One of the things I love most about living in Reston is also one of the things that make it the most challenging.
I love to garden. I love to grow vegetables. I have probably lost more sleep over what variety of bean and variety of lettuce I should plant than would be considered normal for any sane suburbanite. I confess I am a frustrated would-be farmer.
So when I moved to Reston, with its lush, verdant rolling hills and thick tree canopy, it became very clear, very quickly – there was going to be a problem. Vegetables need a lot of sunlight to grow. My new home is a West-facing condo surrounded by the forest of Lake Fairfax Park. My beloved vegetable garden would need to be located somewhere other than at home.
Fortunately for me, and for the rest of you shade-locked Restonians, the Reston Association has a thriving program of rentable community garden spaces in four different community gardens: Golf Course Island- on North Shore Drive, Lake Anne- on Wiehle near the Unitarian Church, Hunters Woods I- next to the veterinary clinic on Reston Parkway and Hunters Woods II- next to the Hunters Woods pool also on Reston Parkway.
Not long after applying for one last Spring, we received permission to begin working our wee plot at the Golf Course Island (GCI) garden. It’s what I would call a “starter” size: only 10 by 12 feet. I’ve had closets bigger than this piece of dirt, but, it gets great, GREAT light since the plots are situated on the tree-free land above the gas pipeline running through Reston.
In 2011, our first year at GCI, we got a late start in May, so stuck with the trusted warm-weather stand-bys: tomatoes, peppers and herbs. Very quickly we were over-run with bounty. When we went out of the country on vacation for three weeks, we came back to find the plot looked like a gazpacho fight had broken out – the tomatoes had gone insane.
2012 will be my second year of organic gardening in Reston and I am excited to bring what I know from my previous gardens to bear in this new plot of ground. At the same time, I am looking to find new friends and resources in the community and share them with you here on the Reston Patch.
In the upcoming installments, I will be searching out opportunities to spotlight other avid gardeners, jewel box gardens, and news of new (or old) varieties of flowers and vegetables that thrive in our particular microcosm of Northern Virginia. Have a copse of gorgeous hosta? A bed of iris that is the pride of the neighborhood? A container veggie garden on a patio that feeds your family? I’d love to hear about it.
Let’s see if we can’t make our community a little closer, here in our own little green patch of heaven.