Friday, March 23, 2007

Giving the Schedule Over to Gardening

I had meant to write about the bane of my existence--my refrigerator--in this space. Funny how the gardening side of The Slow Cook has suddenly raised its seaonal head and completely taken over.

On Wednesday I was cloistered with the ladies from the Annapolis Garden Club. My mother-in-law, who lives on the water and hangs with the garden club, had signed me up to speak about the 1,600-square-foot container garden we'd built last year at my daughter's charter school here in the District of Columbia. By way of introduction, the mistress of ceremonies was ticking off the bullet points in my bio when she stumbled over the monniker on this food blog.

“And what does that mean, exactly, ‘The Slow Cook,’?” she asked. “Is that something you do on a grill?”

"No,” I replied. “That’s more like the weekend we spent recently on our friend’s farm, killing a bunch of pigs and making sausage out of them.”

There were audible gasps. Maybe that part didn't go over so well.

But the ladies of the garden club were impressed with the show. They treated me like a rock star.

So that afternoon I drove to my new secret spot and dug up some compost for the school garden. The soil in the containers has sunk several inches since last year...

Yesterday morning I was at a Catholic elementary school with the crew from the Washington Youth Garden, which operates on the grounds of the National Arboretum. Our assignment was to bake bread with about 20 10-year-olds. It was a good lesson, teaching the kids the basics of wheat flour, yeast, proofing the yeast, techniques for mixing and kneading and then forming the dough into a small loaf. Each student wrapped their loaf in a small aluminum pan to take home and bake. I baked mine and it was delicious. The Youth Garden has invited me to join in future events, to which I say, heck yeah!

In the PM I met with two representatives of Casey Trees to discuss a public information campaign around tree boxes. Casey Trees is a non-profit that has been endowed specifically to increase the tree canopy in the District of Columbia. Being a founding member of a new gardening group--D.C. Urban Gardeners--I've been scouting public service opportunities. Tree boxes are an everywhere fact of urban life, but few people know how to treat the boxes properly and care for the trees. So we are going to be all over that with talks and slide shows.

Then I went back to my secret spot and collected another load of compost. Today I was out planting broccoli early, and now I'm getting ready to fetch still more compost. Who said making food isn't hard work? By next week, we should be ready to start planting in our schoolyard container garden...


Daphne said...

If you are looking for a source of leaf mulch, Takoma Park offers it free for pickup and very reasonably delivered - see details at:

Happy urban gardening!

Ed Bruske said...

Thanks, Daphne. I love the earth-friendly services in Takoma Park. The stash of compost I've found is more convenient for me. But I would urge anyone in our neck of the woods looking for good mulch or compost to consider Takoma Park. Next, we need to get the D.C. government on board...