Tropical Storm Arthur ripped the leaves off my okra and bell peppers, leaving them green swizzle sticks. They started to rally, but then a nasty nocturnal bug feasted on the okras’ new leaves. Currently, they are sketchy, at best. What my grandmother would have called “so-so,” which means there’s hope, but the long-term prognosis isn’t good.
But the rest of my 100 square foot allotment at the PEI 2014 Legacy Garden thrives. I’ve been eating lettuce, radish, and green onion grown in it for weeks. And the Legacy Garden itself? The whole, big, visionary thing? It’s one of the best things going in Charlottetown. Cross my heart. I’m not fibbing.
We’ve started trading veg. Jean gave me a banana pepper in exchange for future handfuls of cilantro. She’s into salsa and has planted everything she needs for it, except cilantro, which I am going to have in abundance. It’s a win-win deal. The both of us, plus Gail, munched on fresh peas as we examined plants and discussed successful, and not so successful, experiments in growing them.
Mini-greenhouses made from clear plastic juice containers worked for me. I cut out the bottoms, removed the caps, and placed them over basil and watermelon plants. The plants that were sheltered by these small innovative hot houses survived, when bugs ate others that did not have their benefit.
That structure at the back end of my allotment is a cucumber frame made by Gary out of peeled poplar. Behind it is a section of the community garden devoted to the “Three Sisters,” which are the three main agricultural crops of many North American indigenous peoples. Beans, corn, and pumpkins are planted together in a mound. The beans run up the corn stalks, and the pumpkins spread beneath them, shading the soil and helping to retain its moisture. Imagine the hundreds of pumpkins, thousands of corn ears, and bizillions of beans come harvest time.