olive learns all about gardening

In the past few weeks I have been busy with the winding down of gallery season at The Chazan Gallery, and beginning my new job at Garden Endeavors where I will be assisting a talented team of landscape architects and horticulturists with fine gardening and landscaping jobs in and around Newport, Cape Cod, and Connecticut.  On the team I am, by far, the least knowledgeable about plants and agriculture, but I bring good energy and strength to the table.  I seem appreciated thus far, but we'll see if this changes by the end of the summer; I need to pick up on things so I can stop asking so many questions. "What kind of plant is this?"  "Why do you hate peonies?  I love them."  "What is a Japanese Weeder, and where can I find one?"

Every morning I meet at Garden Endeavors 'headquarters' in Swansea, Massachusetts, and get to work.  Work includes: sorting good/bad perennials, tending to the home garden (about an acre), moving compost, and gathering plants, supplies and equipment that the team will use on the daily project.  So far I have been to three different job locations, each of them beautiful.  And I am proud to say that with the help of a co-worker, I dug 4, 35' trenches, each 12" deep on Monday.  Which were then filled with over sixty asparagus crowns.  Did you know that asparagus can take 4 years to grow?  And that it looks like sea anemone underground, with long tentacles spreading through the earth?  A twenty year old asparagus plant has roots like a tree.  No wonder it tastes so good.  I snapped a few photos of Garden Endeavors below.

So, I am taking on yet another new project, and learning as much as I can about gardening and landscaping this summer, in my quest to become a master of all domestic arts.  Since there is no MFA program in the Domestic Arts, I have been piecing together my own curriculum which includes: cooking classes at Williams Sonoma (hopefully also at Johnson and Wales), gardening/landscaping this summer and reading cook books the way post people read Dan Brown or Jodi Picoult novels before bed.  It feels normal to me, but I realize it is not normal.

But my new love of working in the dirt does not end with the new summer job.  I am now in the process of building a raised garden bed in my apartment complex at Union Wadding Lofts.  With the help of Eric and Ally, my neighbors, and some amazing folks at New Urban Farmers, it looks like this project will be a full blown community garden before May.  The cedar planks for the bed structure were purchased yesterday, and are being assembled tomorrow morning.  I am a little worried about their height and thickness, but so long as they create a stable container for my garden, all we be okay.  I am so thankful that the folks at New Urban Farmers will be helping me - not only by donating some compost and additional supplies, but also by providing some much needed confidence for the project.  My seeds were started inside my apartment, and I have jerry-rigged a growing apparatus that seems to be working quite well.  Within 6 days most of the beans, peas, and herbs have sprouted.  They've become my little babies.  I can't wait to get home from work and see how much they've grown in just a day.  It is truly an amazing feeling.  I believe that if I can grow food, anyone can grow food.  Check out my little baby seedlings below.  I used some old Martha Stewart Stickers (purchased at the Maxx, of course), to label each of my plants.  The stickers easily became waterproof with a layer of packing tape, and became perfect baby garden stakes by adding a match to each one.

My apartment smells like a terrarium.  And I dig it.  Get it?

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