"Foster Garden Homes"

digitS'

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Well, something that I had an idea that might happen, has happened. My gardening neighbor at the distant Big Veggie Garden has died. He was the property owner and had more ground than he could make complete use of – hired farm help to harvest hay on several acres. After retirement, he began selling small parcels and finally, went out of the hay business. What was left was about 1 1/2 acres where he and I had our gardens.

This has happened before in my career in having gardens on other people's property. Another retired guy who had a rental home on 4 lots, had more ground than he or the renters cared to use. I started with half a lot but after his son moved into the house, the owner retired from gardening and I took over another full lot. Then, the owner died. Things went downhill steadily after he was no longer there with his garden. His son was into cars, I could say, "junk" would be more accurate. Both were generous guys. "Drive down and park on the lawn." the son would tell me. I wasn't gonna do that but the property was at a dead end road and, in time, I was becoming hard pressed to find a place for the pickup while I was there. Gave it up after many years – no hard feelings and continued to provide him and his partner with tomato and pepper plants until they moved off the property.

Now, I don't know what to do. The greenhouse is filling up with plant starts. I'm unsure of the widow's plans. I thought that it was fun to see that the first thing mentioned in the old fellow's obituary for lifetime interests was "gardening." I remember her telling me that she thought that she was marrying an engineer, not a farmer. He had said that, though he wasn't out there in 2022 and wouldn't be in '23, the garden would be available. It's too early to be negotiating this with the widow but getting close to the time when I will be needing to till up a place for those plants and others.

Steve
 

flowerbug

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...
Now, I don't know what to do. The greenhouse is filling up with plant starts. I'm unsure of the widow's plans. I thought that it was fun to see that the first thing mentioned in the old fellow's obituary for lifetime interests was "gardening." I remember her telling me that she thought that she was marrying an engineer, not a farmer. He had said that, though he wasn't out there in 2022 and wouldn't be in '23, the garden would be available. It's too early to be negotiating this with the widow but getting close to the time when I will be needing to till up a place for those plants and others.

Steve

we do not know how well you get along with her, but my first thoughts are to contact her and offer condolences and then ask her if you will be able to use the gardens this season. if she is planning on selling having a kept garden is more appealing than a weedy one. it may not sell right away, etc.

asking is ok. if you get along well with her anyways i'd think it should be ok.

good luck. :)
 

digitS'

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Condolences have already been offered, @flowerbug .

I was a couple of weeks late – had been keeping the husband "up to date" and following up on a shared interest in local history with text messages. When he wasn't responding, I sent an email and learned of his passing.

She said that we would catch up, later. I'm thinking that a bouquet for her home would make sense. It's a large home and it's difficult for me to imagine that she would want to remain there by herself. She has had a housekeeper for years and I have never seen her doing outdoor work. She has been friendly and talkative when we have come across each other in the past.

I have parked in the neighbor's driveway from the first and the garden cannot be seen from their home. I have such a good relationship with the neighbors that I am hoping if the 1 1/2 acres is sold separately that they will buy it. But, it's too early for all that ...
 

Zeedman

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Several of us here have mentioned that we often garden "OPP" (on Other People's Property) self included. Had a lot of those gardens over the years, under various arrangements; but eventually, either I moved, or the arrangement ended (such as when divorce forced the sudden unexpected sale of the property). That one hurt, because it caused the loss of what had been a large heirloom garlic collection - and the loss of two long-time friends. :( The only gardens which you can count on when the chips are down are your own.

My current rural garden is the longest OPP garden I've ever had by far - since 2005. The owners became like family to us, and we spent a lot of time just talking to them (and playing with their dogs) whenever we were out there. DW really loved sharing baskets of vegetables with the wife there. Sadly, the husband passed away a few years ago, not long before my wife. :( That rural garden has always been the place for space hogs (like sweet corn, winter squash, and the garlic bed), most seed crops, the majority of my soybeans, and allowed me to grow a second seed crop of species which require long-distance isolation (such as limas, runner beans, bitter melon, cucumbers, etc.).

The widow informed me that she will be selling in a few years, when her two dogs die... but that she will try to give me at least one year's warning, so I can move my garlic crop. Not sure whether or not I will look for another remote garden at that point. The rural garden is now only 1/4 of its previous size (about 2000 square feet) but it remains to be seen whether I will have the time or motivation to work even that much alone. I am blessed with a fairly large lot at home though, over 1 acre. The home gardens are currently over 1800 square feet, and could still be expanded... plenty of room to grow food, but only enough room for about 1/4 of my previous seed saving. Several people (including one of my daughters) have offered to help. This year should help me to decide what the 'new normal' will be.
 

digitS'

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Just looking again what I wrote this morning. I should have separated neighbor & neighbor with different terms. I park at the neighbor's to the west and the garden owners cannot see the garden from their house. I hope that the "neighbors" buy the 1 1/2 acres if they can because that might well help for me to continue gardening there. However, the neighbors are elderly, also.

By the way, those neighbors don't live there. They only have a BIG garage on about an acre.

A friend was wondering if I could buy the land. If it is sold with the house - No Way. I'm not crazy enough to think that we need a 2,500 square foot home even if we could afford one. The acre with the garage? What the heck would I do with a 4 car garage? It's even larger than that since it includes a kitchen area with a storage attic above. And, I don't think that we would be comfortable "living" in a metal garage!

There are plenty of places like this in the exurbs. Like you, @Zeedman , this isn't even my first experience with something like this. For 7 years, I had a garden right above the river on about a quarter of an acre. The location was such that the owner couldn't put in a road to that ground so he couldn't even get his lawn tractor over there and his kids had grown up where they didn't live there anymore and couldn't use it for a bicycle track ;). I had already begun the transition to another location just before their For Sale sign went up but I was younger then and more fleet of foot ;).

We have a friend of my wife who has acreage. We might go there if necessary.
 

digitS'

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😌

Received an invitation back to the distant Big Veggie garden. I didn't want to talk to the widow about that when we delivered a bouquet. I wanted her to know that we think that she should make decisions that she feels are best for her. It was a visit mostly communicating our concerns for her. She talked about what she has been doing and that was mostly lost on me because of my terrible hearing. I wanted to learn that her family will be more involved in her life and certainly hope that is true.

She has only sent me an email once years ago when her husband has been too busy to respond and then the time after he passed away. It was a surprise to see a text message thanking us for the flowers. I responded and then, the next day wrote about someone who had expressed interest in purchasing the field. She responded will the invitation to garden there and, even, an invitation to expand the garden. Of course, we have always had that opportunity but there is an area of her husband's garden that she doesn't want to go to weeds ... Good Heavens! Well, maybe something easy to care for like sweet corn.

Steve
ETA: Just looked at an aerial view. It would expand our garden by about 20%.
 

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