Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lets Get Those Gardens Growing!

Are you wondering about how to help your vegetables and flowers grow in the community garden? It is really crucial in the early stages of growth for your new plants and seeds to get enough water. Once established they will no longer need daily watering. I like to water every other day once the plants are established. With the often windy conditions at our garden, the soil can dry out quickly. The minuscule amount of rain we have had has not helped a bit.
Last week I brought my jug of fish fertilizer over to use on the food bank garden. I use this extensively on my vegetable plants at home.

Today I have a five gallon pail of moo poo tea brewing by the food bank garden. My friend, Annie Haven, makes Authentic Haven Brand teas for the garden. All I had to do was place one of the large tea bags in a five gallon pail of water. I will leave it for a couple of days and then water it in to the garden. It has a lid on it to keep flies away.

The manure tea will condition the soil and allow the plants to absorb nutrients. I cant wait to try it out.I am going to try spraying some of the manure tea on the beans as a foliar spray and water in the rest.
I love to garden organically. There are so many great ways to feed your garden.By gardening organically,we will see the return of beneficial insects and birds whose job is to take care of our pests and just have a healthier garden overall.
If anyone has questions about what to use in the garden, please ask. Just remember Delta does have a pesticide bylaw which can be found on the Corporation of Delta website. 

Happy Gardening,
Kristin (who promises to never serve you this kind of tea)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ladner Community Garden General Meeting

On Monday, June 20, we had our first general meeting in the garden. Twenty four members signed in and we introduced ourselves. Many of us had not met each other so this was a good opportunity to get to know each other.

We started out our evening introducing our board member, Don Bruchet, who gave a talk on winter crops and how to use remay cloth in the garden to ward off pests such as cabbage moth and carrot rust fly.

He brought a sample for all to see. He also showed members how to use a seeding tool so that you don't waste seed when planting.

We walked over to one of the allotment gardens and Don gave us tips on how to thin our vegetables. He gently scooped a section of carrots out and showed us how to separate the plants. Yes, each tiny seedling is one carrot much to the disbelief of some of our members. Looks like we should have a thinning party and I don't mean weight loss.

After our speaker, we proceeded with a quick business meeting.Future plans for the garden include finding a source of bark chips as soon as possible so that the west allotment pathways can be completed.
We also went over the terms and conditions that everyone signed and answered questions.
For those of you going on holidays, I suggested making a sign to place in your garden so we know you are away. I will print up holiday signs and leave them in our new storage bin. If you cannot find someone to water for you, please let the board members know.
We discussed the garden photo contest that the city is putting on. It is open to all children from the ages 5-16. The Mayor is looking for all green thumb enthusiasts. Just grow a garden and send a date stamped photo of your garden from August 1 to September 12 to city hall. We have entry forms available if you want one for your family.
We are presently planning a picnic in the garden, tentatively it is planned for July 23 but we will send out more information in the coming weeks.
Treasurers report was read as of May 31. Since then we have received a donation to be used to build a large shade structure in the center of the garden. I see a build party in our future.
I hope everyone had a good time. I sure enjoyed the demonstration by Don.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ladner Community Garden Grand Opening

What an exciting day we all had yesterday!

The Ladner Community Garden was officially opened by Her Worship, Mayor Lois Jackson. I have to thank the staff of Parks,Recreation and Culture for all the hard work that went in to setting up for this event. They were at the site at 8am making coffee,blowing up balloons and putting tents up to keep us all dry. Yes, Mother Nature decided it was time for a bit of rain but it didn't dampen our spirits.

Councillor Robert Campbell also made a short speech about the garden.It sure is wonderful to be partners with the Corporation of Delta.

I got up to say a few words. Needless to say I was a bit emotional. The volunteers have done so much in such a short time. They are so wonderful. Over the last month, one family has exemplified the word community and volunteerism. I had to thank them for all their help.

Bonnie and her father, Don, have gone the extra mile. They have cut the grass, loaned us a generator when we needed power and even brought us a tent when it rained. That is just a few of the things they have done for us and Don doesn't have an allotment at the garden. They love their neighbourhood and show it everyday.

After our speeches were done it was time to cut the ribbon. The children loved being part of this as we anxiously waited to be told when we could cut the ribbon. They could hardly wait.

Mayor Lois Jackson declares the Ladner Community Garden officially open!

We all took a turn cutting the cake. It was delicious! From left to right, Councillors Anne Peterson, Heather King, Robert Campbell and Mayor Lois Jackson and Kristin Crouch.

We mingled around and chatted and made new friends. Thanks to all of who came despite the rain. The children got busy dabbling in rock painting to create their favorite bugs and some had their faces painted. The music by Ladner Guitar was fabulous. I cant wait to hear them again.

The gardens looked so fresh with the rain that they really needed. Yes, I admit, it was nice to have a day that I didnt have to water.
Thanks goes to my board members, Sharon Hagel, Michele Wilson, Don Bruchet and Lynn Dick for all their hard work.
Thanks to Mark Mcdonald who took all these photos. I was so busy I only took eight photos. For another great story, check out Marks website at Garden Wisdom.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Its Our Grand Opening This Weekend!

I am pretty excited! Mayor Lois Jackson is going to formally open our new Ladner Community Garden this weekend, Saturday, June 18. I hope you can all make it to the festivities. Our program will run from 10am until 1pm with lots of activities going on. The Corporation of Delta will be doing a ribbon cutting and we will have some cake and coffee.

Our board member, Sharon, has a fun activity for the children who attend. She will be painting ladybug rocks with any child who would like to participate.

I will be the one at the pumpkin planting table getting my hands dirty. Would you like to plant a pumpkin seed to take home? Come and see me.
There will also be some lovely music by Ladner Guitar so bring a lawn chair, have a coffee and soak up some sunshine. Yes, I ordered sun and Mother Nature will not disappoint us.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Our New Community Children's Garden is Built!

I am so happy to announce that our children's garden is built! It wouldn't have been possible without Jayson and his crew of volunteers from Ladner Baptist. It turns out some of our local churches were looking to help out in the community on June 11. Jayson, the youth pastor, approached me a few weeks ago and wondered if there was some way they could help us. Thats how the children's garden was born. Now these volunteers didn't just build our garden, some held a car wash, some did street cleanups and some did yard work for others. There are lots of ways to extend a helping hand in our community. Isn't that what community is all about?

I greeted the lumber arrival and thought I could take a shot of it rolling off the truck. Oh no, it went way too fast for my little point and shoot camera.

Jayson and his volunteers wearing their 'Love South Delta" T-shirts quickly got to work cutting the boards for the raised beds. They even brought all the tools needed for the job.

Many of our members came to give a helping hand. You know my motto: Many hands make light work". Even the kids arrived with sand buckets and shovels wanting to help.

In less than two hours, the children's garden was finished and all the beds were filled with soil. I couldn't wait to plant the seedlings from my greenhouse.

That afternoon a couple of us were back to the garden. We planted each children's bed with a sunflower and some beds with pumpkin and squash plants. During the week , kale will go in to one bed. You will see clumps of rhubarb in one bed as well. There are many more plants to come so that we have a harvest for the new September school garden class. Won't they be surprised to see pumpkins there when they arrive? I know they will love them.
Thanks again to all who helped on Saturday. This new community garden wouldn't be what it is today without all the wonderful people who have been there since day one.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ladner Community Garden is Growing!

I had to post today as I wanted all the allotment owners to know that a city employee came to visit the garden today and she was amazed! She couldn't believe that everyone had plants growing already. Its been just three weeks tomorrow that we built this garden and I am so proud of all the hard work that has gone in to its creation.

I am pretty excited that the children's garden is going in tomorrow. Someone asked why it was important to put this garden in now when classes don't start to come until September. They even wondered what we would grow in September. It takes time to grow a garden as all of you know but many non gardeners don't quite get it. In my greenhouse are a flat of pumpkins and squash just waiting for a new home. If I plant these seedlings in the middle of June they will be ready for the children to harvest in October. The children will use their math in the garden by counting pumpkin seeds or measuring and weighing the pumpkins.

They will also be able to harvest the squash and pumpkin and make some delicious pumpkin soup. We also have some kale seedlings coming so that the children can try it out either fresh or as chips. Yes, kale chips, a better alternative to potato chips for sure and very tasty.
For those of you that are helping out tomorrow, we still need some cardboard to place under the chips in the pathways. We don't want to have to fight the grass every week and covering it up will help slow its growth.
See you at the garden!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Our Community Garden Rocks!

The chips are here and this weekend we will start covering our pathways in between our beds. On Saturday, June 11, we have a work party scheduled. We want to lay some cardboard down in the pathways before the chips go down. This way, we hope to minimize the weeding we all have to do over the summer. I know we have shoveled a lot over the last two weeks but at least this stuff is light work.It will certainly give the first phase of the garden a finished look.

We also have a group of volunteers who have offered to come and build our children's garden this Saturday. I met with Jason,the youth pastor at Ladner Baptist one day and he said the churches were all coming together to do a project and was there something we had in mind? I immediately thought of the children's garden. I am excited about getting the children's garden in so I can plant some pumpkins. I mean, wouldn't all the kids love to have a pumpkin growing contest? I know I am pretty excited!

I don't know about you but when I look at peoples plots at the community garden, they are all doing so well. Who would have thought two weeks ago, we all would have come so far? The combination of soil , sun and water is all the plants needed. Well, a bit of love as well.Its pretty windy some days at the garden as we don't have any trees to act as a windbreak. I also noticed that the soil dries out quickly so its important to water regularly.

As you can see by the white marks on this plant, it is not very happy. Not to worry, its just been a bit of a cool wind at the garden this week. Many people buy plants from a greenhouse where they have been toasty warm and take them home to plant. Its kind of like coming home from a tropical trip. All of a sudden you are feeling the cold. This is why some plants look like this but if you look closely they are all producing new leaves. When I bring plants out of my greenhouse, they have to be acclimatized for a few days. That means just bringing them out for a couple of hours of sun and then going back inside for the night. I do this for several days before leaving plants outside all night long.

Well that's it for today. Thanks to all of you who have supported our fundraiser next weekend. I know it will be a lot of fun. We have a whopping 51 people attending!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Ladner Community Garden- How Productive Will We Be?

Our community garden is really growing! Everyone has seeds sprouting and it looks like the combination of compost and manure is working well. Today I thought I would share with you what your gardens are going to look like. These photos were taken yesterday at the grade one children's garden at Kirkland House in Ladner. The grade one students come every two weeks to do a class in the garden.

This is the radish I harvested yesterday. Its is pretty big and there are lots of them.

These are broad beans. The children planted seeds in early March and the plants are just coming in to bloom. They are a bit behind due to our cool spring weather.

In the above photo, from left to right, are radishes, spinach and green onions. All the fixings for salad which the children will make on their picnic day in two weeks.Yes, the children not only harvest, but wash the salad greens and spin them in a spinner. They love the spinning!

This is the same salad bed where you can see carrots, red romaine lettuce and beets coming up.

Just look at these potatoes. They will be ready to harvest in two weeks. This is the benefit of using raised beds. Not only do they warm up earlier in the spring but they also produce great yields. I know we all got our beds planted later than we liked but you will get an earlier start next year. The decision to use a mix of manure and soil was based on this garden and its success. There is nothing else needed to add to make your plants grow.Its already there. Anything extra is a waste of money.
On July 1, the children's garden at Kirkland House will be open to view but I am happy to take anyone on a tour of our garden at any time.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Our Food Bank Garden is Finally In!

Our food bank garden is finally planted! Thanks to a few of our volunteers this garden will produce a crop this year. On May 14, we had a few helpers plant seeds of many different types of vegetables. The trays of seeds spent two weeks in my greenhouse on a heating mat and thrived in the warmth. In the garden we planted squash, beans turnips and carrots.

There is also lettuce, spinach, beets and potatoes planted on this side of the garden.. Last night brought us some rain which is just what this garden needed. There is about four feet of garden still to be planted. We will plant a succession of beans, beets and carrots. As plants finish its important to plan for winter crops. Did you know you can sow broad beans in October? Carrots can be sown again in August.
Check out West Coast Seeds Winter Gardening Guide and Planting Chart for more great garden options.