This year, New Song Church received permission from the city to farm a vacant lot across the street. Our goal is to recruit teams of people to turn barren land into a luscious garden that will put fresh produce back into the community.
It’s a good thing that my trustworthy friend Steve Green is overseeing the project. He’s very passionate about gardening. See his blog at http://stevesurbangarden.blogspot.com/ and website at http://wecsa.org/ .
One of the challenges to a garden in our neighbourhood may be soil contamination. Just one block from the old Ford foundry, we are getting the soil tested to see if it contains arsenic or heavy metals from years of air pollution or from previous uses of this land. If it is contaminated, we will need to use raised beds with imported dirt.
Although I’ve never paid much attention to gardening, I do have a basic understanding of how it works.
When I was in Grade 3, I took a watermelon seed into the tiny backyard behind our row-house in Cambridge. Close to the back wall of the house, I dug into the dirt and deposited one watermelon seed. I covered it back up and went on to other things. A week later, a green, curly stem with a leaf or two had sprouted. I began to salivate as I thought about the delicious watermelon I would eat someday soon.
Unfortunately, I did not tell my dad what I was doing and the sprout was mowed down on the next grass-cutting day.
To be a good gardener takes a plan and some effort. But no gardener alive has ever produced the life in the seed. The life came embedded in the seed. The gardener’s job is to facilitate a healthy, protective environment for the seed to do its work.
A gardener will take action against other life forms that threaten the life of the desired plant. It seems that birds, animals, insects and weeds all want to consume the plant and its fruit before it can reach its full potential. An orchard keeper works at pruning a fruit tree to enable a greater harvest of fruit.