Word of mouth locally and news reports from Britain and the US all suggest that vegetable gardening is on the rise. Marian Burros reported on the phenomenon in yesterday's New York Times. Her gleanings about who and why seem to match what one can learn by observation and conversation.
It's the price of decent produce which is the trigger, even though there are lots of other reasons (exercise, food miles) to grow your own. She even suggests that if you don't take a traveling vacation, you have more time to garden. That's one I hadn't thought of: the gardening staycation.
At the TLC community garden things are finally beginning to move. One thing I've noticed is that most of the interest seems to be among younger and older adults - and the pictures in the NY Times article illustrate this.
Water has been in at our community garden for several weeks now, and my plot is planted - at least as much as I am going to do for this spring and summer. I now have two twenty food beds. Our second heat wave has finished off the peas, and I'm letting the last of the lettuces go to seed for next year. I'd already interplanted the hot weather crops in that bed - tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, eggplant, basil - so they'll keep on chugging as I pull out the peas. There are blossoms on the tomatoes and one of the peppers has set fruit. Nights have been warm, so the tomatoes should be setting fruit also.
My second bed is planted in green and shell pole beans, summer and winter squash. It needs a top dressing of the compost which was supposed to have arrived yesterday. There was not enough on hand to do the job right, but I was eager to get my planting done. I'm determined to get a few boxes built during the summer, and do some winter cropping this year. Probably chard will go in when the beans are done, and lettuce in the smaller boxes.
Late this afternoon I am going to help water down the rest of the plots so that they can be tilled and planted soon. I don't know what those gardeners are going to do for gopher proofing - my beds are lined with wire. But we have it on good authority - from Joe Imwalle - that tomatoes can be planted as late as Bastille Day and still yield in our climate.
Meanwhile, just the act of watering for a couple hours on a hot evening seems like a good thing to do - refreshing all the way around.