Happy first day of summer!
Today, June 21st, is the summer solstice — the day when the sun sits in the sky for the longest period of time. From this point forward, the sun will begin appearing in the sky for an increasingly shorter period of time, until its climax, the winter solstice in December.
Now that we’re over half-way through the year, let’s take time to reflect on what has been accomplished in the garden this year:
Compared to 2014, the health and vibrancy of the crops we’ve grown in the garden has been excellent. We’ve followed a crop rotation cycle, used cover crops, have added compost, and have surrounded our seedlings with straw. All this seems to be working nicely, as there have been few pest issues, and we’ve already harvested a little over 31 pounds of produce. Just last week, at our #BeetTheHeat event, we harvested 9 pounds of beets! (For more information about what we’ve planted, how much we’ve harvested, and who’s visited the garden, check out our Garden Journal)
We’ve also kept to our #FoodIsFree mantra by setting up a table outside the Waterfront metro, offering free produce to passersby. We offered kale, collard greens, spinach, lettuce, and thyme, all for free. In the process, we received $10 in donations, and help spread the word about the garden, and what we’re doing there.
There has been a steady number of regular, and new visitors to the garden this year. So far, there have been 200 visits, 43 of which have been newcomers.
It’s been great to see some of the original neighborhood kids that visited the garden when it first opened, still showing up, applying what they’ve learned, and then teaching their peers how to take care of the garden.
In addition to the kids, we’ve had other residents of the community stop by to help out, pick up some produce, or just explore. It’s exactly why I initially became interested in urban gardening: food brings people together, regardless of race, age, class, sexual orientation. Once together, we can see and discuss our similarities, and talk about the visions we’d like to see in our communities.
We’ve witnessed neighbors interacting with others, with food being the catalyst for conversation. It’s been a beautiful thing to be a part of, and I hope this trend continues.
The garden was able to expand a little outside of its fence, and start a habitat garden on Earth Day. The plants were provided by the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) as part of a city-wide effort to “attract and support hummingbirds, butterflies (including Monarchs), bees and other creatures that are important players in a healthy ecosystem.” DPR selected a site in each ward for the project, and the garden was selected to represent Ward 6! (For additional info on the project, you can check out this document)
In addition to the habitat garden, we’ve also planted sunflowers, marigolds, zinnias, cramer’s rose, and snapdragons.
The garden is becoming a beautiful place to spend an hour or two, and we hope to see you in there!