Gardens en route to the grocery store

August 18th, 2009 by: cheyenne

This is a garden in an alley near some chickens Ronin likes to visit. The first time I saw it, I called it Lead Garden because it’s planted in some funky paint-and-concrete-dust-crusted dirt in an alley adjacent a flaking garage and mouldering compost pile. At first it was just a long line of puny seedlings but as it grew, sticks and string were added to bind in the garden and allow a scaffold for the climbing plants. Of course, now it is full and luscious looking and there are volunteer tomatoes growing out of the compost pile (Trader Joe’s “grape tomatoes” I think they are) I finally met the guy who tended it and I’m fairly positive he is not one of the land owners. Just a mellow street dude with a serious green thumb.

Leaving the alley we pass the corner house, which is a tiny thing with a big backyard. The people who live here have two 100-gallon plastic containers full of cut-up pieces of stump that have been, um, brewing for nearly a year (at the very least). We wonder what they are making. They also have a nice garden with corn poking up over their six-foot fence.

Continuing down the street is a small front-yard garden. This one got started late but it’s looking pretty good. Sadly though, there are about ten little four-inch containers of root-bound strawberry plants beyond the garden patch near the front steps. I feel like I can’t understand (and yet I CAN understand only too well) why then never managed to get them planted in the real dirt so that they would have some semblance of a decent strawberry existence. Ah well. Moving on.

I don’t know what that little stripe of lawn between sidewalk and street is called but a lot of people around here plant gardens or fruit trees in it. I think it’s awesome but I’d personally be paranoid that dogs would pee on my tomatoes. And WHO is that hot guy with the adorable baby?

This guy must have used homemade compost to mulch his yard because there are tomato plants coming up ALL OVER his flower beds. These ones escaped his fence and are taking over the sidewalk (also Trader Joe grape tomatoes, it looks like). Ronin has a special affinity for this house because they chose to landscape the [weird patch between sidewalk and street] with pea gravel. Ronin LOVES pea gravel. It’s maybe her favorite thing on earth these days.

After 20 minutes and some hysterics, we managed to cross the street to a house owned by an elderly Chinese lady and her large chow mix dog. We see her begrudgingly walking the dog periodically with the surliest expression and the shortest leash. Pesky dogs!

She planted these beans from seed and I watched in amazement as the tiniest, most pathetic little sprouts grew up so huge they ate up the chain link fence and took over the string she laced all through the tops of the re-bar posts.

BEANS! I tell ya.

Another lovely garden planted in the [whateveryoucallit]. They have a serious pumpkin crop too.

Nobody waters lawns here. Only the dandelions are still green.

This guy has a cornfield in his front yard and has also taken up the parkway (I looked it up) with tomatoes and squash.

Alley garden. This is just around the corner from the New Seasons, where we buy groceries and where Ronin feasts upon the myriad of samples they lay out on a daily basis. I love New Seasons.

This house has raised beds that spill over his property lines into the vacant lot next door. Also, he’s planted a tomato field smack in the middle of the lot.

Since we rented a real house with a real yard, we planted a garden as well. We have cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, sunburst squash, chard, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, basil, oregano, sage, chives, thyme, strawberries and raspberries that were already here and established, and a volunteer artichoke. The carrots unfortunately didn’t do well at all; maybe it is the thick clayey quality of our soil. Also, powdery mildew totally attacked the squash and lemon cucumber. I mixed some baking soda in water w/a little dishsoap and oil and killed it and now the squash is doing well. The lemon cucumber was pretty severely disabled and though it is producing cucumbers, they are small and sparse.

The strawberries, tomatoes, and raspberries. The tomatoes are just now ripening and we’re going to have a second crop of raspberries in a few weeks. Ronin loves raspberries provided they come directly off the bush; if you try to feed her fruits (blueberries, plums, whatever) in the house, she shuns them. Therefore, we have to go back out and pretend to pull them off the bush if we want her to eat them.

8 Comments on “Gardens en route to the grocery store”

  1. Gramma Peg says:

    Wow—everything looks so lush. I am jealous. My Arizona vegetable garden did produce a lot of tomatoes and chili peppers. We had a lot of the golden tomatoes and they were so sweet. But the melons, squash and beans were a bust. I think the grasshoppers got them—stripped them clean. I want to visit your neighborhood—-I love all the gardens. There is NOTHING like a home-grown tomato. Nothing. Enjoy! Love, Gramma Peg

  2. Michelle says:

    Were there pictures with this? I mean, the descriptions do the job nicely, I just wondered if there was something wrong with my computer :) Cool neighborhood!

  3. cheryl says:

    Pooh, I didn’t get the pictures either. What’s up? The gardens do sound dreamy though. No such gardens in Alaska that I’ve seen.
    Love you three,
    Grandma Cheryl

  4. jeff says:

    Ronin is just off and checkin out the plants and wanderin on down the side walk.
    I’m in Tennessee at cuba landing on gipsea. I will be back in Asustin sunday maybe i will fly to oregon.

  5. cheyenne says:

    Oops.. Hopefully it works now. Forgot a slash in the html and some browsers may have been tripped up.

  6. Ginger says:

    Oh looks luscious as you say…. our growing season is of course much hotter and much earlier but we did get some killer tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, and cucumbers. Enjoy the summer and especially enjoy that bundle of energy! She is so precious and full of personality. Celine is still the light of my every day. We recently went to the beaches of Florida and she took off to the water faster than me and loved the sand! Thinking of getting a sandbox in my depressing backyard. We did move out and are renting as well! Celine, despite my efforts, is repeating EVERY word she hears and it’s mostly english. Urgh. Her abuela is going to very dissapointed when she comes this fall. If my dad and Cheryl spend any length of time back home, we may come visit. Have an awesome August!


  7. Michelle says:

    Yay! I can see what you are talking about finally! Very cool.

  8. julie says:

    ahh geez, i want to move to portland. Imagine a town where they grow plants on the parkway! just…wow.

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Cheyenne Weil, Joshua Coxwell