Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Community Garden

K, my main professor, is the one we call "the man up stairs." Besides the fact that his office is one floor above the lab, he is the one we have to reckon with when things arent going well or when we have reached a hurdle in our research. "The man up stairs" is also the voice we hear in our heads when we slack off or dont work as hard as we should. Ever since V joined the department we have taken to referring to ourselves at K's "ducklings". I assume this is more figurative than literal since I personally try not to follow him around, especially when we are at professional conferences. K plays a big part in my life. We are collaborating on several projects together such as the laser ablation stuff I am working on for him at the Field Museum and the collagen extraction that has been ruling my life the last couple days. There is a more recent collaboration, however, that puts the rest to shame...

We are growing a garden in K's backyard. Ever since K suggested that we could grow things in his backyard garden this summer, we have been jokingly calling ourselves his vassals, with K as the overlord. After all, he has made us promise to give him some of the harvest. All joking aside, I was pretty excited to get the opportunity to try my hand at gardening. As a child I remember tending a garden with my parents and recall that I was particularly grossed out by the worms. I am pleased to announce that not a whole lot has changed. I am still grossed out by the bugs and would be a whole lot happier if the live things in the soil were better at pretending they were dead, at least as long as I was around.

This morning, bright and early, K rented a rototiller and we proceeded (after an enormous breakfast of banana sourdough pancakes) to get the ground ready for some plants. While K worked the tiller, V, M, and I raked the soil to rid it of the grass chunks. In the end we had a good 6 inches of loose dirt ready for tomatoes, broccoli, and peppers. We even managed to plant some arugula in a damper corner of the yard and I have high hopes for its ability to survive in the shade.

Since K is heading off to Seattle for the summer, V is going to be down in Peru for the next three months, and M is moving away permanently, I will be left here to tend the garden myself. If I water and weed frequently enough I think I will be able to keep the garden alive. I can always make an emergency call to my dad when the tomatoes start to look weary or when I have more broccoli than I know what to do with (M pointed out that all 9 broccoli plants should flower at the same time!). Depending on how things go I may add some other plants into the mix. I want to plant shallots, lima beans, golden beets, poblanos, dill and taragon. I may toss in some snap peas just for kicks.

You best believe you will be getting regular updates on both the success and failures of my gardening experience!


Pam said...

Man, you just can't keep those archaeologists out of the dirt!

Beverly said...

This is awesome! I am impressed and jealous. I, too, want to plant my own broccoli! But then can I hire someone to cut and wash them for me, and put them in nice little bags? :)