Monday, October 22, 2007

Victory Garden

There used to be this show on Public TV, back when I was a kid, called "The Victory Garden." I don't remember much about it, other than this old coot who grew absolutely enormous tomatoes. It was usually a pretty clear signal that it was time to turn the dial (back in those pre-clicker days) and find something more interesting. Say, UnderDog.

Then last spring a couple of teens from the church brought me a proposal for a community garden. It was great! They'd researched possible crops, and growing techniques, and rounded up a team of their friends to share the labor, and were all ready to build this garden and do something really neat for the community. The church had been making noises for years about how great it would be do to something like this, if only we had a team of people interested in taking charge of it. So I figured, Bingo! We made plans to rent a sod cutter and buy some seeds, and I went to the church council with the plans. Council thought it was just great, too, and I told the girls that we were ready to get started. Somehow, we started to call it the Victory Garden. Aside from the guy with the huge tomatoes, I seem to remember this was something people did in World War II, planting a garden in their yard to increase production for the war effort. So now we're making war on hunger - get it?

But then human nature crept in. Council wanted the Administration Committee to bless the project too, since it did involve "buildings and grounds" and there had been some previous squabbling about who among the church committees were in charge of "buildings and grounds." Admin was worried that a garden wouldn't look nice, and then someone felt they'd been insulted, and then nothing happened at all for weeks and weeks, then someone thought the whole thing had been approved ("Didn't we tell you?"), and then someone else said that they needed to consider it for another month or so . . . . And then we were way past spring, into the drought part of summer, and the original team of teens had thrown up their hands in disgust and walked away. A completely justified move, in my opinion. But the battle lines had changed in our little war, and I thought it profoundly depressing.

But I'm stubborn. (You knew that about me, right?) So even when it became clear that 2007 was not going to be a gardening year, I hated to give up the whole thing. And when a couple of others on Council took up the banner and marched forward again, I fell into step. So two weeks ago Council and Admin sat down at the same table to work some things out, and we all agreed that we are going to do this garden. We made an announcement in church, and showed the landscaping plan off to a few people, and started to get enthusiastic responses. Scott Haefs had run a sod cutter before, and was willing to take charge of that effort. Steve Klock knows a lot about planting sustainable landscapes through his work at the DNR. Kurt K. (whose last name I solemnly pledge to learn soon) has a source for a couple of donated 100 gallon rain barrels and is designing a soaker system for the garden.

I'm still a little intimidated by the amount of work involved. I mean, I'm going to have to figure out exactly how this should all be organized - who will work each garden plot, the logistics of getting food delivered once it has been grown and harvested, etc., etc., etc. And frankly, I'm not much of a gardener.

Also, I'm starting to shy away from the "Victory Garden" name. I don't want to battle other people to make this happen. I want it to be a place of sunshine and harmony and common goals.

But doesn't it look nice, with the sun shining on the newly turned sod?