Friday, September 28, 2012

Garden Status 9/28: I joined a community garden yay!

My little apartment garden has not been doing very good. I did not plan it very well when deciding what to grow. Peppers, tomatoes, and watermelon need lots of space and deep ground to grow a large root system in order to produce lots of fruit. Thus why none of them have been doing very good in my small 11 gallon storage bin planters.

So when I got a call from Kay at the San Jacinto Community garden here in Galveston I jumped on it right away. I was VERY lucky that two plots were now available. I took both of them. It only cost me a $10 yearly membership to the San Jacinto neighborhood. This garden is only 12 minutes away form me and its on the way to drop my husband off at work, so it is very convenient. Now that I have a place to grow my veggies, I'm only going to grow herbs and flowers at my apartment.

San Jacinto Community Garden entrance. I like how it is gated and you need a key to get in. Therefore I feel safe if I'm all alone in there. Nice that it is private.

Established 1999.

Picnic tables shaded by different vines such as wisteria. I've never seen wisteria before so I was amazed.

I think this is 1 of 8 historic water fountains that are left out of the hundreds that were built way back when, here in Galveston.
Asparagus!!! I've never seen the asparagus plant before. There are several of these around the garden. They are huge. In the spring these plants send up asparagus shoots which are cut and ready to eat. It takes very mature plants to produce asparagus. Again, I was amazed.

Someone was growing corn in their plot. I didn't know corn could be grown in our hot, humid, zone.

Our personal garden shed. Its filled with every kind of garden tool you will need. Which was so awesome since I don't own any. Now I don't have to spend tons of money buying tools. There is also a compost bin (black box lower right corner), which everyone contributes and uses. I've never composted before so I'm definitely adding my part to it.
This is a sesame plant which produces sesame seeds! I've never seen this before. When those pods turn brown the seeds are ready to eat or cook with. This plant is about 3 foot tall and doesn't take up very much space. I took a pod so I could grow it in my apartment garden. Now I'm inspired to try and grow fennel and anise from the seeds I had to buy to make the sausage I posted about.
We also have several citrus trees like oranges and grapefruit, that we all share. This is grapefruit.
This one still needs to ripen a bit. I was taking a photo of it and it just fell off the I took it home. I'm embarrassed to say that I cant ever remember eating grapefruit before. I tend to stay away from sour tasting things. But now that I'm trying to eat healthier I'm going to give it a try.
My faithful garden companion, Mia the Yorkshire Terrier. We can bring dogs if they stay on a leash...We were alone and Mia is such a shy dog that she never goes too far from me. She is very quiet and tame, unlike my other dog Eli.

Last week I amended the soil and started planting my first plot. I transferred my peppers there but I threw out that straggly looking super sweet 100 tomato I had growing at my apartment, and the watermelon is not going there either because it has some kind of disease. I've gone so far as to spray the tomato and watermelon with commercial heavy duty antibacterial/fungicide/insect killer and none of it seems to work. I didn't want to bring diseased stuff into the community garden and spread it around.

My first plot. I love that whoever had it before me added the cement blocks. Helps keep things separated and added height so I could fill the plot with lots of compost and peat moss to help lighten the sandy soil we have here on the island. Also every plot has its own spigot and water hose.
There are 3 california giant sweet peppers, a patio tomato, lavender, ruby perfection red cabbage, and broccoli "packman" hybrid...urgh it was a hybrid, oh well. Along the right side I tried to make a straight row that has danviers half long and chantenay carrot varieties separated by a row of a mix of red and white onions. Then I sprinkled the entire plot with a loose leaf lettuce blend, which I hope will grow quickly and crowd out the weeds and act like a living mulch. The cinder block holes have been planted with different herb and flower seeds known to attract beneficial insects and keep the bad ones away.
Lavender and Patio Tomato. I've never had luck growing lavender. I definitely gave it good drainage this time. I also sprinkled the entire bed with an eggshell and used ground coffee mixture. The eggshells deter slugs and the strong smell of the coffee deters many types of bugs too.

I tried very hard not to disturb the roots of my sweet peppers when I took them out of the planter from my apartment and planted them here. As I lifted the whole thing out, it all fell they are in shock right now. Two of them look like they will recover, the other doesn't look so good. And they were all chock full of growing peppers...I hope I can still harvest them.
KALE!!!! So healthy and so much I can do with it. I bought two of these for $2 each from the 70% off sale at the Houston Garden Centers. They were in 9 inch pots and ready to start harvesting the lower leaves. You must harvest frequently to promote new leave growth. Also, the baby leaves taste better than the larger ones. This was like instant gratification because I can harvest something while I wait for everything else to grow.
This is my second plot. I need to weed it and amend the soil before I grow anything. I'm taking my time with it though. Everything I want to plant here is currently growing in seed trays and wont be ready for at least a month or so. I plan on planting zucchini, super sweet 100 tomatoes, spinach, swiss chard, baby bok choi, butternut squash, and various lettuces to name a few. They have some huge metal towers that I can use to grow the tomatoes and squash up on and save garden space.
 Also seen in the background of the photo above, is a chicken coop. Fresh eggs are laid every morning which we can harvest. I have not don't this yet because I'm not sure of the procedure.

As you can tell I was very happy to see lots of vegetables and fruit plants that I've never seen before. This stressed to me the big disconnect people have to where their food comes from. I'm so glad for the opportunity to grow fresh, natural, and organic produce.

Here on Galveston we don't have many options when it comes to organic foods. The nearest Whole Foods and Trader Joes is over 1 hour away. Also, the local grocery stores seem to be overpriced in my opinion. Anyways, its so much fun to grow your own produce and then get to eat it.


  1. That is SOOOO cool. I am SOOO jealous! I want to try and start an initiative in my neighborhood of a community garden, but I don't know how the homeowners will feel about that.

    Brittany has chickens, you may want to talk to her about grabbing the eggs.

    1. Actually our community garden is in the middle of a neighborhood, surrounded by houses on all sides. I doubt the neighbors mind because it is full of flowers and looks attractive. As for the chickens, there is a male but its not a rooster, because obviously that would be annoying. Our community garden expenses are supported by an annual plant sale. I guess they generate enough funds from this to pay for the water and electric expenses.

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