The second in my semi-regular series on community gardens around DC, the Glover Park Community Garden is actually less than a mile from the Newark Street Community Garden where I have my plot. But the Glover Park garden was distinct in several geographical and institutional ways. The first thing I noticed upon entering the garden was the incline. Most plots were sloping up the hill, which seems to have led many gardeners to use raised beds as a kind of terracing for soil retention.
Still, it looks like erosion is an issue. My guess is that these onions used to be fully underground, but last month’s huge storms washed all the soil away around them:
Another immediate difference I noticed was the height of the deer fencing. Unlike the fenceless Temple Garden downtown, everyone in Glover Park had fencing at least seven feet high. Given that the garden borders a legitimate forest (with great hiking trails, by the way), I’m not surprised that these gardeners take deer-proofing seriously. In fact, I spotted a beautiful yearling grazing up and down the rows while I was there!
I spoke with a gardener tending her plot, and she revealed some interesting institutional facts about the garden. Because it’s on National Park Service land, rangers inspect the gardens twice monthly to make sure gardeners are weeding their plots and paths. I guess it’s to prevent the spread of invasives into the park. After two weed warnings, a gardener can lose his/her plot.
Perhaps this is why there were so many long-established plots in this garden: only the dedicated survive. Some people even had fruit trees and grapevines trellises in their gardens. One person was growing kiwis! Those who can hang onto a plot are lucky, too, because each plot is a spacious twenty by twenty feet. That’s a lot of vegetables – even if some wash away down the hill or fall prey to crafty deer.