How it all started... 07/19/2013

OSH Gardening blog:
The highs and lows of growing our own food.

The following posts are a series written by Katie about being a member of NFI's Garden Education Program for the 2013 season (May through September). She will be sharing her thoughts on the experience over the next few months.

For some time now I have been slightly obsessed with the grow-local movement.  My parents have been avid gardeners for years, coaxing amazing things from the desert environment I grew up in with a lot of perseverance and years of composting - to this day I have a hard time throwing vegetable scraps in the trash.  I’m a sucker for a good local food movement book (Omnivore’s Dilemma, Animal Vegetable Mineral, The Good Food Revolution, etc), and I also wanted to explore how OSH could help serve as a community resource for others interested in growing their own food in an environmentally responsible way.  

So when Neighborhood Farm Initiative approached OSH to sponsor a home brew competition fundraiser back in March it was an easy sell.  NFI is about as grow-local as it gets, and we had recently started selling home brew supplies at OSH.  It was a fun event with surprisingly great beer – the DC area home brew culture is really coming into its own.   While there, we learned about NFI’s Adult Organic Garden Education Program.

NFI offers this course every year - it includes a plot at Fort Totten’s Mamie D. Lee community garden for the season, basic tools, and a hands-on learning program from May through September.  The yard at our condo, like much of Mount Pleasant, is fairly small and most of it is too shady for vegetable gardening, so a community garden plot is a great option for many of us.  The tricky part can be finding one with available spaces.  I had contemplated enrolling in a master gardener program instead, but one reason NFI created the course was that the founders realized the Master Gardener courses were mostly book work, and they thought it would be beneficial to have a hands-on experience to learn as you grow and reap the benefits of your efforts.     

The first class was held on a rainy day in May, and the first few weeks were dedicated to preparing our 12 foot by 12 foot plots.  Even though NFI had already taken care of much of the heavy lifting, this was more work than I anticipated.  Lots of weeding, digging, wood chipping, soil mounding and composting, etc. 

Finally though, the plot was ready for the fun part – the planting…

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