Yesterday was the start of my new and exciting garden adventure.
The space has not been tended since last year and it has become completely overrun with ‘weeds’. However, I am not discouraged. I see this as an opportunity to build something truly wonderful. Plus, it was quite exciting to see the wonderful natural ecosystem that has been developing. I saw lacewings and some other interesting looking critters that looked like they would be perfectly happy to protect my garden from the evils of whiteflies and aphids (in fact, I am wishing I had brought a few home with me to eat all of the whiteflies on my tomato plants!). Of course, I felt a little guilty as I ripped up hundreds of plants. However, it had to be done.
The day was incredibly hot and being the logical folks that we are, we started working at midday. Weeding is not particularly fun when it is 90 degrees and humid, but when the time is there, then the time is there.
We filled 6 wheelbarrows full of weeds – trying to focus on the plants that were about to go to seed or had already gone to seed. Despite our best efforts, I have a sneaking suspicion that we may have in fact scattered the seeds further around the garden. I am hoping that since it is so dry that they won’t be able to germinate. I will keep my fingers crossed.
The stepfather of my boyfriend suggested that we choose one corner of the garden and make it very clean and then use this section to save the plants that we will want in the future. This seems like great advice because trying to completely work the entire plot all at once would be overwhelming. I found some roses, chives, lemon balm, thyme, dill, French marigolds, potatoes, strawberries, and a plant that I know only as ‘poppers’ that are a relic from my childhood. The soil itself is quite sandy, but seems to be rather fertile. I would like to buy coir and a bunch of compost to help it retain more water because I am not sure how often I will be able to travel there. If everything wasn’t so complicated because of my visa, I would stay there for the week to clean everything out. That and the fact that there is no water!
The bungalow itself also needs quite a bit of work. There are spots with mold, the wallpaper is sad and dreary, and of course there is a problem getting the water to turn on. HOWEVER, it was geschenkt (i.e. FREE) which makes it all worth it. This means that I can invest some of the money that we were going to use to buy the first garden into the new garden that needs some work. This way it can really be something that we want.
We found several gardening books from the DDR that were left among the things that have been left behind by the previous inhabitants. They are incredibly helpful and I am lucky that they are there. However, I found it quite funny that the information that is at least 25 years old is the same information that is being touted as new and revolutionary in the United States. It makes we wonder what other informational gems we missed out in by declaring socialism/communism evil and the insight that came with that style of thinking un-useful and counterintuitive.
Our presence in the garden community seemed to be the hot topic of the day. Most of the people who have gardens here have been there for a minimum of 30 years, so we are without a doubt fresh blood. The garden directly next to us is the garden that cancelled on us. They are charming people in there sixties riddled with health problems, so the work in the garden is too much work for them and they want a chance to see some more of the world before it is too late. That is perfectly understandable. It is also nice that we are able to speak and clear the air. Afterall, we will be neighbors for the rest of the summer! They cheerfully shared some beautiful zucchinis and tales from the past decades, as well as support for the hard work and well-earned rewards that would come with time.
A friend of my guy’s and his darling daughter also came to check out the garden – our first visitors! He is also a hand-worker and enjoyed theorizing about all of the things that could be done to improve the layout of the bungalow. I am not sure what I think about making so many changes so quickly, but they seem to know what they are talking about. We will simply have to see.
I am looking forward to the coming weeks and the improvements that can be made. I had forgotten how good it feels to complete an honest day’s work. Today we will be enjoying some garden fresh potatoes and I will continue dreaming about what can be done to the garden. I also took some cuttings from my oregano, mint, sage, and rosemary plants in hopes of successful propagation.
Based on information found on the internet (which is naturally always reliable), I used honey and water as a rooting hormone and put the cuttings in a small plastic greenhouse to keep the soil moist. I should know it approximately a week if the plants will live or die!
Until next time…
the transplanted gardener(in)