But I've never really grown anything myself - so why not journal along the way? That is just what I plan to do!
The Rees and Sumach Community Garden is operated on land that has been donated by Whitman College, and features 30 individual plots. Gardener's get to select their own 10ft x 20ft plots to grow their desired produce in and common areas are shared work. I think it's pretty neat that 10% of the produce reaped from the community gardener is donated to the Walla Walla Food Bank, weekly! I was given the grand tour of the garden last weekend and ended up picking lot A5 - a fairly barren plot in need of some love. . .
My first work day out on the plot, I removed all the weeds, dead foliage and sticks. The last owner must have planted some garlic in the far left corner because there's already a family of them well on their way. The far right corner has a barren tree sprout with prickly thorns - I'm excited to see what this mystery tree has to offer. The hoeing, tilling, and fence setting took about an hour and a half - I never thought labor could be such fun! I loved every aspect of preparing my garden; the aroma of soil turning and the comfort of the sun especially. As I dug, I found remnants of what had grown their before, and in doing so, I felt a strong connection to the land. It was a hands on way of learning the history of the soil.
One of these remnants included a brilliant and bright specimen! As I swung my hoe down hard onto the earth, I split something, causing a remarkable purple streak to smear across the soil. The color was so unnaturally bright that I was immediately alarmed and bent down to the possible disaster. But, as I located the specimen, I realized that what I had found was in fact treasure, not danger! Much like a geode, the Peruvian purple potato radiated in my hands. I wish i hadn't broke it! It could have made for a nice snack.
But, to wrap up, I've already started my first batch of indoor seedlings - which I hope to transplant into A5 once they've sprouted. I'm lucky that a good friend lent me an array of seeds to dig through this year and take as my own. So far, I've planted some Poblano Peppers, Kale, Onion Zebrune Shallots, Eclair Purple Striped Eggplant, Rutabaga, Cucumber Beit Alpha, Tomitillos, and Cherry Tomatoes. It's been such fun noting the seed size and color variations. To think that these little guys have limbs just waiting to bust out! There are many other seeds that I hope to plant directly into the plot; but I need to add some compost first.
Thanks for reading! Checkout instagram for some sketches along the way