Monday, May 30, 2011

Lets Have Some Fun!


You are invited!

Ladner Community Garden Burger and a Beverage Event

Ladner Legion, June 12, 2011
12-3pm
Silent auction and Door Prize

Bring your friends for lunch on the first Ladner Village Market Day

Tickets available for $15 at West Coast Seeds and Bryans Bookstore in Ladner
or by contacting Kristin at deltagardener@dccnet.com
Tickets must be purchased by June 5!

All proceeds go to the building of the community garden.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Soil and Toil!



Its only been one week since the volunteers helped build the Ladner Community Garden. Look how far we have come. The photo above is just three truck loads of the six loads we received from the city and then the manure arrived, all twenty yards of it. I figure it must have been about eighty,yes eighty,yards of soil and manure for us to shovel.
I know how hard we all worked and how much we ached afterwards.



This is what is left of that huge pile just seven days later. All I can say is wow! That is a lot of shoveling! Our beds are filled and our gardens are planted.



Today the food bank garden took shape thanks to some serious hard work by a few dedicated volunteers.



We couldn't wait to plant some seeds. In went potatoes, beans, rutabagas, onions, spinach and lettuce. We cant wait to share the bounty with the food bank.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Why Organic?



The Ladner Community Garden is an organic garden. We encourage the use of organic fertilizers in our gardens. Why Organic? Organic fertilizers are released slowly in to the soil and microorganisms break them down in to water soluble form that is absorbed by plants. Synthetic fertilizers don't last as long as organic ones do.
Organic fertilizers have a high ratio of organic matter to nutrient value.They are great soil amendments adding structure to your soil.
Examples of organic fertilizers are:Manure, fish emulsion, blood meal, bone meal, compost, mulches, worm castings and kelp meal.



When we filled the community garden beds, we added lots of manure so this year there is no need for any extra fertilizer. They are already to plant. If you look at the photo above, it was taken last summer at the Kirkland House Children's Garden. All that was used in this bed was compost and manure and look how it grew.

I love to use compost in my garden. Topdressing your garden in the spring or the fall is the best thing you can do for your garden. Once you see earthworms in the garden, you will have achieved success.
Manure is dug in to vegetable beds in the early spring and can be added in the fall as a mulch in preparation for next years garden.
Blood meal is an organic source of nitrogen and is used to top dress leafy vegetables. When using organic fertilizers, always read directions on use.



If you have any questions about what to use on your gardens. Don will be at the garden on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights at 7pm. He is a wealth of knowledge so ask away. We hope everyone's garden will produce like the ones in these photos. I ma sure they will.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day Four of the Ladner Community Garden



Its only been a few days since we built this garden and already most of our allotment gardens are planted. People are planting mostly vegetables with a few companion plants as well. I love seeing how each individual gardener plants their garden. There are so many different ideas out there on how to grow food. It will be interesting to see how things work out over the summer.



It doesn't matter what time of day you go to visit the garden, there is always someone there tending their garden. It has really become a community of its own. In starting this garden , we hoped to create conversation. Well, that was an understatement. There are ideas shared, recipes given and new friends made. It was just what we envisioned when we decided to start this community project.




One of the most popular fruits to grow are tomatoes.Tomatoes are not hard to grow but should be grown under plastic like in the photo above. Unfortunately our climate usually brings us blight and tomatoes are very susceptible to this terrible fungus. Once a tomato plant is infected , it must be removed and placed in the trash. You don't want to compost diseased plants.



I couldn't help but notice that this gardener may be worried about slug damage. They have attached copper stripping around the side of the bed. This will give a slug a bit of a shock if one tries to cross.



I wondered why someone had installed a drain pipe in all four corners of their garden. The next day I saw the finished garden.



They built sides for their garden just in case any rabbits thought they had a chance. Fortunately the eagles that perch above the garden daily would never let us have a bunny before they get to them. Today a couple of eagles were loudly squawking while we worked in the garden.



Half a dozen gardeners are trying out the square foot gardening method. It is a more intensive method of gardening in a small space. I found it very successful in my own yard.



No need to worry about critters coming in the garden. We now have our mascot to keep them away.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

We Couldn't Have Done It Without You!



I am so blessed to live in this community of Delta. Starting this community garden project , I had no idea what resources were out there and have relied heavily on input from other community gardens. It has been a learning experience for all the board members of the garden.
I would like to acknowledge some of our sponsors who truly believed in this project. One particular company I met at the Ladner Business Association. They asked if they could write us a cheque after hearing how much our start up expenses were. Bruce and Paula Lloyd of Cellular Mobile Services donated enough money to cover our insurance and paperwork costs. Yes, insurance, one of those things a lot of us don't think about when we walk in our city parks. A big thank you from all of us at Ladner Community garden.
We also worked with the Corporation of Delta who spent thousands of dollars extending an existing water line to the front of our garden and arranging for some donated compost. In two days all our allotment beds are filled and planted!
Thanks also goes to Open Space Yoga whose donation will make possible the installation of the children's garden. If you want to see the new children's garden, we will have a Grand Opening on June 18 at 1030am with Mayor Lois Jackson attending.
Have I told you about the Ladner Business Association? What an amazing group of people! They welcomed me to their meetings where I presented my vision. I won't forget someone standing up and asking if this community garden could be a pilot project for more in our community. Would I do this again? You bet. The Ladner businesses have supported us in many ways. Many have donated towards our upcoming fundraiser on June 12. On June 12, we will be having a Burger and a Beer Lunch at the Royal Canadian Legion #61 on Delta street from 12-3. Watch for posters about town if you would like a ticket. All sorts of great auction items will be available to bid on. Shall I say patio heater. The way the weather is going we could all use one of those.
I can't wait to celebrate the hard work and generosity of all those who have helped us get this project off the ground. I love Ladner!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

We Did It!

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped make our Ground Breaking Day in the garden such a success. We couldnt have done it without you. You braved the drizzle the heavens sent upon us and never complained. Look at what we accomplished, a garden we can be proud of.



I was too busy to take photos yesterday but my brother had his camera and has around 200 photos still to come. I hope everyone saw the group photo on our Facebook page here. I took the above photo today and was surprised to see lots of people already planting their beds.



You can tell an experienced gardener when the Remay cloth comes out. This white fabric is used to keep pests away. That little white winged moth you see flying around right now would love to lay eggs in your vegetables. The use of Remay helps to prevent cabbage moth problems.



I talked about recycling on my blog at Seed Sow and Grow. Reusing plastic in the garden is a great way to ward off creatures like cutworms. The bottom of this plastic container was cut out and it surrounds the new cucumber seedling giving it protection for its first weeks of growth.



This same gardener cut out the bottoms of her milk jugs and placed them over her pepper plants. Peppers are heat loving plants and this will ease their transition in to the garden until its a bit warmer outside.



Okay lets see if you can tell me whats wrong with this picture. Any guesses? Only in Ladner would we see this!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Soil Has Arrived!



Its the day before our Build a Garden Day and we are so anxious to get growing. The Corporation of Delta kindly donated 60 meters of compost and we still have another donation of soil coming from Pineland Peat. I was called last night to say one of our local farmers is donating a container of manure to help enrich our soil. It looks like we will have a very busy day tomorrow so bring your shovel and a smile.



The raised beds will be transported to the site in the morning so lets leave some room for truck and trailer to park near the front of the park. The less distance we have to carry the boxes the better.



We will have refreshments on site. Pizza, pop and a bag of chips for $2! There will be coffee for the early birds courtesy of Starbucks, one of our sponsors.
It is supposed to be a bit overcast but as a gardener I am optimistic for sunshine. If that does happen, be sure to use sunscreen to avoid that first sunburn. Don't forget to bring a lawn chair so you have somewhere to sit.
When you arrive, check in at our sign in table to get a name tag. I sure don't want to be yelling "Hey you!"
See you tomorrow at 9am if you can make it. Remember, many hands make light work.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Countdown to Our Big Day



Its only two more sleeps and we open the Ladner Community Garden. If you have been by the park, the city is dumping soil for us to use. Thank you Corporation of Delta for all the help you have given us.
Last night we started moving the raised beds nearer to our site so they are easy to transport on Saturday morning. Here is the first box going on the farm trailer. Thanks to my brother, Tron, who borrowed a trailer from the Guichons to get these over to our site.






Hubby helped my brother load the boxes on the trailer. It was lots of work.



They were stacked as high as they could go. I was sure glad I wasn't the one towing this load. My brother had no problems but try pulling out of my driveway with a load this big. Arthur Drive can be busy but we waited until the hockey game started and everything got quiet. Lucky us!



Everyone was strapped down and secured for the trip. I followed behind with flashers on as we drove the farm roads to our site.



There they go ahead of me. Now that the boxes are in storage, its time to get everything else ready for Saturday. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Saturday is Ground Breaking Day!



This week is so busy with trying to get everything ready for Saturday, May 21, our ground breaking day. Our raised beds are built and we have a hay trailer coming to take the beds over to the park this weekend. We could use a few guys to help with the loading at my place and the unloading on Saturday morning at the park. Let me know if you can help.



Just a reminder to save cardboard or newspaper for the bottom of your allotment beds. You can get cardboard boxes from many stores, even flats from the liquor store will do. We will be practicing lasagna gardening in the bottom of the raised beds so the grass doesn't grow through. Make sure you bring some on Saturday morning.
We are looking for a volunteer to man the concession table, no cooking is involved so not a hard job but we will have thirsty gardeners. We also need someone to man a sign in table and to give out name tags.These are great jobs for those who cannot shovel soil.
For everyone wanting to help out on Saturday here is a list of what you may want to bring:
Garden gloves or work gloves
Mallet
screw driver
shovel
wheelbarrow
lawn chair
garden trowel
kneeler
coffee mug
safety goggles
cardboard or newspapers
sunscreen
bag lunch, we will have refreshments and snacks for purchase
smile

Hope to see you there. I cant wait to see all the beds filled with soil. We will be at the site of the new community garden by 9am and work until we are done. The goal on Saturday is to get the beds filled with soil and the food bank garden ready to go. Then we can plant all weekend to our hearts content. It even looks like the weather will cooperate.

Happy Gardening,
Kristin

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Build a Bed day for the Community Garden



Yesterday we invited volunteers over to 'build a bed' day. We figured if we got half the raised beds built before our ground breaking day on May 21, we would be ahead of the game and people much closer to planting their gardens.



Lots of helpers arrived yesterday morning and quickly got to work.It rained lightly at first but the tent kept the power tools dry. We gardeners weren't put off by a bit of rain.



If you look in the background of the photo above you will see they finished the first box.Each box is four feet by ten feet and ten inches deep. A great size to plant an array of vegetables in.



As you can see the raised beds are quickly filling in the space under my rose arbor. I knew there was a reason I weeded that area on Friday.



Everyone had a great time working together. Now can you believe this? All 46 raised beds were finished in three hours!! I couldn't believe it. It was a great job done by all.



While some volunteers were building beds, others planted. Here we planted seeds to grow for the food bank garden. In total,four trays of seeds are planted up and sitting warm and cozy in my greenhouse. As soon as the food bank garden gets prepared the seedlings will be moved to their home in the garden. We also planted five blueberry bushes in to pots for our fruit garden. I will water and care for them until we have the fruit garden established.
Many thanks to all the volunteers that worked so hard to get the building and sowing done. I can't wait until our ground breaking day next Saturday,May 21.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Saturday Build a Bed Day



Thanks to everyone who showed up last night in the rain for our community garden meeting. It was so nice to put a face to the names.
This coming Saturday, May 14, we will be building as many raised beds as we can. We will be building them at my home on Arthur Drive. If you want to help just give me a call or an email.We will try and do a sun dance and hope it helps with the weather. Either way , we will still be building rain or shine. This is so exciting, getting actually so close to planting.



Have you thought about what you will be planting once your bed is built and filled with soil? Make sure to choose vegetables that your family will eat. Its no point growing stuff that they don't. Easy things to start with are lettuce, mesclun greens, spinach, radishes,potatoes,carrots,beets and arugula. Tomatoes are easy to grow too but are best grown under plastic to prevent having blight problems. Check out West Coast Seeds for their catalogue. It has a wonderful planting chart inside the front cover and all their seeds are suited to our climate.
For all the allotment holders, please try to gather some cardboard to place in the bottom of your raised bed. Once the bed is in place, we want to place a layer of cardboard in the bottom to kill off any weeds that may be there. The cardboard is a great way to hold them back. Once the soil goes in the cardboard will decompose over the season. You will be amazed at how many earthworms this type of lasagna gardening attracts. If you would like to learn more about lasagna gardening, check out the subject online and at the library. It is the lazy gardeners way to creating great soil. Another great resource for raised beds is the book called 'Square Foot Gardening'.
Hope to see you this weekend.
Kristin
@deltagardener on twitter
deltagardener@dccnet.com

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ladner Community Garden is Getting Water!



Its going to be a busy couple of weeks for the Ladner Community Garden and the Corporation of Delta. This Friday,May 13, the city has scheduled our water lines to be installed. That will happen on time unless there is some city emergency like a broken line somewhere else. They know we are very anxious to get growing.
Yesterday, I had Bartlett Tree Services come and take some soil samples for testing.As you know, the soil is the most important aspect when it comes to growing food. We will have the soil test results back in two weeks. When the soil was being taken for testing, we uncovered lots of huge worms. That's a good sign the soil is healthy. With our heavy clay soil of Ladner, the worms do a great job breaking it up for us.
If the weather is nice this weekend, we will plan on building some of the raised beds at my place. I have a large yard,okay that's an understatement, a huge yard, so lots of room for them here until we are ready to build the garden. If you would like to help out this Saturday, May 14, please give me a shout at deltagardener@dccnet.com
Thanks to those of you who have joined our community garden. We can't wait to meet you at tomorrows get together at Kensington Park at 7pm, Wednesday, May 11.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Lumber Has Arrived!



It finally arrived! We ordered the lumber last week and it arrived this morning.



This is quite the set up with a remote control doing all the directing. I just prayed it wouldn't land on my garden.



Its time to think about putting half of the raised beds together. The directors felt that having half of them built before opening day would save us some time. We will start to build the beds on May 14 at my place. Lets hope the weather warms up and the sun shines so we can get some work done.



I went to the site of our new community garden and saw that city crews had been busy. If you walk the site you will see the paint marks that outline our boundaries. You will also see these deep holes in the ground. The one above looks like a water line so it wont be long before they start digging to extend the line for us. Thanks go to the Corporation of Delta for paying the cost of the water line installation. Without water, we wouldn't have a garden.
Lots will happen over the next couple of weeks. I am having manure, compost and bark mulch shipped to our site closer to opening day. We are also looking for tools and hoses. We have had some garden tools donated but no hand tools yet. Hopefully we will be able to build a shed or metal structure on site to hold tools for all to use. Right now our focus is on getting things planted as soon as possible. I don't know about you, but this gardener likes to eat fresh harvested food.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

We Are So Excited!



You know a gardener when the site of cut grass makes you happy. Funny how those simple things can mean so much. Well, that's just what happened at the site of the new proposed community garden at Kensington park. The city has been in and cut the grass where our garden will be. We walked the site today and it is dry, dry, dry, can you believe it after all this rain?





We also noticed white paint marks on the ground. We didn't know what they were for so off to the city we went.The paint lines designate the amount of land we have in the park. We met with the city parks director and staff and found out they had been meeting to discuss the plowing of the land with one of our councilors.They are also figuring out when the water is going in and we will know more next week.



So its time to get your seeds or transplants picked out as we hope to get planting before the end of May.
Are you wondering what you should be planting in May? Here are a few ideas- Pepper and eggplant transplants,squash,cucumbers,brussel sprouts,beans, broccoli and cabbage transplants,potatoes,parsley and cauliflower. With our cooler temperatures, I would even plant some lettuce transplants, arugula, beets, carrots and kale.If you check out the West Coast Seeds catalogue there is a great planting guide just inside the front cover and so much good information on how to grow food.



The lumber arrives at my home this coming Friday, May 6, where we hope to build some of the beds and transport them to the site. If you want to help build,let us know.
We are also having a meeting of allotment holders on May 11 at 7pm at Kensington Park. Bring a lawn chair and we will go over our vision for the garden, the timeline and events we have planned. We have some handouts for the new gardeners.
We cant wait to meet all of you.