Extreme Gardening

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Photo Credit: Jonathan Rausseo

Yes this is no sissy spectator sport, this is COMMUNITY GARDENING! Okay so this post has all the trimmings of a Mountain Dew commercial: the Mortal Combat style pictures, the over the
top title, and all that jazz. But what I have come to realize is that maybe gardening is way more extreme than anyone thinks.

Allow me to lay out my argument. I know that everyone says that gardening is supposed to be calming and relaxing; that it builds community and a better understanding of the environment. I just happen to think that maybe they are wrong.

The other day I was at the uOttawa community garden on King Edward. I was doing a little watering when “Eric”, a fellow community gardener, came by and we had a nice talk. A professor, Dr. Nozzolillo, even dropped off some extra tomatoes for us to use. Wow! Everything was, pardon the expression, coming up roses. That is until I came in the next day and my little fledgling peppers had been stolen!!!

My first reaction was of course to freak out and blame everyone. I watch people closely as they walking by to admire the garden plots. “Why yes this is a beautiful community garden, now SCRAM!” Yes I am the first to admit that I may have overreacted, but my garden had been defiled!

Upon closer inspection of my plants I quickly surmised that my problem wasn’t anthropogenic, it was squirrel related. All the telltale signs were there. Nibble marks on my remaining peppers, small half-dug holes at the base of my plants, and a squirrel nest in a nearby tree.

I started imagining a dozen scenarios in my mind about how to declare all out squirrel warfare. I even found a shovel with a broken top, aka vampire slaying stake. I figured I could organize my own army, start regular night shifts to watch out for the critters. With clenched fist, we would prevail over the battle of the community garden.

And then I calmed down. I mean the squirrels are just doing what squirrels do right? I besides, I am actually the one invading their territory, not the other way around. So I dropped my vampire killing shovel, sat down in front of my computer, and started to search for some humane ways to keep the squirrels at bay. I am sure that there is a lesson in here somewhere, but if I had one thing to say... gardening is not for the faint of heart.

- jon

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