Posted by: soniahs | July 23, 2011

Suburban gardening

One of the things that’s a bummer about living in an apartment building is not being able to garden. Sure, we have some things growing on the porch, but we’ve had little success with that route. The two big challenges are the rabbit (who eats any plant not elevated above jumping level) and the sheer number of pests we have in Florida (our screened-in porch seems perfect for letting aphids and whiteflies in, while keeping their natural predators out). We’ve had success with chives, onions, oregano, and marjoram, but it’s hard to make a meal out of those.

At any rate, one of the things we did while visiting my father this spring was admire the gardens, and help out a bit. I use the plural because he has plants both growing around the yard and in the neighborhood community garden a few blocks away.

Right before we visited, Minnesota was named the “Most hipster state” in the US, in part because of the number of community gardens, farmer’s markets, food co-ops, and bike trails in the Twin Cities. Debate ensued, centered on whether these things were indicative of hipsters or hippies. Whatever the reason, there is plenty of fresh locally-grown food (other than during winter).

Some summer, we’ll have to time our visit to when the raspberries are ready to harvest. This year, we admired the raspberry patch, but it was way too early to sample the berries. Dad has this annoying habit of calling me in mid-summer and sighing about how he has so many raspberries that he has to bake with them or freeze them- there are just too many to eat fresh:

I'm sure they will be yummy!

A surprise- while we were in the back yard, planting a tree, a flock of wild turkeys came cruising by. These were big birds: two toms and a hen. They walked buy us, about 10 feet away, and obviously weren’t too fazed by our presence. They probably roost in the big cottonwood trees near the railroad track nearby.

They may have been hipster turkeys, because they were too cool to acknowledge us.

There was very little rain while we were there, so one order of business was to water the community garden plot. This garden is located on the property of a local church which is using most of its lot for a prairie restoration project. The prairie area is always swarming with butterflies during the summer. As you can see, most of the garden plots are still in the early stages of spring planting.

Dad, watering the garden.

One of the big questions while we were there seemed to be when the beans would sprout. We probably went to check on them every day:

The onions are doing fine, but where are the beans?

There were apparently at least two varieties planted, but I must confess that I don’t recall which, since I will not actually get to taste them. Oh well.

Yay, beans! Sprouting on our last day visiting.



  1. Lived in Florida long enough to know all about the bugs. When we visited friends and family there, I referred to it as bug land. The windshield would be thick with squished bugs on returning from a visit with them.


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