Denver Urban Gardens, DUG, Beths garden, heirloom tomatoes, heirloom blooms

In my last post I wrote about small griefs. And now I have a small garden plot, stuck between a church with a small congregation and a parking lot.

After the six of us urban gardeners dug in compost, I felt no urgency to plant. I wagered the weekend of May 14 would be safe to put out my “tender” plants: tomato, peppers, basil, and parsley (the only perennial of the bunch). Broccoli would be okay regardless. I installed them in the earth, but then it was really hard getting the water to sink into the soil because I didn’t rake it first. It got better after I’d been watering for several days.

And then, a week later, surprise! Freezing temps on Friday and Saturday. One of the latest snow dates I remember—after a snowless April.  

Of course it wasn’t safe. We are never really safe.

After keeping my plants covered for several nights, I finally took off the covers and left them to brave the cold Monday night of May 23. It went down to forty degrees that night, and for several nights didn’t get out of the fifties.

Now it is July and my plot, along with the other five sandwiched between concrete, is flourishing. My golden pear tomato plant is as tall as I am. A tomatillo and three cherry tomatoes sprouted from seeds left by last year’s gardener, as well as two calendulas, not the orange color I am used to, but paler petals tipped with orange and red.

What lovely surprises, all of them.

Every time I visit I gain purpose and peace from watering my motley collection of vegetables and flowers. And a little weeding.

Maybe DUG is right, maybe Gardening Will Save Us.

From industrial agriculture, that is. I dislike IndAg. But the fact is I’ve lived off it for much of my life. How many small plots like mine will it take to turn IndAg around? But maybe that’s not what DUG’s gardeners are trying to do. Probably most of them live off IndAg as well.

Like me, they have claimed a small space to feed themselves according to their lights, to grow the food they want.

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