Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Communal Insanity

I'm officially declaring myself insane. As some of you know we have been looking for a house to move to in East Arlington for the last year and a half. We like the location. It is within walking distance to the subway system, near the buses, near the bike path, and near a group of my friends. It seems like a perfect location. The problem is that East Arlington has tiny little houses and multi family houses and tiny lots. None of which we want. I wouldn't mind a smaller house and a smaller lot, but not tiny. And unless we know the people, I really don't want to live in a multi family house. We might not get along. I hear stories of not getting along and having to move. Don't worry I'm getting to the gardening part. I swear.

There are houses in the area that are fine for us, but they just haven't come on the market. I figure eventually we will get a house. Which of course got me to thinking. Most of the houses come on the market in the spring and summer. The typical time to move is summer after the garden is all up and running. I would hate moving out of my garden in its prime. I wouldn't be able to save any of my seed and wouldn't be able to can any tomatoes. So you see my problem. If we get lucky with a house, I get unlucky with my garden.

So I finally did it. I signed up for a community garden. If we haven't signed any papers by the end of May it will get planted in dried beans and hullless oats. If I have signed papers I can plant it with my tomatoes, squash, peppers and yes my beloved dried beans.

Finding a community garden was problematic. The one in Winchester is a postage stamp. For the longest time I was sure it was just someones garden from the fire department since it is on the same land. Even if I got in, the plots are way too small. Arlington only lets Arlington residents in, which I'm not yet and it has no water. Lexington (which abuts both Winchester where I live and Arlington) has two gardens and does let nonresidents in, but again they have no water. You might not think water is important with all the wet weather we have (we average 4" a month), but August tends to be spotty in rain. The last two years we have had 2-3 week stretches without a drop.

So I had to look farther afield. I thought being convenient to Arlington was more important than Winchester since a stand of dried beans and oats don't require a lot of attention. Belmont is right next to Arlington and their victory gardens are only 15 minutes from my house. They have water and they allow nonresidents to apply, though residents get the first option. So it seems to be my only reasonable choice. I applied. I wonder how far down the waiting list I am. And whether I have any shot at it at all. I know they had a large waiting list last year.

So I'm insane to try for yet another garden, but I did. I'm guessing the odds of actually getting a spot are slim, but you can't do it if you don't try.


  1. Best of luck in your search. I think you did the only sane thing an insane person could do, if that's any solace to you.

  2. You know, I think that the blogger from SKippy's vegtable garden has her plot there as well...that is if it's the same Belmot Victory gardens.

  3. Man, things just ain't cooperating - are they? I wish a gardener such as yourself would buy the house next door to me, because it's a really nice spot. Besides, I wouldn't want some hoodlums buying it. Maybe your search will pay off soon.....

  4. I hope you find your house and plot too! Maybe you can twist Kathy's arm :-) I definitely would not settle, moving is such a pain and that pain is just prolonged if everything is not just right. Our houses yard is entirely to small and there is a shared drive with a now duplex next door. Nightmare! The country is a'callin.... hopefully sooner then later!

  5. Wow that IS an dilemma. I hope you get a plot in the community garden. Then you will have all your bases covered. Good luck with the house search.

  6. I agree with Dan, don't just settle!!! That is so strange about shared houses. I mean we have them here, but usually they are full of uni students not families! Best of luck in your search.

  7. I think you should ditch the whole Arlington thing, and head on down to Bridgewater. We have lots of land and could always use another great gardener!

  8. Two to three week stretches with no water... we can go months without it, which is why we have the washing machine water (and top ups) going to the veg patch. Good luck with your housing problem!

  9. Good luck with your search for the perfect property. I can understand your issues with the timing. When we left our old house in England (in June 2007) I had planted up my vegetable garden even though I knew I wouldn't be there to harvest it. Trouble was, nor was anyone else - the house didn't sell until the following February. It was heartbreaking to return and clear away the remnants of the uneaten and untended vegetables in the late fall of 2007, but I was so hooked on growing food that it would have been much worse not to be able to grow anything in the spring.

    Insane? Yep!

  10. Best of luck with your house and garden hunting. I know how you feel, once my husband and I decided to move it took us 2 1/2 years to make it happen. It was difficult to plant a garden not knowing if I would get to do the harvesting. I kept planting vegetables, I just can't NOT do it! You will find what you're looking for.

    I chuckled at the 2 to 3 week stretches without rain, like Jan we go for months without it. It's amazing to me that there are places where you can grow a garden without laying down a tangle of drip lines.

  11. I wish you the best of luck Daphne! These are tough decisions to make and the loss of a growing year would be tough for any of us to have to bear.

    Hopefully, you will find your dream house.

  12. Keeping my fingers crossed for you that the gardening gods will smile favorably upon you and land you both the perfect house to purchase (with wonderful soil and sun exposure!) AND a plot of your own in the community garden!

  13. Not insane, just an avid gardener. Considering the garden while moving seems to me small beans compared the the much larger ramifications of where you will be living for years to come. The community garden you describe does sound perfect. Water is very important, but five gallon buckets work well for transporting the stuff too. Good luck!:-)

  14. "Insane" is such a hard word. . . how about "forward thinking" or "enthusiastic"?

    I wonder how many oats one would get per square foot? Hmmmmmmm.

    Good luck -- moving is a stress.

  15. JP, Gardening does protect my sanity even if I do some crazy thing with it at times.

    Ribbit, Yes Kathy has a spot there. Maybe I'll get to join her.

    EG, lol I'd love having you as a neighbor. I'd beg you to help me with projects ;>

    Dan, yeah we have a very nice house here. It was perfect to bring up kids in since it is a very safe neighborhood and the schools are great. We just want to be closer in to the city now. We would love to move in time to grab the solar incentives we have right now. They might expire before we find one. I find it funny that you are wanting to move farther out into the country and I'm wanting to move closer in.

    GrafixMuse, thanks.

    prue, we won't settle. Well we might. We would expand our search. I just wish the subway went up to Arlington Heights, but Arlington didn't want the subway system. Just a little farther west of where I'm looking has some great houses with more than enough land, but I don't want to walk much farther than 1 mile to the subway.

    The Mom, lol no I want to get closer to the city.

    Jan, we are a very wet area.

    Amanda, last time I moved (almost 19 years ago) I had a nice veg garden, but the people who moved in (the day after we moved out) loved it. They were excited to be moving in to a house with a garden already in place. It would be so sad to let it all wither and die, but I know it might happen.

    Michelle, I don't have to water very often except for transplants or pots. We almost always have rain every week. But sometimes you get those hot dry stretches. I think about drip irrigation all the time, but then don't. Maybe at my next house. It would be nice to have, but not as essential as where you and Jan live.

    Thomas, kitsapFG, thanks.

    Frances, I'm not supposed to life heavy things. I do occasionally but I'm not supposed to, so pails with water wouldn't work well for me.

    Stefaneener, lol yup very enthusiastic. I have no clue. Once about 20 years ago I grew a tiny (think a couple square feet) of wheat just to do it. But growing my own oatmeal would be fun. With out a scythe it might be a bit hard to harvest, but I'd figure out a way.

  16. daphne - I'd love your blog even if it didn't have dandelions in the title - so it will be of no surprise to you that I've given you an award.
    Here is what the Kreativ Blogger Award asks you to do. If you can’t do all of it, don’t worry; the award is still yours!
    1. Copy the creative blogger logo from my blog onto a post in your blog.
    2. Link to me in that post.
    3. Mention seven things about you and/or your blog that might be of interest.
    4. Mention (and link to) seven other blogs you like.
    I had fun doing this and I hope you will too.

  17. Commonweeder, thanks so much. If I get the time for it I'll follow through. I don't promise anything right now though.

  18. Hi Daphne, a little late commenting on this point. Definitely get on those waiting lists and find out if you can do anything (like work hours as we do at my garden) to get a higher spot on the waiting list. With all your knowledge you'd be a great asset to a community garden community.

    And good luck finding a house or condo with a yard in Arlington. It's not that easy, with the density and trees. My in-laws live in Arlington but they seem to have too much shade so they grow mainly shade flowers.