Those who believe they can do something are probably right — and so are those who believe they can't. – Unknown
I was talking to a neighbor the other day, and was temporarily caught up short. We live in a condominium The condominium is one of those rare ones that are lucky enough to sit right in the middle of a double-sized city lot. We were talking about ecology and about the feasibility of growing a small community garden – nothing fancy, a few tomato plants, some lettuce, garlic, radishes and herbs. .
"We can't do that," my neighbor said.
"Why not?" I asked.
"Well, you know they won't grow. And, if they do grow, the rabbits and the neighbors will take them anyway."
"May be," I said trying not to laugh out loud.
When I moved into this condominium eight years ago, it was a typical city property with two maples and expanses of grass and weeds. The first attempt at growing any respectable plants was less than productive. The daisies, just weren't happy. There was too much shade on one side of the building and we didn't understand that plants have a way of choosing where they will thrive. But with a bit of research, tilling, selective planting, coaxing and weeding, we managed to create a respectable flower garden. Even this early in the season we're enjoying an abundance of perennials.
"Let's do it anyway," I suggested. "If flowers can grow, surely a few vegetables will too. We have lots of sun on the west side of the building. Vegetables and herbs like sun. And there's lots of room. We don't need to put plants in traditional 'farmer rows'. The tomatoes, herbs and any other vegetables will do very nicely if we fill in the patches among the flowers that are already growing. All we'll need is a little TLC and water."
I didn't tell my neighbor that we actually did have tomatoes growing among the day lilies last year. Why spoil the fun of discovery, I reasoned.
We agreed that there was plenty of open space and we could easily put in enough plants to accommodate any rabbits and hungry passersby.
Of course, last year was a horrible year for growing tomatoes in Chicago. Even so, we had a couple handfuls of fruits. It's always possible that we won't have near the crop we'd like this year, but with any success at all, we may be pleasantly surprised this year.
So we spent the weekend planting seeds. It was nothing dramatic. Passers by probably won't even notice any difference in the general appearance of the property. But we'll be watching…and enjoying and watching Mother Nature work her magic. Better yet, we're taking one tiny step toward enabling the residents in this condominium community to enjoy nature a hidden amenity.
Will we attempt a full-fledged community garden right here on our own property next year? Perhaps.