A few days ago, I took my father up on his offer to go see the goats. These goats:
Anyone who knows me knows I love goats, so it’s no surprise that I was willing to get up at 6:30 am on a humid day in August just to make a sighting of Goat Mountain (I kid you not – there’s a giant sign in front of these guys spelling that out). I also happen to like getting up early so, anyway, not a big sacrifice. And these guys were definitely worth the price of admission.
But where the hell were/are they? The Maryland State Fair comes here, and the goats came about a week or two before the fair opened. There’s little explanation except the sign proclaiming them to be Goat Mountain, sponsored by a local restaurant. Sort of weird.
This, however, is already a quirky place. Besides the goats, there is also this crazy awesome garden:
There it is! And this was the real reason for our visit. My father recently became a Baltimore City Master Gardener. His service project has been helping to plant and maintain this community garden (along with other Master Gardeners and other volunteers)… at the fairgrounds.
It’s about a 15 minute bike ride from our house and the garden gets a lot of attention. As much as I thought fairgrounds sort of shut down between fairs, that’s not actually the case. There are lots of events happening there (especially since it’s the state fairgrounds), and there are constantly people setting stuff up or clearing out old exhibitions. While we were there, about five people came over and talked to us about the various veggies growing here. My dad has gone up during the fair to talk to people, as well, and while he says it’s difficult to hear yourself think over the fair sounds, lots of people are interested.
Our family has benefitted from the garden because it gets my dad biking in the mornings and we have been able to bring home a lot of produce (when I visited, we didn’t intend to harvest anything, but we scored a cucumber, a bag of green beans, several turnips, a few beets, and a tomato!). More importantly, though, this garden seems to be a pretty effective spokes-garden for local food.
This garden goes to show that you don’t need a lot of space, or even the “appropriate” space to have a useful, productive garden. We have a little garden at home in raised bed planters, but this one gets a lot more attention. Partly that’s because it’s a community effort, and I think my dad enjoys the social nature of gardening with a bunch of other people.
Personally, I’ve always gotten a little bristly about sharing my garden, so community gardening has never held much appeal. However, what I love about this garden is that it’s such a great use of this little corner of land. Even if you don’t want to start a community garden or get involved with one, you can think about the way this garden used an unorthodox space. Apartment-dwellers take note! Maybe somewhere near you has a few spare square feet…
and maybe if you’re lucky, they’ll import a Goat Mountain to keep you company!