The Denver Urban Gardens just started a community garden at The Urban Farm. I live really close to the farm, in fact I’m on a hill up and across Sand Creek from it, and can see the animals from my house. I was thrilled to have the opportunity, because the dream of a garden at the farm was one of the reasons we chose our spot.
I’m somewhat of a novice at this, but I’ve got some good advisors including my mother who is a master gardener. Like a good visual person, I plotted my garden rather meticulously. I carefully looked at spacing and yield, and what plants go well together. I even jotted down the dates when the plants would be mature, and put that on a calendar. I’m committed to getting a good crop this year.
I recall the great taste of a tomato direct from the garden from childhood when my family always had a large plot. A lot of family time was spent weeding or picking. My only attempts at my own garden in adulthood have proved rather disappointing, due to lack of commitment.
We planted our garden on Mother’s Day, laying out the rows neatly and mulching between them to keep the weeds down. It was a really nice day for planting. The sun was warm and a lot of other families were doing the same. Kids were running everywhere and interacting with the animals. My boys favored the goats, and searched the chicken coop for eggs, finding a few.
The weather turned dramatically just the next day. Temperatures dropped way down, and it even snowed a bit. Heavy winds knocked over some tall plants and swept the plot clear of all the mulch that we put down. Not to be discouraged, we went back and replanted and bolstered our mulch with straw.
This week the problem was prarie dogs. There’s a huge prarie dog colony in the vicinity of the farm. They’re fairly cordoned off with fencing, but it was a good winter for the critters and the colony is growing. They’ve started expanding their territory and fences don’t seem to matter. I’ve seen five or six of them near our gardens, and it turns out that they really like eggplant.
I erected some wire fencing around my plot to help deter them, but nothing else has emerged from the ground to temp them to cross this barrier. We’ll see if it my fence proves effective as shoots start coming out of the ground. I go back today to replant my eggplant, discourage some weeds and give the prarie dogs the evil eye.
I’ll let you know if I win the battle or if anything else proves a problem. At this point these setbacks have only bolstered my resolve to grow fresh vegetables. But I do hear that hailstorms can really whipe your garden out, so we’ll see.