One of the cutest things I’ve ever seen is the teeny-tiny baby watermelon in the picture below. And I grew it!
For two years my gardening partners and I (Denise Bentley in 2014 and Ann Strebler this year) have participated in the TSU Community Garden near my house in the Hadley Park neighborhood. It’s a space that is my zen sanctuary, private organic grocery, and favorite place to meet new people. We’re not a neat and tidy, mulched-paths and compulsively-labeled kind of garden. In fact by August, most of the over 70 garden plots have more weeds than vegetables. It is, however, a very friendly place where anyone will strike up a conversation with you about “howareyourtomatoesdoing?’ or the poundage of the sweet potatoes they just dug up.
There are lots of aspects of a community that contribute to its “melting pot” quality, and I am here to tell you that community gardens are high up on that list. Many folks who could grow plenty of fruits and vegetables at home find they prefer being part of a community where learning and sharing with fellow gardeners is an integral part of their gardening experience. Sure you have to drive a bit and haul stuff with you to do your gardening—it’s not in your backyard—but then again, neither are the new friends you’ll make.
The 2015 season will continue until late November. We’re now growing broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, turnips and salad greens for the Fall. Ann and I are debating whether one plot instead of two will be enough for next year: are six tomato plants enough, do we really need to grow melons and how much kale can two households really consume? All vital questions for 2016.
When I lived in Boston and Washington, DC I frequently visited the nearby community gardens and now I am proud Nashville has a wide variety of gardens, with more becoming available every year, to offer newcomers. If you’re interested in joining in the fun next year at TSU, let me know and I’ll get you more information. Then you, too, could be the proud parent of an adorable baby watermelon.
– Kate Monaghan
Note: Here's a link to a map of Nashville community gardens http://www.tnstate.edu/faculty/jdekoff/maps/community.aspx to help you explore what might be available in your neighborhood.