Collaboration & A Community Garden

Day 1 – Community Garden

I’m thrilled. I applied for and nearly immediately received a plot in a community garden. Many of the gardens that I perused online had multiple year waiting lists. I waited less than 4 weeks and was given (for $100/year) a 400 sq. ft. plot – 20 x 20, enclosed in a low fence. The soil beautifully amended – raised beds, full of mole holes.

Dogs in the Garden

Oliver and I arrive on a brilliant, sunny afternoon with newly purchased hearty seedlings – kale, chard, pak choy, broccoli, carrots, radishes and artichokes. Enough to get started in my garden’s outer perimeter.

Using a long-handled shovel and my hand tools, I began removing plants I don’t want to grow (Dock, volumes of Forget-me-nots) and weeds. Placing them in the compost pile, Oliver joyously, repetitively retrieved them.

Dock is poisonous to dogs. Oliver chewed briefly on the roots, so I removed them to the car. Apparently 15 seconds is enough chew-time for a little bulldog to feel pretty lousy. He burped loudly and threw up. Three times. And licked his lips incessantly, a sign of doggie nausea.

Another gardener, a mother with two small children paused and looked at us. Her beagle quietly sitting by the side of the garden, behaving beautifully. Sigh.

Community Gardens & Collaboration
Soil, Sunshine & Seedlings

I planted 12 kale and 6 chard plants. The soil full of worms, and moister than moist – it’s Portlandia. It rains here. A lot.

Day Two

This morning, sans Oliver, I arrive at the garden. It’s 10:30 and my plot is deeply shaded. I wonder about the sun’s track as the season progresses. When can I expect sun on my plot every day?

The Community Garden is surrounded by huge cedars and hemlocks, high in the Northwest hills.

Other gardeners work in their plots.

I decide to observe, not attempt to engage, see what happens.

Nothing happens. No one looks up. Or says a word.

Grabbing a shovel from the shed I begin to work in my plot.

No one looks up. Or says a word.

I spent 2 hours reworking one pathway, planting 12 broccoli, 6 beets to go with the other veggies I’d already sunk in the soil. All in the shade. At this time of year. For now.

Community Gardening
The sun’s in the next garden!


I have 3 unanswered questions.

What is the best organic slug control?

Is the wood chip pile for use in individual gardens, or are they reserved for community pathways?

Is there community composting, or do we each ‘compost our own’?

No one looks up. Or says a word.

So I don’t ask.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens as I spend more time at the garden. Will people look up? Will I feel compelled to introduce myself, connect?

Invitation: Collaboration

I am stepping more deeply into a slice of life here. I set an intention, inviting community and collaboration. I’ll observe for a while and see what transpires in this garden microcosm.

One thing’s for sure. The energy of the place as I quietly worked in my plot filled me with joy, awe and gratitude.

Worst case? I’ll collaborate with the Earth and plants, the nature spirits and the elements in this beautiful, silent Community Garden.



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