For as long as I can remember I've been an enthusiastic fan of community gardens, but this year for the first time I applied for, and was granted, a plot here in a Madison suburb. I have plot #51 in the Badger Prairie Community Garden.
Those unfamiliar with community gardening can read typical guidelines here. All participants at our garden are expected to perform six hours of community service; I'll be working with the compost group on Tuesday evenings.
We are well past the last frost date, so it's time to get to work. First, there are some weeds from last year to remove...
My neighbors clearly had a head start preparing their gardens, and I didn't want my plot to become a seed bank for unwanted vegetation for them, so this afternoon I hand-tilled and hand-dug about two wheelbarrowsful of weeds, which cleared about two-thirds of the 20' x 20' plot (photo taken earlier in the process); hope to finish tomorrow.
Next I'll need to determine the planting areas and walking access, and start seeding. This past Christmas my stocking was stuffed with seed packets for dill, fennel, parsley, and carrot - all favored by the Black Swallowtail. This garden is located near a lot of undeveloped prairie and fields, so I'm hoping that swallowtails will find this cornucopia of food plants and oviposit, and that I can find the eggs or early instars before the birds and wasps do.
I'll post some followups as the summer progresses.
Weeding finished (I left a few of what I think are nonagressive daisy-like wildflowers), and about six wheelbarrowloads of compost hand-tilled into the area. Now I need to put a layer of woodchips down where I want to have my walking areas, then I'll be ready to plant the seeds. Lots of work so far, but this is the hard part; the rest will be less labor-intensive and more enjoyable.