Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Garden trip #1 - checking the plot out by trike

Monday, May 9th dawned and, by golly, it wasn't raining, neither was it excessively windy and it wasn't even cloudy. Finally, I thought, I can get up to the allotment garden plot Helena and I rented for the season.

Getting there was a lot simpler than I had thought, despite my having reviewed the route thanks to Google Maps street view. I was to meet Helena at the plot for 11:00 am and the purpose of this gathering was to survey the plot itself to see what condition it was in and to plan the next step...when to plant.

Conventional wisdom here says not to plant anything before the May long weekend and I agree with that. Planting anything, really, before that starting weekend is a risky venture as a late (very) season frost is not out of the question. The only sniggly issue for me was how to transport the de-thatching rake I never use here at home but would certainly need up there. Adam came to the rescue there by offering to bungee cord the rake to the frame of his mountain bike and come up with me to the garden. Besides, he had said over a lovely breakfast, he wanted to see the plot himself.

So, around 9:48 am, we left, I on my beloved and trusty Catrike and Adam on his equally trusty mountain bike. It was mid morning so the rush hour traffic, such as it was, had thinned out quite a bit. Our route to the Kilborn allotment garden did involve us cycling along a few streets but these were mostly suburban ones so there was little in the way of - uh - cycle/car interactions. Mostly, we zoomed along the bike path from Cahill to the Greenboro branch of the Ottawa Public Library. That got us to Lorry Greenberg and, before long, the corner of it and Conroy.

There is a wide bike path cum sidewalk on the west side of Conroy Road which we took and very easily slid north to where Conroy ends at Walkley. We couldn't cross Walkley on the west side so we did have to cross Conroy to get to the right place. A few seconds later, we rode through the intersection and immediately found ourselves back on the bike path which turns out to be more of a hydro right-of-way. No matter, it was paved with a welcoming yellow line identifying it as a perfectly usable bike path.

The end of that particular pathway met up with Kilborn Avenue, itself a quiet suburban road even though buses and trucks do use it. No matter, on that quiet Monday morning, there was nary a soul about so we had less than no problems at all whatsoever getting into the allotment gardens. Our plot is on the north side and as we had entered from the south did get to survey some of the others who were already there and digging through the sodden but workable mess.

I found my Catrike worked perfectly here. The route to get to the garden involves so little in the way of dealing with cars that I found I was more able to just enjoy the trip though that's not to say I don't enjoy any of my trips because I do. It is just that some ventures are a little more - uh - tense than others. It's the difference between driving a set distance on a quiet and enjoyable road in perfect weather conditions and driving that same route at night during a raging freezing rain and blizzard conditions.

We met up with Helena, organized our shed (which we also rented for the season), met a couple of the other suburban farmers and then took a good long and serious look at the plot itself. I know I have about 500 square feet of space (20'x25') to work with but it's a different thing altogether to see it in its full, un-snowy glory. When Helena and I first looked at the plot, it was during the earliest of spring and during the last gasps of winter. Dirty crusty ice and sodden bone chilling ponds dotted the squishy ground as we had delicately tip-toed around the place. I figured that, once we got to start the actual gardening, that the place would look a little less foreboding. More importantly, I figured it would be easier to get to.

Happily, I was right!


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