community, family and I’m sorry I didn’t give you tomatoes more than once last year
I'm startled to find myself drawn into relationships with friends and relatives of friends simply by my interest in gardening. I'm startled for a few reasons. For one thing I only started my own garden two years ago. Admittedly I did force my mother to grow potatoes in Britain while we stayed there and took interest in my grandmother's canning and my grandfather's rhubarb patch/compost heap. But my adamant refusal to bag my lawn clippings and over time my acceptance of a friend's lawn clippings turned into something a bit more. I began to receive raked leaves from other friends. I got vegetable scraps from my friend's mother. And I was happy to get them all! But for the second year in a row I didn't really pay much attention to my garden. To be fair, I was broke for the first year and had no money to spend on peat moss, fertilizer or anything else. In the second year I still didn't have money, but the first year's compost had made some impact. Plus I did spend $20 on a book on gardening and decided to "mulch" with carpet that I found on the side of the road. This destroyed 75% of the weeds that destroyed me the first year. Hence I got 3 peppers and probably 30 tomatoes. Not a great return on investment but I finally had more than I could eat. So I packed up some cukes and tomatoes to my friend's house. I hope they enjoyed them. Anyhow, it's a strange sort of symbiotic relationship. I need material for my gardening desires but I mulch my own leaves and grass clippings where they stand. Great for the lawn but crap for the veggies. And where I live the city won't let you send grass clippings to the dump. So they're stucking getting friends who farm to let them dump the material in ditches. So to an extent I'm offering them a service by offering them a local place to deliver leaves to. But I must say I feel a bit of an obligation to try and give them something back. So this year I got some free strawberry plants for ordering so much via Stark Brothers. So I gave them to my friends who give me the lawn clippings. They separated the 10 plants and gave 5 to their mother who also gives me kitchen scraps for the compost heap. I also gave one of the friends a Stevia plant for Christmas. I should mention that our relationship is based on much more than what I'm outlining here. What I'm realy trying to get at is that it's interesting to me how by receiving gifts from my friends, i.e. lawn clippings, I feel that I should really find a way to give back to them. But it's a bit obfuscated by the fact that if I wasn't here they'd have to haul the lawn clippings about 30 miles away and dump them where they'd be put to no use. And this also borders on the issue of community. I am waging a war against the weeds in my lawn because I'm worried they'll spread to the neighbors lawns. Being a single guy in a blue-collar neighborhood I have nothing to talk to anyone about if it wasn't for the weeds in my yard. Again, don't think I'm unhappy about this. If I didn't have something to relate to my neighbors about then I'd just be the creepy single guy on the block.