Monday, September 10, 2012

Dear Garden Thief

Dear Garden Thief,

I am so done with you! I am angry and if you ask others I don't get angry easy. Today I was working in the children's garden getting ready for a class on Wednesday when I couldn't believe my eyes!

I wrote this morning about how I had carrots in the children's garden as they are learning about the 100 mile diet this fall. Well, not any more! The least you could have done is taken them home instead of leaving them to shrivel up in the sun. These carrots would have been tasty but I guess they weren't up to your standards. They would have been used in our fall pumpkin soup but now I will have to buy carrots thanks to you. How could you steal from the children?
So far the theft has been a few items every couple of days. We know what you drive and you have been seen in the garden on occasion. Does the word 'community' mean you can help yourself? Absolutely not! We are a community garden and if you are in need all you have to do is ask. Taking without asking shows a lack of respect. Any taking or snacking of food from community plots is considered theft.
A community garden is where individuals and families rent a plot for the season to grow for their family. Some of our families are low income and need the food that they grow. When you dug their potatoes last week, they weren't impressed. For the new gardeners at the community garden, they are disheartened and ready to give up. Please don't spoil their garden experience.

Kristin Crouch
Ladner Community Garden Society

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Where Did Our Harvest Go?

Its been a disheartening week as I hear about the agricultural theft of 5000 pounds of potatoes in a community just a short drive away and more theft of food from the Terra Nova Sharing Farm. Its now happened to the Ladner Community Garden and I must say we are angry. We have had reports of vegetable theft over the last few weeks. Its has been quite discouraging for our new gardeners as they baby their peppers until they are almost ready to harvest only to have them picked by a stranger. At first we figured it was just an isolated incident until a member spotted someone shopping with empty bags in hand. Its only a matter of time before we get a photo of this person but for now, I hope they are enjoying the fruits of our labour. Last night I went to harvest beans for the food bank only to see a measly four beans on the vines. We had only harvested a few pounds the week before and knew more would be ready for this weeks harvest. Luckily I had an allotment holder donate 16 pounds of beets, a zucchini and some carrots so we had something to donate.
I hate to totally fence the community garden but that's whats probably going to happen. We like to encourage people to walk and enjoy the garden. Its sad that a few people spoil it for so many.

On a positive note, the food bank is always happy to get donations of fresh food.

The beets were huge and will be great roasted or in soups.

Thanks to Gord for donating the vegetables before he leaves on holiday. Our total for this week was 24.5 pounds of food donated.
Going forward we may have to think up some planting strategies for next year. No one takes kale or white carrots so perhaps a border of that will hide the more lucrative vegetables. Even a border of parsley would work.
Have you had theft in your gardens? How did you resolve the issue? I know in Chicago the community gardens are fenced and padlocked. Every Sunday they put out a table of free food for the taking, no questions asked. Is this the solution? We would be more than happy to help out someone who really needs food. That's what we do. Gardeners love to share their harvest but ask first.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sharon's Garden

Last spring we opened the Ladner Community Garden, the first community garden for Ladner. If you walked by last year the rock garden in the front of the community garden looked like this. Neighbours watched as volunteer and board director, Sharon, hauled rock by rock one at the a time to complete the garden. Did you know that she used reclaimed driveways? Four Delta residents were replacing their driveways and we took their cement as long as it didn't contain any wire or rebar. The concrete was inspected before drop off to ensure it was suitable. 

Here it just built and ready for planting. As gardeners there is no shortage of plants. We often came to the garden to see plants waiting for us. Thank you to those who contributed and to the garden centers who helped us out. 

Sharon planted the main perennials and shrubs first, them came the colour. It has to be look good all the time according to Sharon and it does. Check out these Nasturtiums that she grew from seed.

Perennials like Rudbeckia have attracted beneficial insects to our garden helping to pollinate our vegetable crops. This year, our second year has been a bountiful harvest.

Sharon has put hundreds of hours in to this garden to have it looking this way and we can't thank her enough.

 The fall flowers are opening and lots of yellow brightens up the garden. Coreopsis is a favourite and I know Sharon is looking for more of this type.

 Snapdragons are an old fashioned favourite in the garden adding pastel tones to soften the garden.

 The Sedum 'Autumn Joy'  is already buzzing with bees in anticipation of its blooms.

I love this Ajuga, which if not placed properly can be a thug in the garden. In the rockery it is easier to maintain its spread. How can one resist these colours?
So if you walk by stop and enjoy, tread lightly and linger long. We love visitors.