Since I am going to be giving regular updates regarding the BMLA Victory Garden I figured it might be best to take a step back and revisit how the Victory Garden came into existence in the first place.  As you can see, there was nothing…literally.  An empty lot adjacent to the entrance to the office.

Throughout the years plans had been put forth and then forgotten.  The idea of a BMLA Victory Garden had always been one of them and in April 2009 things finally came together and the office began planning and working in earnest.  Given the rocky, hard packed nature of the site as well as a total lack of grading or irrigation we had our work cut out for us.  Initial prep and construction took an entire day of basically just churning up dirt and getting rid of rocks.  At the end of that day though we had delineated planting beds with moderately good, prepped soil and a basic drip irrigation system hooked up to the office’s electronic controller.

Planting and site improvements dominated the next few weeks as seeds and plants went into the ground, mulch was laid, and we even mulched the footpaths to avoid walking in the dusty ground.  The list included sweet corn, bell peppers, chili peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant, pumpkins, watermelon, bush (string) beans, artichoke, sunflowers, onions, garlic, radishes, herbs, and other assorted produce.

Obviously as one would hope with any garden….things grew.  We added structures for those plants that could use some support and a compost bin in the back corner where we could dispose of the garden’s waste.  We spent lunches weeding, picking, observing, and always improving the garden. The picture below right is how the garden looked towards the end of the summer in 2009 before we started pulling plants out to be replaced by winter growing vegetables.  Everything except the sweet corn produced in astounding quantities.  Plenty was learned to be put into effect in the spring of 2010.

The Victory Garden was such a success that it was decided to make it a more permanent part of the site beginning this summer.  Everything except two artichoke plants were ripped out…nothing else remained from the previous year.  Raised beds would be built and a more advanced and permanent irrigation system would be installed.  Again, we took an entire day and constructed almost everything.  Digging trenches, laying PVC pipe, installing electronic valves, building raised planters and then filling them in with a small mountain of dirt made for an exhausting time.  It all got done though and we finished the drip irrigation system soon afterwards after thoroughly testing all the systems out.

The site is almost almost complete at this point.  There’s still another planting bed to complete, but all the rest are complete and planted.  We’ve got everything from last year and added a couple of new additions this year…blueberries and raspberries specifically.  After over a year we’re also beginning to harvest artichokes from the two plants remaining from 2009.  There is sure to be lots more work, improvements, and growth in the coming weeks.  Now you know the background…I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated.

Please stay tuned and check back often.

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