Friday, April 24, 2009

Community gardener check-in: Daniela

This season I've been trying to make good on my original mission to highlight the efforts of my fellow gardeners.  Like some bloggers, I have been shy about revealing my body of work and even more hesitant to shine the Internet spotlight on others.  Yet as I was thinning my lettuce and spinach yesterday and realizing that dull and un-postworthy those activities were, some new material walked through the gate: Daniela and three of her four children, including her newest, born last November and snuggling comfortably in her mother's sling.

Although I run into Daniela from time to time and my daughter and one of her sons once participated in JP Children's Soccer together, this was the first time in about two years I had actually caught her tending her plot.  "So are you going to write about me?" she immediately asked after I told her about the blog.  She is no stranger to the medium, maintaining her own blog read by family members, including those in her native Switzerland, so she had no issue with being the subject of today's post.

Her main tasks yesterday included thinning out her garlic (shown above), which has been growing in her plot for the past three years, and her strawberries.  She also planted carrot seeds and prepared an area for salad greens.  The radishes she started two and a half weeks ago (below) are progressing nicely (by the way, if you are curious about what that generally looks like, check this out).  When I first glanced at the shape of the leaves, my immediate reaction was: bindweed?  Since the warnings about the spread of this unwanted invasive, I've become a little obsessed.  With the exception of the radishes and garlic, her plans resemble mine, with zinnias, tomatoes, and broccoli or brussel sprouts on the way.  
I have known Daniela since she started gardening at the old stable garden in 2002, and she has always been one of those women about which I wonder, "How does she do it?"  Not only has she been able to forge a multilingual existence in a new country, but raise and homeschool her kids.  And make it look so easy.  I had forgotten to ask if the garden had a role in her curriculum.  After seeing Elias, her oldest, pull wayward strawberry runners without being prompted, I wouldn't be surprised if some of her instruction took place here.

Although she misses having a much larger plot in the old garden, Daniela believes that the reconstructed Minton Stable Garden is an improvement, because more gardeners can participate.  The location of her plot--it's the one on the corner closest to the shed--is also ideal.  Her baby can lie in the grass across the path and her other kids have a safe common area nearby where they can run around.


Bryan Bunch said...

I didn't know you can leave garlic in the ground and just thin it from time to time--although I should have guessed that it would be like a tulip or daffodil. When I grow it, every two or three years recently, I aim to plant it on the shortest day of the year and harvest it on the longest (old advice for garlic growers; but usually I plant it in November and harvest in July. It is an extremely worthwhile plant. Maybe I will try growing it as a perennial.

Allison said...

I hadn't thought about the fact that garlic is a bulb, either. Of course, we have lots of volunteer scallions throughout our gardens around the house. Still, garlic didn't occur to me.

Say, "hi" to Daniela for me. (As if she isn't talented enough, she's a knitter, too!)