This winter I decided that this is the year I'm going to try vegetable gardening again. I gave it a shot in the mid-'90s when we bought our house, but gave up after a couple of years of struggling with poor soil and terrible crop yields.
To deal with the soil issue, my plan was to build a raised bed in as sunny a backyard spot as I could find. There would be up-front expense and labor to construct the bed and fill it with soil. Then I would plant my selected crops, figure out how to best protect them from the many woodland creatures that traverse our yard, and make sure to schedule plenty of time for watering and weeding.
Then I saw a message that my city's community garden is offering free garden plots for the growing season.
The community garden is less than a mile from my house and I drive by it every day. It features 50-square-foot raised beds with concrete sides, and I'm pretty sure the city provides the water. If I went that route, all I would have to do is use my own tools (which I already have), buy my own seeds and/or seedlings, and swing by often to weed and eventually harvest.
The critter issue shouldn't be quite as bad as it would be at my house because the community garden is at a busy intersection close to an interstate. I would hope that the local fauna wouldn't be reckless enough to spend much time bothering everyone's tomatoes there.
I signed up and I've been assigned plot #1.
So now I need to think seriously about what vegetables I want to grow and how best to arrange them. There's a community planting day scheduled in the next couple of weeks, so I'll make sure to get my diagrams drawn and my seeds and plants purchased by then.
Just for my own convenience, I think I'll revive my herb garden this year as well. I have an area near my front door that still has some volunteer chives and thyme from years past. It just needs a little clearing and tilling to be a viable place to plant herbs again.
If all goes well, I should have a nice, long season of my favorite vegetables: tomatoes, green beans, lettuce, radishes, squash, etc. I know it'll take some work, but I think it'll be well worth it!
Photo credit: Downing Street