I volunteer at the local domestic abuse shelter. They used to have a thriving garden program going, with a kid’s program to start the seeds, and some sort of greenhouse. It fell by the wayside because the woman who was running it from the UW Extension office lost her funding for it. I started last year, cleaning up the raised beds they had (the shelter is on the site of an old foundry – the yard is fell of slag) and weeding what got planted.

This year, the advocate who is running a self-sufficiency program for clients decided that the garden should be enlarged. ENLARGED. So a bunch of people showed up (including some teen boys from a youth intercept program and some older people from a local church, which I really shouldn’t say because they are not that much older than I am) and dug up across the yard, probably 25 x 50, and a three foot strip along one edge, and back behind the rhubarb, and planted flowers in the beds by the house, and planted a bunch of tomatoes (poorly – I had to replant them all – all 40) and then left.

So, all the weedish stuff got tilled into the dirt, and the guys running the tiller really didn’t get what was up (I thought the tiller was going deeper than it was – remember the slag?), and here I am, weeding. Which was okay for a while, because when it was cooler I had a chance against the weeds. But a lot of what I planted washed out in the bad storms we had, and there was a big hole where the bunnies could get in to eat all except for ONE bean plant out of two packets, and all but Eight out of a big packet of peas, and one type of corn barely germinated and the other only got about 50%. And then it got hot, and I stayed in the basement for a week. Or was it ten days?

Did I mention I’m pretty much the only one weeding?

So, I got out there yesterday. Those tomatoes we were going to mercy kill three weeks ago? Setting fruit. The squash that we were going to replace? Ten foot vines. The corn? Was up and going, and grew inches from yesterday till today. Lettuce? Harvested a big salad’s worth today. And the rageddy raspberries and blackberries that I whacked back by 2/3’s last fall?

Just the first picking.

It always amazes me that you can just stick some poor spindly thing in scratchy rocky clayey soil, and it still gets up to grow.

I’ve been really pushing the solar dyeing thing to the advocate. I’m hoping to get some dye plants into the garden next spring. It should take with her, because she’s been working on teaching the group to make quilts. Or am I the only one who sees quilting as a gateway drug? Starting next Thursday, I’m going to start teaching the group how to knit. There should only be three or four people. We’ll see how that goes.

Big glass jars, anybody? ETA!!! Oh, wait! What I really need is knitting needles! What was I thinking? If you have any spares in size 7 or 8, I’d really appreciate them. I’ll spring for postage, even.