Thursday, April 21, 2011

sharing backyards: or, how i learned to serf on dry land

a couple of jason’s neighbor friends offered us their backyard to grow veggies. one of them is too busy to garden and the other hurt his back and can’t garden, so in exchange for part of the harvest (and our military allegiance) they’re letting us take over three raised beds and a few other patches around the yard.

originally it was only going to be two raised beds, but our feudal lords so loved what we did with them that they relinquished more of their fief for our allotment.

last week we hauled in a bunch of tools and worked the soil on two of the raised beds:

they turned out lovely, a major improvement--we took out buckets of weeds, garbage (literally, garbage), rocks, brick fragments, branches and whathaveyou, and broke up all the clumps. the soil seems rich and healthy, with oodles of worms. i found a green worm (!!!)--not a grub, this was absolutely a plain old earthworm. but it was green. it must have been an allolobophora chlorotica. great name, right?

after we got them cleaned out and finely tilled, j and i both felt this lusty urge to strip naked, dive into the beds and be carnal with the soil. (we resisted.)

jason spent the better part of an hour trying to remedy the tragically overgrown garlic patch. smile on his face the whole time, crazy bastard. the bed was full of whole bulbs sprouting shoulder-to-shoulder. this represents just one clump, which i assume was a single bulb:

here’s the trash pile:

and here’s the (nearly) finished bed:

we planted onion sets in the other half, and we each took home a few garlics to grow in our own gardens. we’ll see if they work. so far mine don’t look very happy, probably because they spent five hours fully exposed in a hot car after having a chunk of their roots ripped off.

while we were working, this faint little rainbow appeared above us:

so far all we have planted at the fiefdom are cabbage seeds and onions. later on we’ll be doing tomatoes, tons of beans, squash, maybe some peppers, and a whole bed of root vegetables (mostly carrots, beets and potatoes.) j will take care of daily watering, since he lives just a couple blocks away, then once a week we’ll go over together and do more in-depth maintenance. then we’ll go back to his house and grill the fruits of our labors.

the agreement is everyone just takes whatever they can use, and there’s bound to be plenty for all. before long it should supply us with ample tasties for our weekly cookouts.

i’m sure i’ll have frequent posts about our adventures in serfdom. i love that we’re getting to experience three different socioeconomic systems with our gardens this year: capitalism (our own gardens), communism (rifka’s commune), and this fun new example of old-school feudalism.


Kim and Victoria said...

Looks and sounds great. Those garlic were close enough to marry.

Potted Farm said...

Is it odd to be jealous of your serfdom? :)

Emily said...

victoria--no kidding, good thing jason was there to deal with them. i wouldn't have bothered.

potted farm--hehe, if you're really interested in becoming a serf you could check the website it's a site that unites people who have land they're not using with people who want land to garden. maybe there's a lord out there for you too!

GoneferalinID said...

Great post, funny Kyle said that we were sharecroppers since we rent.