Monday, June 10, 2013

Community gardens and Snapping Turtles

Community Gardens and Snapping Turtles

Community Gardens

Community Gardens (or Allotment Gardens) seem to fall into one of three catagories.

Gardens in cities tend to be small.  Garden plots of 8 feet by 8 feet (64 square feet) are common since dimension lumber is typically 8 feet long.  The soil in the city is often parking lot gravel so raised beds make a lot of sense.  The gardeners gravitate toward flavorings to make their diet more interesting.  Hot peppers, chives, garlic, onions, tomatoes and many herbs like basil and rosemary are typical.

Gardens in suburbs tend to be medium sized.  400 square feet is pretty typical.  They grow all the 'flavorings' and add broccoli, green beans, leaf lettuce, sweet corn, zucchini, and pumpkins.  Incidentally, pumpkins are the spawn of the devil.  They have no manners or sense of private property.  They are also magnets for vandals.

The third category is the modern incarnation of the Victory Garden.  That is a garden that is expected to provide a substantial portion of the families calories.  So add potatoes, winter squash, more corn, cabbage and cool weather greens.  Victory Gardens were templated at 2000 square feet and that is still a good size in the mid-West.

My sister coordinates a medium sized community garden.  The plots are 400 square feet. and it has about 10 plots.  My sister offered me a portion of it.  I gladly accepted because my garden is getting shady due to the fruit trees that were planted in it.  I put in a "crop" of tomatoes.

With no further ado, here are the pictures.  You can click on them to enlarge them.

Overview.  The stumps are convenient work tables, beverage holders and places for tired, old retired guys to sit.

Tomatoes and weeds.  Too wet to till.  Tomato plants yellowed due to holding too long in the seedling trays.

Flavoring type garden.  Notice the wealth of tilled in leaves.  Probably the work of Uncle Festus and Nephew Max.

Snapping Turtles

This old girl felt an urgent need to dig in the warm, moist earth

This was in the center of the gravel road near the garden.  She was trying to lay eggs.  Can you see the heart?

We saw three of those monster, Snapping Turtles.  One was digging a nest in a corn field.  The corn will shade the nest and the eggs may fail at incubation.  If they do hatch, they will likely all be males.  It is an odd quirk, but the gender of turtle hatchlings is determined by incubation temperature with cooler temperatures making boys and warmer temps making girls.

Turtles may be scary but they sure are dumb.

PT update:

Fail.  Roads too sloppy to run.  Managed 10 sit-ups but it hurt.  Same with push-ups.

I get solace from Screwtape's "Biggest Lie", There is always tomorrow.


  1. When I lived in the country, I had a quarter acre garden. Tomatoes and peppers, of course, but also purple-hull peas, snap beans, okra, things like that. However, one year my wife wanted zucchini. I planted three small hills of zucchini near the treeline, and I'll never be so weak as to do that again. That zucchini took off, climbed trees, covered two acres. I had zucchini hanging from trees. It was terrible. Like Jack and the Beanstalk gone horribly wrong.

    1. Thank-you for reading and taking the time to reply.

      A quarter acre is definitely a man-sized garden.

      Zucchini is a metaphor for monetary hyper-inflation. How can anything that doubles in size over night have any substance or sustain life? The old joke is, "You know it is zucchini season when country folk start locking their doors."