Cultivating the Garden and Life I Desire

ImageI have recently moved into a new house in Cumberland.  This house has a big backyard and I have dreamed about having a garden for a year! I have imagined an ideal garden with a bountiful harvest of vegetables all summer long, growing perfectly and in harmony.

Reality Check! Gardens take a lot of planning, research, time and deliberation and throw you a lot of curve-balls (birds, pests, drought, wind).  A garden does not get planted and start growing overnight.  I have poured over books, websites, planting charts, companion planting tables and graphs to find the perfect balance of vegetables that grow well together with the knowledge that the wrong pH balance in the soil or a pest could ruin my whole garden. This process is much like the way that life flows.

When I began my foray into the working world as a VISTA I had many preconceived ideas about the trajectory of my career and my life.  I went to college, studied what interested me, and could picture myself in my future job spreading peace and love on earth. Then….reality hit me…good things, good jobs, good connections don’t just come to people with a pure heart and good intentions.

Living the life and growing the garden you want requires planning, effort, learning from others, connecting with people and organizations and the will to make it work!  It requires being able to get back up after being disappointed, it sometimes requires that you give up making money to make a difference, but it never requires you to lose who you are and give up on your dreams.  Like in my garden, I will work to cultivate the right atmosphere, roots, and medium to grow a people and a world committed to peace and justice.

Upcoming Gardening/Gardener/Farmer Events and Workshops in RI!

  • Apr 16, 2:00pm, “Flowering Shrubs, The New Glamour Plants”, URI Bay Campus, Coastal Institute Auditorium: 215 S.Ferry Rd, Narragansett. Book signing & refreshments follows the presentation. Reserved seating required. For reservations contact or call 401-783-8365
  • April 16, 6:00-7:00, Compost Workshop, Campbell Auditorium, Pawtucket Public Library, 13 Summer Street, Pawtucket.
  • April 17, 5:00-8:00, Providence green drinks @ PVD Flatbread Company, 161 Cushing St, Providence. Providence Green Drinks (always held on the third Thursday of the month) provides a great opportunity to meet with people in the area who are personally and/or professionally interested and involved in a variety of environmental, conservation, and sustainability issues.
  • April 17, 6:00-9:00, FREE Plantiful – Author talk and propagation demo and Seed Swap, Rochambeau Library, Community Room, 708 Hope Street Providence.
  • April 19, 10:00am, “Sanfoka Community Farm Ribbon Cutting and Beginning Organic Grower’s class by SCLT”, 135 Parade St, Providence. Hosted by the West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation.
  • April 21 and April 22, 1:00-2:00, “Compost Workshop”, Campbell Auditorium, Pawtucket Public Library, 13 Summer Street, Pawtucket
  • April 22, 7:00 pm, “Harvesting Rhode Island Panel Discussion”,  The Aldrich House, 110 Benevolent Street, Providence.
    There will be a question and answer session after the speakers.
  • Apr 23, 6:30pm- Small Vegetable Gardens Workshop, Instructor: Lynne Farr and Sharon Clingham at the Lincoln Library, 145 Old River Road, Lincoln, RI. Admission is FREE, call 333-2422 to register.
  • April 24, 5:30-7:00 p.m; rain date: May 1, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. Smart fruit tree management & pruning to prevent disease by Sandie Barden, Barden Family Orchard, 56 Elmdale Rd, North Scituate, RI.
  • April 24, 6:00-7:00, “Compost Workshop”, Campbell Auditorium, Pawtucket Public Library, 13 Summer Street Pawtucket.
  • April 24, 6:30 pm, Seed Saving 101, Lincoln Public Library, 145 Old River Road, Lincoln, RI.  Please call 333-2422 for more information and to register for this informative event. Space is limited.
  • Friday, April 25 | 4:00PM – 6:00PM, Screening “Growing Cities”, Brown University: 89 Waterman Street, Providence, RI.
    This event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
  • April 26, 10-12:00pm, High Tunnel Workshop, Stone Croppe Farm, 333 East Road, Tiverton, RI 02878. Call (401) 816-5667 to register for this free workshop.
  • April 26,12-4:00 pm, “Soil Testing by the URI Master Gardeners”, Wildwood Nursery, 659 Frenchtown Rd., East Greenwich, RI * How to collect a soil sample:
  • April 27, 11:00-2:00, “Fairy Garden Festival and Soil Testing”, Roger Williams Park Botanical Center, 1000 Elmwood Ave, Providence. Cost: $3. How to collect a soil sample:
  • May 1, 11:30-5:00pm, “Rhode Island Agriculture Day at RI State House”, State House, Smith Street, Providence, RI. Annual event showcasing Rhode Island’s agriculture industry with over 50 exhibitors with a large variety of locally grown foods available for sampling and speaking program at 2:00 PM in the Governor’s State Room.

Ongoing Resources/Events:

  • Seed Library @ Washington Park, 1316 Broad St, Providence.  Library patrons can select up to five packages of seeds from hundreds of packages of flowers, fruits, vegetables and herbs. Seeds available whenever the library is open!Dylan Little (401) 781-3136
  • URI Garden Hotline, M-Th, 9:30am -1:30pm, April through September, 1-800-448-1011,

Non-Profit Organizations and Groups that help the fledgling gardener:
Audobon Society of RIEco ri newsGroundwork ProvidenceNortheast Organic Farming Association of RIPlant ProvidenceRoger Williams Park Botanical CenterSouthside Community Land TrustUrban Greens Co-opURI Master Gardeners,  URI Outreach Center, What Grows on in RI, Your Local Public Library

Emily McKenna, VISTA Leader, AS220

This entry was posted in AS220 VISTA, Events and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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