The Professor & Her Garden

Good soil. Good students. And maybe some decent English peas.


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I planted my garden. And then I drove away.

As part of my sabbatical, I’m trying all sorts of new things. Gardening is one of them. (For a list of other things, check out this post from my other blot, My Year Away. http://carolpardun.com/2014/05/03/riding-the-train-and-taking-a-sabbatical-is-statistically-significant/).

Like most things, it’s complicated. I split my time between Columbia, SC, and Harbor Island, SC, which is on the coast, part of the magical sea islands. My beach neighborhood has a community garden and I thought it would be fun to participate this year. I won’t go into all the details except to say that after a couple of phone calls, I located a woman who was “borrowing” a plot from a man who had a plot but was suffering from back injuries. She said she’d be happy to give up the plot…even though it wasn’t actually hers to give up.

I was down at the beach last week so I decided it was a good time to fix the soil in my little garden plot. (It doesn’t take much to figure out that what we have at Harbor Island is sand.) I bought organic soil, mushroom compost, cow manure and some kind of “soil break up” stuff the clerk at the garden store assured me I would need. I mixed it all up and then got ready to plant.

The plot is just 4 ft by 10 ft. I planted all seeds except for one lonely hybrid cherry tomato plant since I decided that tomatoes in November would be pretty fantastic.

Here’s what I planted: garden peas, sugar snap peas, heirloom lima beans from Mount Vernon, a lettuce mix, carrots and parsnips. And of course the lone tomato plant.

Then I watered. And then I drove back to my other house in Columbia. Now I’m fretting about my little garden plot. I’m driving down tomorrow night and will be able to water on Friday. I’m crazy with curiosity. Is anything coming up? Will I recognize a plant from a weed? (This is my first garden, after all!) Did I plant too much? Not enough?

I’m already feeling rather motherly about my little garden. But, I’ll have to wait just a bit before I can see if it’s okay. I’m up to my eyeballs at the moment in other kinds of plots..trying to master the art of R programming to create boxplots, graphs, and all sorts of cool things. I’m being the professor today. But, tomorrow, I’m making a beeline for the beach to check out my other research project–my beautiful, little garden.