I checked in on our community garden plot yesterday. It wasn’t pretty. The cover crop never sprouted, so the soil was mostly bare. The collards, beets, kale and lettuces looked to be on life support; don’t be fooled by the photo. I threw the broccoli and chard plants into the compost heap and stared at the sad-looking patch for a while. When we took over in April ’07, the ground was a gorgeous, crumbly, rich blackness. We’ve since grown two seasons of crops and the soil needs to be replenished. But re-planting the cover crop now would mean forgoing a number of long-anticipated spring vegetables.


Well, I went ahead and planted the fava bean seed I’d brought, thinking that the nitrogen-fixing plants might enrich the soil somewhat. I decided we could add some homemade compost at a later date and then plunged ahead with planting arugula, spinach, and golden beets — obviously I have more to learn about patience. On my way out, I stopped to admire the lush mustard greens and leeks in the food bank plots. I’ll want to retrieve that mental image for use in planning next winter’s beds.