Wednesday, May 2, 2012

another day, another pile

Last Thursday, John took delivery of a load of wood chips from Crosstown Tree Service. The delivery truck was too large for our gate, so the service dumped its load where it could, flooding the back area. John spent the next two hours shoveling enough to where he could barely close the back gate. To complicate matters, the new pile of wood chips partially covered the older pile of compost that we had received the week before. We had a huge and—after Friday’s rain—sodden mass of organic material that needed to be shifted.

We were thus fortunate that many volunteers arrived on Saturday morning, ready to work. In addition to a biweekly group of volunteers from Chicago Cares and a new Meetup group from Second City, a number of individuals dropped in, asking for something to do.

We had a list of tasks with which to occupy them. First, we had to weed the areas between the raised beds. Then, while some of us worked from one side of the pile, shoveling chips into wheelbarrows for distribution throughout the garden, others worked from the muddier side, loading wheelbarrows of compost to work into the raised beds.

By the end of the day, most of the garden was either covered with wood chips or overflowing with organic compost and thoroughly worked.

Away from all of the earth moving, a couple of us worked in the northeast corner of the garden lot, sowing sweet pea seed in containers that we arranged around the fence. We hope that the sweet pea will crowd out the bindweed that usually menaces the corner in early summer.

We did little planting on Saturday, except for sowing a “cut-and-come-again” bed of lettuce in the bathtub. Now that the pile in the back of the garden is no longer a worry, we can turn back to planting quick-growing, cool-weather crops and make use of the time before we can transplant our tomatoes and peppers.