Inch by Inch and Row by Row

With all the rain and spring weather, everything is exploding with green around Patchwork. The garden is planted with things like greens, corn, onions, squash, okra, potatoes, tomatoes, and (wow!) peanuts. The blackberry bush is covered in blooms that promise plenty of berries this summer, and rising above it all is our new, bright blue, double decker compost bin created from scratch by Mike.

The bin is ready for use: just add organic material to the top drum using the trap door in the back side. I’m sure the bins and the roller system for rotating them will be a highlight during Art Garden Weeks this summer. (Our summer children’s schedule is now available on our website:

Patchwork’s garden is a collaboration between many people, most of them volunteers. Our current thank you letter to Patchwork contributors includes a description of this collaboration. In the letter, Bill Hemminger says:

It was Saturday on one of our first really warm and dry weekends in March.  I had been hoping that the Patchwork garden could get readied for early spring planting, and despite a weekend full of academic work for me, I headed to 100 Washington in the mid-afternoon.  What I found there was wonderfully typical for life at Patchwork.

Mike, our Mike-of-all-trades building maintenance guy, had already arrived hours before and was busily scraping away compacted dirt that concealed the brick patio the kids and I had laid in the Meditation Garden about 15 years ago.  He had already removed sticks, trash, and bricks from the garden space and, most significantly, dug up and spread the unfinished compost from our bins that collect more trash than recyclable waste.

Our friend Pat had also gotten to the garden before me, and Pat had thoughtfully arranged (and paid) for the services of a friend (who runs a gardening business) to come, lug his very serious tiller and slowly plow up the garden spaces.  While her friend did his thing, Pat raked straw and leaves into re-usable piles, prepared seed potatoes and onions for planting, kept the working space clean (ironic in a garden of dirt).

So when I finally showed up in the company of my 13-year-old dog Pepper, who spent most of the time lying in the middle of the alley, I realized that the gargantuan task I had imagined myself working at for days could be accomplished with friendly hands in an afternoon.

It’s wonderful to have so many people to help with the garden, and it’s wonderful to offer our green space to the neighborhood.

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