Thursday, March 29, 2012

Welcome to our New Community Garden!

As of this week, The Ladner Community Garden Society will be overseeing the gardens at Winskill Community Garden in Tsawwassen.

The gardens were started by Harry Caine, a local resident and member of the Lions club as an addition to the Lions Wellness Park next to it.  There is some great Delta history about how this garden got started on this site.
This year the gardens have needed some extra support so we were asked if we could oversee them. I am walking through the gardens tomorrow to see what we can do and to meet the gardeners who tend them.

These photos were taken back in early February so the gardens are needing a spring cleanup which has already begun. We hope to bring more beauty and bounty to South Delta. Please stop by and chat if you see us at the gardens.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spring Clean Up at the Ladner Community Garden

Spring has arrived at the Ladner Community Garden. Today we had our first of a two day spring cleanup. We had to dig out weedy grass from around the raised beds and get our allotment beds cleaned up. One of our gardeners was excited to see that his chard had returned. Now that's a fun surprise in the garden!

Food Bank Garden
 We raked over the food bank garden on one side and split in to two separate beds. We hope to make one of them a healing garden and use the other for cubs to earn a gardening badge. If you live in Ladner and are interested in your cub group doing a badge or two , let me know by leaving a comment below.

Food Bank Garden
The east side of the food bank garden is just about ready to plant. A bit more fall rye to take care of first. Thanks to Bonnie for donating  and planting Swiss chard in the food bank garden today. Thanks to Don who came by and cut the lawn.

Our allotment gardeners were kept busy cleaning their beds in preparation for spring planting. We also had free seeds to choose from.

The children filled pots of soil and we planted sage for our upcoming plant sale. We knew that empty bed in the corner would become a useful place for soil.

Jim built us a storage area out of pallets donated to us by Save On Foods. Here we can store all the leftover driveway rocks for future use. All I could think of was planting those pallets as hubby shook his head thinking I was crazy.

Just a reminder to all of our garden family, the community garden has a policy of trash in, trash out. I was dismayed to have to bring someone else's trash home to my house for pickup. We can't compost plastic. The blue garbage bins will be removed this year. They were to hold weedy material, not garbage.

Hubby and I stayed behind to bag all the mouldy straw that had been dropped off some time last year. As you can see we have 11 bags to go to someones curbside for pickup. No more room in the composters for now. I scored today by finding a discarded Lavender in the compost. I proudly planted it in the rock garden. 

The wooden crate has been moved to the back of our shed to make room for new composters. Yea!!! For now we can use the crate to store pots so they don't blow away in the wind.
West Coast Seeds has planted wildflowers in their beds across the center of the garden. Imagine how colourful that will be this summer!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It was a Blustery Day in the Garden

Okay, saying it was a blustery day last Monday is a bit of an understatement. The winds ripped across the lower mainland of British Columbia so hard that all ferry traffic ceased leaving travelers stranded for hours. Power went out all over leaving people in the dark. I sat in my home and watched nervously as my trees swayed in the gusts wondering if one of them was going to topple. Luckily all my trees are fine.
The next day I traveled to check out the Ladner Community Garden as a wind storm usually means we have to do a bit of cleanup.
I picked up the odd compost lid that had blow away but thought we got off easy until I realized my brand new composter was missing. Now how does a compost box with compost in it disappear? The lid was on the ground so even though I had thought someone had taken it, I realized that they would have taken the whole thing. Hmmm..... where could it be as I scanned the 5.7 acres of grass and bush for a black composter?

I took a walk to the very back of the park only to meet a new friend of the garden. He eyed me up but stood his ground as I continued my search.

Bingo! I found my composter! Laying in an irrigation ditch filled with water. Great, now I had to get in there and drag it out. What I don't do for our community garden.

I pulled the composter out of the ditch and looked to see where I had to take it. Oh my, you can't even see the community garden from here. Ten minutes later I had dragged it back to its home in the children's garden. I placed a full bag of leaves inside to keep it in it place. The compost that was in it before was strewn all over the grass. So much for that composting lesson.
 Lessons learned, it might be a good idea to anchor the composter down. And next time, wear garden clothes to the garden when you dive in to ditches.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Planting the School Garden in March

Yesterday the grade three class came for their first  spring visit to the Ladner Community Garden. Well its technically not quite spring but it was time to plant some early crops.

I had the outdoor classroom all set up so there was enough room for 26 children to sit down and listen to what we would be doing today. We use mostly stumps for sitting, a few benches and folding stools. The children were so excited to be there. They are coming from a newly built school that doesn't have the landscaping finished so this was their first outdoor activity since mid January.

We broke in to groups. My group helped to work on the food bank garden. We needed to dig under the fall rye and harvest the leftover turnips.

This was one big turnip and it took three of them to get it out. They loved the size of the root on this one.

 The children were so eager to use the new shovels we purchased at Lee Valley Tools. One child looked at me and said, "I love this, can we come everyday?"

They did a pretty good job turning the fall rye over. We will have to do some more digging at our spring cleanup weekend.

 Another group of children looked for bugs and worms in the lasagna garden. They had a worksheet about the anatomy of the worm and the benefits of worms in the garden. Children love to dig so we had trowels handy.

 We also spent ten minutes at the beginning of the class just observing the changes in the garden. We talked about what they saw in the garden last fall and how it is now. The children looked all over expecting to see the pumpkins until I reminded them we had made them in to pumpkin soup at school last November. Oh yea, they said. We found the seed heads of last years sunflowers in one of the beds. Look how this one is skeletonized.

We also found sunflower seeds still the beds. We wondered why the birds didn't eat them.

The children cleaned the straw off this bed to uncover the Tulips they planted last fall. We all tried to guess when they would bloom.

All our early vegetables were planted. The children planted early potatoes, peas, broad beans and onion sets. What I didn't think to tell them is we didn't really need the whole box of peas planted. Each child has marked the seed planted with their name beside it. This is going to one full bed of peas!
It was a fun day in the school garden. The children return in early April when we will be planting our salad garden. I can hardly wait!