Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Reflections From the Ladner Community Garden

Here it is the end of 2011 and a new year is about to begin. We had a great year in the new Ladner Community Garden. In January of 2011 my friend, Michelle and I talked about the need for a community garden in Ladner. All you had to do was get two passionate gardeners together and the vision appeared. We knew what we wanted so we started talking about it with other gardeners. Then we had to find the land for a community garden. After lots of driving around looking at potential sites, we approached the Corporation of Delta. We met with them and they seemed very excited about the garden We were ecstatic to say the least. They offered us two parks to choose from and we couldn't contain our excitement.

So in May of 2011 after much paperwork we built the garden.

We couldn't have done it without all the volunteers who came out in full force to lend a hand wherever they could. It was a fun time and a new community within a community was built. Friendships were made and we all learned from each other over the next few months.

On June 18 we had our official opening with Mayor Lois Jackson. Its was fun despite the rainy day. We had over forty brand new gardeners who all harvested vegetables from their allotment gardens this summer.

In September we had a class of grade three children come to learn at the garden. They had never harvested potatoes before!

We developed a garden to grow food for the food bank. This produced lots of fresh nutritious food for people who needed it.

What are our plans for 2012?

The grade three class is returning in the spring to learn how to grow food and flowers. We will be erecting a new shade structure for the neighbours to enjoy. We want the community garden to be a stopping place , to bring your coffee and chat with your neighbours and check out the gardens. We also hope to put in a new fruit and herb garden in the spring.

Not only do we have ideas and vision for our Ladner Community Garden, we want to have even more fun.
On January 28, 2012 we are holding our first Seedy Saturday at the Ladner Baptist church. If you don't know what a Seedy Saturday is click here. This is a fundraiser for the community garden so we can purchase plants for our new herb and fruit garden.

We also hope to have more community events, perhaps a plant sale, a scarecrow day, a garden tour or a pumpkin growing contest. Imagine a scarecrow building day where you can bring your family to build a scarecrow for the garden. Its so much fun!
Thanks to all our sponsors and the wonderful community we live in for supporting the Ladner Community Garden this year. Thanks goes out to the board of directors who have always been there. To Lynn, Sharon, Don and Michelle, it was a blast and it can only get better.
Happy New Year from the Ladner Community Garden. May all your gardens flourish and your bounty be full.

For info about the garden and Seedy Saturday email deltagardener@dccnet.com

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ladner Seedy Saturday presents Brian Campbell!

Have you heard the news? The Ladner Community Garden Society is holding the first Seedy Saturday in the lower mainland. Are you wondering what a Seedy Saturday is, click here. It will be a fun family event and a great way to kick off the new garden season.

We have several great presentations lined up for anyone attending this event and they are all free!

Our first presenter, I would like to announce, is Brian Campbell. Brian is a certified beemaster and beekeeper. Brian offers courses and hands on workshops for people interested in learning about bees. Brian is knowledgeable in both native and honey bees. I listened to one of Brian's presentations at the local garden club and his passion and enthusiasm for bees is contagious. Brian is president of the Bee Keepers Association, a BC associate master gardener, and beemaster for West Coast seeds. For more information, check out Brian's website at Blessed Bee Farm here.
I look forward to hearing his presentation at Seedy Saturday on January 28,2012 at the Ladner Baptist Church in Delta. For more info on Seedy Saturday in Ladner contact me @deltagardener on twitter or deltagardener@dccnet.com

Happy Gardening,

Friday, December 2, 2011

Seedy Saturday Event in Delta!

I hope you have all marked your calendars. Seedy Saturday is not far away. Vendor registrations are rolling in and this is looking like it will be a fun family event. We will be having gardening displays and speakers, educational displays, seeds, seeds and more seeds, plant specialists and interactive displays for the children. I hope you can attend.
If you are a vendor and would like to attend, please shoot me an email to deltagardener@dcccnet.com and I will send you a registration package.
This will be a great way to kick off the new garden season of 2012. Did you know we are the first Seedy Saturday south of the river here in Delta? I cant wait to see what new garden trends are coming!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

What is a Seedy Saturday?

Have you ever been to a Seedy Saturday? Seedy Saturday marks the beginning of a late winter and an early spring optimism found in all gardeners. We are so excited about the upcoming garden season as it brings a promise of seeds planted, summer harvests and food for our families for months on end.
I attended the Seedy Saturday at VanDusen Botanical Gardens last year and it was so much fun. I came home with seeds and new blueberry bushes for my garden. It was like a kickoff to the new gardening season. Imagine a room packed with gardeners, farmers, and residents passionate about gardening, food security and the environment. Just the thought has me anxious for the next Seedy Saturday. It cant come soon enough as I sit here on a dark wet winter day.

The Ladner Community Garden Society decided it was time for our community to hold a Seedy Saturday event. Its an event where you can come to swap open pollinated seeds, especially the heirloom types. I love starting plants from seeds so I have lots of seed to bring to the swap table and hope I will bring home something new to try in my garden. I know what you are thinking, why grow from seed? Did you know how many different plants you can grow? I don't want just the ordinary plants most garden centers offer. I want heirloom types of tomatoes, the ones with flavour that my grandmother grew. I want to grow flowers that are different from the norm.

It is said that seeds are the heart of food security in every community. Without seed we cannot grow our own food. Now its not just seeds at a Seedy Saturday. There will be plants, garden accessories and hardscaping supplies. If you need soil for your containers, we will have it. If you need mason bee supplies, we will have it. There will be something for everyone,its a family event.
I am excited to announce our speakers who have just come on board. We will be having Brian Campbell from Blessed Bee Farm speaking on Seeds and Bees. We will also have Don Bruchet speaking on an Introduction to Seeds. I have a couple more speakers lined up that I am very excited about but a few more details to iron out.
Seedy Saturday will be on January 28,2012 at Ladner Baptist Church, 5624 Ladner trunk Road from 10am-2pm. For more information on this event please contact deltagardener@dccnet.com
Happy Gardening,

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Seedy Saturday Event for Delta!

On January 28,2012 the Ladner Community Garden Society is holding the first Seedy Saturday event in Delta. I am so excited. Yes, I am addicted to seeds. There are so many different plants you can grow from seed as opposed to just buying the same old plants year after year. This event will be happening at the Ladner Baptist Church on Ladner Trunk Road from 10-2. We will have seed vendors, plant specialists, soil companies and lots of garden accessories. Just think, what you don't receive for Christmas you can buy at Seedy Saturday. Its the perfect kickoff for the new garden season. I can't wait to see the latest trends in gardening, can you?

Along with all the great things to buy, we are also having speakers every hour. Brian Campbell will be talking about mason bees for your garden. Its very timely as in February we have to start thinking about making sure the mason bee homes are cleaned out and ready to go.
If you are interested in being a volunteer or a vendor at this event please email me at deltagardener@dccnet.com.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Garlic Planting Time at the Garden

Here I am procrastinating and not getting the garlic in until today. I bought it two weeks ago so no excuses, right? I was excited to get some hardneck garlic as it was sold out everywhere except at one of the local farms. Each clove of garlic was broken apart into individual cloves. I was able to plant 27 cloves of garlic in the children's garden. Won't they be excited to see it in the spring? It will be a good plant to use when we study the senses.

I planted the cloves three inches deep and about six inches apart allowing them enough room to grow. Sure glad I planted yesterday as the forecast is for rain for the next week.

The planting is all done and its time to put them to bed. I added a few markers to mark the rows and I was done.

The last job of the day was to harvest a few carrots from the bed. The beets we planted from Tree and Twig Farm are still not all ready to harvest. I may just harvest the beet leaves to try a new beet bun recipe I saw on Linda's blog.
Its time to clean up the gardens, harvest what's left and compost the green waste. We are so lucky to live here with our mild winters. Before we know it Seedy Saturday will happen on January 28 and we will be all energized for a new growing season. Wow, thats only a couple of months away!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Paper, Paper, Read All About It!

Paper, paper, read all about it! That's the slogan that came out of dear hubby's mouth when we started the lasagna garden at the Ladner Community Garden. To get our garden started we had to lay down sheets of damp newspaper in the area where we wanted a new garden. Are you wondering why newspaper? Newspaper will block out the sun and stop the grass from growing. It also provides a dark damp place and earthworms just love it.

First we needed leaves.There is no shortage of them at this time of year so we saved about ten bags of leaves from our yard. Little did we realize we would need about twenty more bags to complete the garden.

We placed a thick layer of newspaper down and then dumped leaves all over the paper. Wouldn't kids love to have a leaf throwing party doing this?

The leaves were piled over the newspaper about six inches deep. Over the winter the leaves will decompose and the pile will shrink. In the spring it will look like new soil.

This is how the new lasagna garden looked after we placed soil on top. The soil will keep the leaves from blowing away. We only built one third of the garden today so there is lots more work to be done. In the spring we will be able to plant in to this new garden. What will we plant? This is our new fruit garden where we will grow plants like blueberries, raspberries, rhubarb and strawberries. The idea is to grow fruit too large for an allotment bed. Why not grow fruit to use at a community dinner? Isn't that the real reason we like to grow food, to eat it? I know its why I love growing it.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Our New Compost Bin Has Arrived!

We have a new composter at the community garden. This one was made with wood that was donated to the garden. This is my favourite style of compost box as you can access the finished compost easily by slipping out the boards on the front of the box.

So when you want to place your compostable material in the box, do NOT open it like this! This will put pressure on the hinges and possibly break the lid.

Look closely at the right side of the box and you will see a string. It is attached to a thin piece of wood.This piece of wood is used to hold the lid open on the box.

Lifting the piece of wood out of its resting place on the side, you will see it has a notched end.Fit the notches to the front of the box to hold it open.

It should look like this when the opener is in place. Now it is safely held open so you can do your composting.

You will also notice that we lined the box with hardware cloth. This is used on the inside of the compost box to keep any unwanted critters from deciding our compost box is a nice cozy warm place to visit.

Now its time to clean up your vegetable plots and compost what you can. Try to cut the long pieces of green material in to smaller bits so our composter works faster. Use your pruners for this as it makes the job much easier.

We are still hoping to place another eight composters in the garden but with winter fast approaching we are short on good building weather. I look forward to having rich dark compost to use in the spring, don't you? Its better than any soil you can buy.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Winter is Fast Approaching at the Community Garden

The Ladner Community Garden is busy cleaning up in preparation for winter. You will see that the new rock wall beds are almost complete. They are looking fabulous and will be even better next year once the plants have filled in. There is no shortage of plants when it comes to gardeners. People have dropped off plants for us to use and we thank you. Now we are racing mother nature to get things done.

Next week we have the grade three class coming to prepare a lasagna garden. Not heard of a lasagna garden? Its the lazy mans way to create a new bed. We want to install and design a fruit and herb garden for next spring but taking up all that heavy sod has my back groaning. We will be not taking grass up.
The students will be laying wet newspaper down where the new garden is planned to be. Once the ground is covered with newspaper, we will have a leaf throwing party. Those leaves in your yard are great for the garden. We will be dumping leaves on the wet newspaper so that the pile is at least six inches thick. The next part will be adding soil on top. You could use old soil from containers, peat moss or bought soil from the garden centre. Because we are doing a pretty big area, we will be ordering soil for this garden. We will spread it over the leaves and let the garden sit over the winter. When spring arrives we will be able to plant.

The students will be having some fun next week as well. They will make a couple of scarecrows to stand guard over the winter. Its always lots of fun being creative.

Monday, October 10, 2011

We Have Come a Long Way

Here it is October and I cant believe how the Ladner Community Garden has grown.Little did we dream back in January that our idea would grow and be so abundant. Lots of work has been done in the garden since the end of May and I would like to thank all the volunteers for helping to make this such a wonderful place.You guys rock. Its kind of sad to see the garden season winding down. I don't look forward to seeing the community garden bare this winter.

We have lots of plans for the spring. If you haven't been by the garden lately, check out the new rock wall garden that has been built. There will be another similar rock garden built across from it so that the front of the garden is a border of flowers as you walk by.
Next on the agenda is to build a shade structure so that you can walk over with a cup of coffee and relax. We hope to start building this in the spring of next year. We are also looking for the perfect arbor to complete our entrance. We know what we want so its just a mater of raising the funds to get it built.
So what did we accomplish this season? We had over forty inexperienced gardeners become successful growing food.We struggled with the weather but when July's heat came the gardens started to grow by leaps and bounds. Yesterday I was still seeing lots of cauliflower, brussel sprouts, broccoli and carrots growing and that's just a few of the vegetables still to be harvested.
We also have started a school program where classes can come and learn in the garden. Its was so much fun to have the students learn about the life cycle of a plant, plant tulips, fall rye and wallflowers.They observed the changes in the garden and we discussed them.Are you interested in having your class come to visit or do a field trip? Just leave a a comment below.
We also became a new community filled with conversation and lots of new friends. Now isn't that what community gardening is all about?

If you have had an allotment with us this year and wish to continue, please let Lynn or myself know by the end of November. If you are reading this story and are looking for space to grow vegetables or flowers, we can add you to our waiting list. This has been a great experience working with such amazing gardeners.
The Corporation of Delta made our start up so easy and have given us lots of guidance along the way, from watering to building issues, we always got a prompt response.It has been a pleasure working with you.
Many thanks go to our sponsors that believed in us in the beginning. We kept hearing that stuff would be stolen or wrecked but none of that happened. It shows that a place of beauty is rarely touched by vandals.
Thanks goes to Cellular Mobile Services, Open Space Yoga. West Coast Seeds, Bartlett Tree services,Delta Carpets,Starbucks, Cobblestone Cottage,Upstart Crow, Jemma Designs,Delta Parks and Recreation,West Coast Instant Lawns,Thomson Tree services, TDK Trading,Save On Foods, Jacquie Kenney,ABC Restaurant, Heritage House Interiors,Robertson Optical, London Drugs, Glacier Beer and Wine Makers, Chrystal Dickson, Mud Bay Installations, Your Garden Valet and Mike and Clarence Deboer. We couldn't have done it without your support.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Look at How We Have Grown!

When the idea of starting a community garden came up last year, I had no idea how it would end up.I tried to visualize the end result but I am overwhelmed as it has exceeded my expectations. Not only has it enabled first time gardeners to grow food but it has created a new community within the wonderful one we live in. If you think you are going to just drop by and water your garden, guess again. It rarely happens as conversations flow from one gardener to another, and ideas are shared.Hours later you go home wondering what you did in the garden but that's okay. New friends were made, lessons learned and that's what community gardening is all about.

Its hard to believe this part of the allotment garden looked like this at the beginning of July. We had a late planting season and things were just beginning to grow.

These are the same gardens as of August 30! I love the lushness of all that food growing.

The food bank garden was part of our design. We wanted to grow food for those in the community less fortunate than ourselves. This is how the garden looked at the beginning of July ,a few weeks after planting. The weather was cool and things were very slow to grow.

Here we are at the end of August and we are harvesting potatoes, beans, cucumbers and lettuce for the local food bank. The heat finally arrived and the garden is happy for it. I know, hubby is in the photo. I told him was in bed,lol.

The allotment gardens are doing well. Look at how much they have grown.

I love seeing all this food growing. Not only have you grown it yourself but you know how it has been grown. Knowing where our food comes from is very important these days. It provides us with healthy organic food from garden to plate.
For those of you who haven't seen the Ladner Community Garden, check it out in the 6500 block of Hollypark Drive in Ladner. Its quite the learning experience to see the different gardening techniques used.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ladner Community Garden-Harvest Here We Come!

Here it is almost the end of August and the community garden is looking great. Yesterday one of our volunteers picked four bags of beans, some lettuce and peas and donated it to the local food bank. The food bank staff were excited to receive fresh vegetables.

Not only are people growing vegetables at the community garden, there are also flowers. These Sweet Peas are beautiful! For those of you who live around here, our cool wet spring has not been the easiest for these flowers. I had just one Sweet Pea plant germinate. The soil was just too cold back in April.

If you drive by the Ladner Community Garden, you can't help but spot the masses of sunflowers growing. Aren't they just the most cheerful plant to grow? They also bring pollinating insects to the garden.

In the photo above is a late planting of beets. I was sent some Detroit beet seeds from another gardener in Ontario. We are participating in a country wide planting of beets. We all planted around July 15 and will harvest the beets on September 18. The idea is to compare our crops and how they grew compared to Saskatchewan and Ontario.

I have to say again how amazing Mark's gardens are doing. The gardens are overflowing and the harvesting has begun.

Can you tell I love Sweet Peas? I just have gardeners envy. These Sweet Peas are nice pastel shades, my fav. I think this plant loves the raised beds which offer better drainage than our heavy clay soils.

Hmmm, looks like the beans are up but not producing yet. They were planted late. They are koala French fillet beans from Italia seeds. I grew them last year and wished I had grown more of them. They grow to only eight to ten inches high but are very productive.

Thanks must go to the volunteers that are working so hard in the community garden. If you haven't seen the garden yet, it's located in the 6500 block of Hollypark drive in east Ladner right in Kensington Park. If you want more info about the garden and what we are all about, just leave a message below.
Happy gardening,