The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Garden Gone

December 5th, 2011 · 11 Comments · Posted in garden, Sustainability

Where once there was a garden

We sold our big house on the corner last August and the developers wasted no time. The next morning a crew was waiting at the front door to start tearing the place apart. Plans call for turning our former homer–a big brick Victorian built in 1900–into six condominiums.

We figure that’s a good use for the building, making a place for more people to live in the neighborhood. Somehow I had the idea that I would be able to continue gardening on the property at least through the end of the season. But as soon as we moved out, neighbors (and I suppose the construction crew as well) swooped in to loot our tomato and pepper plants. Now, as you can see from the photo above, the garden has completely disappeared. Years of feeding the soil with our home-made compost has vanished under  mounds of clay and construction debris.

Same view, different day

In this photo, you see what the garden used to look like when it was covered with tomato plants, beans and okra.

They put up a parking lot

The other side of the garden–where we started our first vegetable beds–has been entirely trucked away to create parking.  I had suggested to the builder that he might keep our eight garden beds as a selling point for the condos. People are still waiting in line for plots at the local community gardens. But apparently in the world of developers parking and landscaping remain the preferred options.

What it used to look like

And here’s a view of the same area a couple of years ago when we took delivery of a free truckload of compost. You can see the potato hill we built in the background. We used to grow all the salad and greens we could ever eat in this spot.

During our years of vegetable gardening on a busy urban corner we learned how cheaply we could feed ourselves and feel good about eating food we’d grown ourselves, two miles from the White House. Resuming life as consumers, rather than growers, has been quite a shock. It’s also left a huge hole in my life, not having a garden to tend.

But we don’t intend to remain garden-less for long. In fact, we have our eye on bigger and better things, but that will probably involve another move, this time to a place with more acreage. Stay tuned….

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  • Magic Cochin

    Hope you find a new plot to dig soon, Ed.

    This has made me a little bit sad… but I suppose cities are evolving all the time.


  • Lola B

    Ed! It makes me sad to drive by your old house every morning but I have faith you will create a bigger and better mega garden elsewhere soon! Hope you are well and happy holidays from the CB Crew.

  • dana appleton reitman

    So sad! But a reflection of unchangable values. Frederick was mostly farmland when we moved here. Now it’s suburban sprawl with an incinerator coming soon. That’s why I’m outta here! (My vote/voice never meant squat here, either). Bought a house in Eastport, Maine. The further away from (un)civilization the better!

  • Melissa

    Eat your lawn… hurray!

  • Ivana

    Sad commentary on the myopic vision of developers. Alas, those busy condo owners will need a place for their individual cars. I mean, what with the lack of public transportation in D.C. and all…

  • Mrs Q

    This is truly heart-breaking. Years of hard work, only to be dashed. Paved over for a parking lot indeed. Unfortunately, they will grow wise only later.
    You will garden again. You are still amazing.

  • Pattie

    Oh, Ed. I am just speechless. I can only imagine how this makes you feel.

  • Ed Bruske

    Pattie, we actually had some hope that the developer would preserve some of the garden space as a sellilng point for the condos. Who knows. Maybe when the knew owners learn what was there, they will restore the gardens. There’s a lot of fine soil under that clay you see in the photos.

  • Ed Bruske

    Sarah, I’m really at loose ends without my garden. But I’m sure we will collect ourselves and move on to something even bigger and better. But it won’t be in our current location. The best I can do for the moment is compost in a trash can.

  • Pattie

    Can you get involved in a community or school garden? I think it could help bridge the gap for a little awhile, and you have so much knowledge to share.

  • Dukan

    Hi Ed

    I pop by from time to time to catch up with what you have been writing about and always find something new like the Norwegian Lefse. I’m a great believer that as one door shuts another opens and I’m sure your new plot will put the old one in the shade.