Monday, April 4, 2016

C is for... Community Gardens and Cambodian Crab Shacks

Welcome! Today is a double feature.  VanillaBean here first on Community Gardens:

Having lived in city apartments for several years now, garden space has been more an imaginary luxury than a practical possibility.  Add in allergies...and I've been living vicariously through friends and family, trying my hand at window sill herbs (which never seem to make it more than a few months), and getting tasty meals of veggies from my sister Madame Blueberry/tinbugs (brussel sprouts, broccoli,tomatoes,..) or my mom Quiltpeaces (sweet corn, kale, potatoes, garlic, lazy beans....) when I head home to visit them.  Until this year!

This year the allergies have been much improved, and I had heard about a local Community Garden.  My friend Copper Penne and I headed down a few weeks ago to take a look and do a bit of garden dreaming. Could we? Should we? The garden turned out to be quite lovely, set back from the road in rolling green lawns as part of a 35 acre Fransciscan Ministries/Convent property.  After that the question became--were there any plots left?  We were very lucky! and were able to rent a 10'x20' foot garden plot.  It was the very last one they had available for this year, and we were feeling quite thrilled to get it.  Oh the things that we can grow in our new garden.  We have been making lists, drawing layouts, and scouting out seed packets for the past two weeks while we waited for our official garden plot number.
A first view of our garden plot.

We headed to see our plot first thing Saturday morning, to take a look and get started.  Looks like our plot grew potatoes last year.  The straw last year's gardener left spread over the garden kept the weeds to a minimum. Mostly just a few dandelions and clumps of mint to dig out!  Copper Penne's son Polvo made short work of getting it mostly cleared, and CP and I spent another hour finishing up and just enjoying being outside on a windy Saturday. Next up, to see if we can use their tiller to work up the ground.  It was a bit too wet to do much yesteray.  By the way if you are looking for seeds of the budget friendly variety, I'd recommend checking out your local dollar stores. We found quite a nice selection of non-GMO, heirloom seeds for $0.25 cents a pack at Dollar Saver and Family Dollar.  I'd recommend going soon though, the selection was dwindling fast!

A Collection of Seeds

Ready for tilling.  Thanks, Polvo!

A note from Madame Blueberry on Cambodian Crab Shacks:

The letter "C" makes me think of the crab shacks in Kep, Cambodia along the coast of the Gulf of Thailand.  When I looked out the window at the snow Sunday morning, I would have preferred to be walking along the beach in search of a good crab dinner.  If you ever get to Kep, enjoy some crabs for me...and if you have a hankering for stingray, it seems they serve that too --- though it is not listed on the menu, I guess you just have to be in the know.

Cooking the crabs.
Kep is known for its crabs.

Dinner with a view.


  1. I'm 100% in favour of community gardens. Yours sounds like what is called 'allotments' in UK and Ireland - a large plot on which individuals are allotted a single plot to garden as they please. Community gardens are more likely to take thee form of a large plot on which everyone mucks in (excuse the pun!) sharing the work and the produce.
    Look out for my forthcoming contribution under 'G'.
    Frank Parker’s Author Site

    1. So interesting! Thanks for sharing that. This one is a little bit of a mix of that actually, in that, while all the gardeners have their own plots, there are also several larger shared plots we all help with. The veggies from those plots then go to a local food bank.

  2. Nice! I've resorted to container gardening on my tiny balcony, but nothing beats the smell of warm, damp earth while gardening. I've thought about the local community gardens, but I'm just not quite sold on doing it myself. I'd rather have plants I can see and enjoy daily. Good luck with your experience! I hope it goes well.

    1. Thanks! Me too :) Good luck with the container gardening. I tried brussel sprouts in containers last year, but they didn't get enough sun through my windows. Lots of leafy height, but not one brussel sprout! Hopefully the gardening outdoors will go a bit smoother.

  3. Congratulations and best of luck with your new garden!

    @ScarlettBraden from
    Frankly Scarlett

  4. Your ideas are fabulous and I love your pictures. Thank you.
    Visiting from the A to Z Blog Challenge.

    Patricia @ EverythingMustChange

    1. Thanks Pat! So glad you enjoyed visiting our blog. We have been having fun so far too.

  5. Anxious to make it to visit, so you can show me your garden plot, perhaps I can find a free weekend and drag the Colonel with me.

    1. Yay!! Looking forward to seeing you soon. Although, maybe you want to wait to visit till a bit later in the spring or summer when I actually get some seeds in the ground and plants coming up!