This year, we tried to grow different types of vegetables and herbs year-round. We planted garlic in November 2022 and planted spring vegetables only in March. May’s weather was so hot that we worried that we wouldn’t have any peas to harvest because the snow peas, snap peas and sugar peas that we planted in March didn’t have any flowers. Luckily, the weather became cooler two weeks later, and the peas started to flower and bear peas. The peas were so sweet and delicious that residents picked and ate them raw.
The hot weather in May enabled our hot pepper plants that I started indoors to grow really fast, and we managed to harvest some of the hot peppers by July, which was considered early compared to the previous year.
The garlic that we planted in November 2022 did really well, and we harvested really big, juicy and fresh garlic. Some of our residents said it might be difficult to go back to having the garlic that we buy from the grocery stores.
We tried companion planting by planting lettuce, spinach, corn salad, kale, mustard, radish and carrots on the same garden plots with the garlic and peas in the spring. The radishes and carrots were not that good because the seeds were sowed too close together and were difficult to transplant.
In the summer, we planted cucumbers, zucchini, edamame, eggplants, hot and sweet peppers, beets, cabbage, broccoli, and bitter melon after clearing the garlic and spring vegetables. The hot peppers that we planted were Carolina Reaper, habanero, ring of fire, Thai pepper and rainbow peppers. We learned how to use bitter melon leaves to make tea because of its benefits, like helping to reduce symptoms of diabetes, hypertension and some other health benefits.
We grew mint, rosemary, thyme, oregano, leeks and chamomile on two of the plots. The leeks that we grew from seeds were very big in September; residents harvested them and cooked the fresh leeks from the garden. Most of our residents know how to use chamomile flowers to make tea like last year.
The only problem we had this year was our garden hoses; both the extendable ones leaked, and we have to replace them with heavy-duty garden hoses next year.
We planted garlic for the next year in September, and the garlic sprouted in October. Hopefully, we can harvest garlic that is as big and juicy as this year.
After two years of group planting for this community garden project that was so successful, all the residents are looking forward to continuing with the project next year. Residents love the idea of sharing produce and knowledge, learning and communicating with each other. We hope we can do better in the future years and be able to build a better living environment and community for everyone.