Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ladner Community Garden-Being Thankful


We would like to thank all our volunteers at the community garden for all they have done this year. From building a fence and arbor to painting and helping with garden classes, so much has been accomplished. Its been a busy building year and we are going into 2014 with less to do. We will be focusing on planting some new gardens and getting our herb spiral built.


Thanks to those who attended our Christmas party. It was nice to have such great conversation. That's what community is all about.
As we go into the new year, we will be looking for a few new directors. If you have some time to spare, we meet a few times each year to organize potluck dinners and work parties. In order to keep our garden going we need five directors so if you can help out, we would be very happy to have you on board.


This past season was a very abundant one at the garden. We had peas and beans growing like crazy and at times it was hard to keep up with the harvest.


The grade three class had success growing radishes, kale, arugula and spinach in the fall and they will return to the garden in late February. Thanks to our master gardener, Donna, Lynn, Gail and Janice for all the help they have been. You cannot teach 40 children without volunteers.
We are pleased to announce that Ladner Seedy Saturday and Garden Expo 2014 has been scheduled for Saturday, February 15,2014. It will be held at Ladner Baptist Church from 10am-3pm. We have three wonderful speakers to get you excited about the new garden season.



Brian Minter From Minter Country Gardens will be speaking on 'Food Gardens', Julia Common will be sharing her talk about Hives For Humanity and Ian Tait from Feed the Bees will give us information on how to bring bees back into our gardens. With a lineup like this, you will want to stay the whole day. We have  many vendors already booked for the event selling seeds, services and garden treasures.
If you would like to volunteer on Seedy Saturday, give me a call or comment below. If you are a vendor and interested in coming to our event you can email at deltagardener at dccnet.com
Have a wonderful holiday season!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

We are Missing our Scarecrows- Can You Help?


Yesterday the grade three class that comes to the Ladner Community Garden had a fun time building scarecrows. At the end of the school day we placed four of the scarecrows in the garden as we like to show the public what the community garden is all about. Well, we may never do that again.


Sometime between 3pm on October 9 and 10am on October 10, three out of the four scarecrows were kidnapped, gone, vanished! These guys are a bit awkward to carry as the wooden supports are long and a bit heavy if you are walking with them. The three scarecrows that went missing are the ones with pillow cases for heads in the top photo.
If you saw anyone walking by with scarecrows under their arm yesterday or any suspicious activity near the garden on Holly Park Drive in east Ladner please let me know.
All the clothes were bought from the local thrift shop out of my own personal money. When I visit the thrift shop the ladies are going to ask me how it went with the scarecrow day. Won't they be shocked to hear what has happened.
The children don't know about the scarecrows yet and I haven't the heart to break it to them . Right now I am disheartened by this loss and my faith in human nature has been squashed. Taking from the children is not right.
If you know their whereabouts contact me at deltagardener at dccnet.com

Monday, October 7, 2013

It Has Been a Wonderful Harvest Year!

As we reach this time of year, we are thankful for the abundant harvests we have had at the Ladner Community Garden. What grew well this year were the peas and beans. Loads and loads of beans just kept coming until the temperatures dropped.


This season comes to a close soon but we have accomplished a lot. Our new fence is up and its looking great. The work on our hedgerow began this year and we have more shrubs coming. We just need a volunteer work party to get it done.


If you have been by the garden our pergola is coming along. The cement work is almost done and we are preparing to build some new flower gardens using recycled concrete. Did you know our front rockery is made from four recycled driveways? Now that's recycling at its best.


The grade three class has had a lot of fun learning at the garden. We have a couple more classes this month and the students will return in the spring. So far the students this year have donated 100 pounds of fresh vegetables to the food bank and mental health society. Recently they planted a 100 mile diet salad garden to learn about eating locally. They are getting pretty excited to harvest their pumpkins. We will teach the children how to make pumpkin soup at the end of October. Its a good lesson in food preparation.
Are you looking for an allotment for next year? Just contact me if you are interested. You can reach me at deltagardener at dccnet.com.
Right now we have a small waiting list for allotments but the wait is not usually too long.  We will also do tours if you would like to bring a group through the garden.
To our present allotment holders and volunteers, thank you for all the work that you have done either at work parties or in the children's garden. This garden is not just a garden but a community of like minded souls that share information and stories. Its all about the conversation.
If you are still looking for ways to get your volunteer hours in this year, please contact Kristin for ideas on how this can be done.
Happy gardening!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Community Garden Tour is coming to the Ladner Community Garden


A garden tour is coming to the Ladner Community Garden. I can't wait to join this tour and see all the wonderful community gardens. If you would like to join us, be sure to register soon as the cut off date is September 1, 2013.

Alexandra House Community Gardens Bus Tour – Itinerary and Schedule
September 8, 2013

Register by September 1 to ensure your place! See below

The tour will visit five community gardens in Metro Vancouver on this one day outing. We have selected locations to provide a good cross section of garden organizations in different municipalities. Anyone who wants to learn more about different ways to organize and operate community gardens will have ample opportunity and those who just want to relax and enjoy the tour will be rewarded. Of course, in this season, any visit to a garden brings pleasure. Bring your camera.
 The tour leaves Alexandra Community Garden on Sullivan St. in Crescent Beach at 9:00 AM sharp.   Plan to bring a lunch.
You are encouraged to start the tour by coming at 8:30 and taking a walk through the Alexandra Community Gardens. You will be impressed at what has been done in its first full season. Collene and her fellow gardeners have created some amazing vegetable patches and this year added a new shed and gazebo. The land for the garden is owned by Alexandra Neighbourhood House and as a result, no funding from the City of Surrey was available for its creation.
Alexandra House recognizes how gardens build community and has lent its support in many additional ways and they are committed to expanding the number of garden spaces in the South Surrey geographic area in the coming years.

During the trip to Burquitlam, take some time to introduce yourself to your neighbours, make some new acquaintances and share some garden stories.   

 Burquitlam Community Gardens in Coquitlam have been around for almost 15 years so we can see what can be done with a sustained effort. The garden is on city parkland and has grown to about 65 plots. It includes espaliered fruit trees and a bee garden. Gardeners are encouraged to grow fruit, vegetables and flowers.  Funds are generated through memberships and fundraisers. Four plots are designed for wheelchair access and five are tended for the local food bank.

Our next stop is Richmond. The Richmond Food Security Society administers all the gardens and many food related programs in Richmond under a three year renewable contract with the city. Colin Dring, Executive Director and Lucinda Yeung met recently with members of the Surrey/White Rock Food Action Coalition to share some of their experience. The Food Security website is a good source of information on their programs and some details on the next garden.        http://www.richmondfoodsecurity.org/
 Terra Nova Community Gardens will host us and take us on a tour of their site in Terra Nova Rural Park in Richmond. This location features a store and barn and we will take a break for lunch. You can purchase organic food on an as-available basis. The garden has approximately 100 plots of 200 square feet each plus an outdoor classroom and a number of demonstration gardens so it is a sizable operation.

Gardens built on different types of land (city parks, private land etc.) give rise to different types of garden organizations and now there is even a trend to small scale urban farming, often in partnerships with schools, food banks or other community organizations.
  Earthwise Demonstration Gardens and Farm in Tsawassen will give us access to some knowledgeable people who will share with us their purpose and how they managed the success of these gardens. Learn about their Organic Master Gardener program and see the demonstration of growing techniques for year round crops. Only one more stop, so check out the organic produce to bring home.

Sharing our experience and knowledge about year round gardening, we might find there is enough interest to form a local group dedicated to this practice.
 Ladner Community Gardens – The community gardens, built in 2011 have a total of 70 plots of which 46 are allotments for community members. Nine are dedicated to children’s education and one is operated with the Canadian Mental Health Association. In addition 14 beds are operated as test sites by West Coast Seeds. All food from the 24 school and test beds is donated. Ladner has an active and engaged group of gardeners who are looking forward to our visit to show off their efforts. See what an amazing group of gardeners have done with recycled concrete sidewalks! We are very fortunate to have Kristin Crouch from Lader with us on the tour. 

On our way home, we can reflect on what we’ve learned and what our next garden projects will be.
 How do I register?  Contact Collene Ford at 778-294-7339 or call Alexandra Neighbourhood House at 604-535 0015
Cost: $20.00
 Send cheque or cash to:
Collene Ford,
2780B McKenzie Ave.,
Crescent Beach (Surrey) BC, V4A3H4

 Schedule
8:30 - 9:00 am tour Alexandra Community Gardens, on Sullivan St.
9:00 am Sharp! – leave from Crescent Beach for Coquitlam
10: 00 - 10:30 am - Tour of Burquitlam gardens
11:30 – 1:00 pm - Visit Terra Nova Community Gardens and LUNCH
1:45pm – 2:45pm - Visit Earthwise Demonstration Garden and Farm
3:15 – 4:00 pm -Visit Ladner Community Gardens

Arrive back to Alexandra Community Gardens no later than 5:00 pm

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Our New Composting Program

To all our allotment holders and fellow gardeners, our new composting program is now in effect. Even though we had lots of composters, the green waste was not being chopped up sufficiently enough to make decomposition work fast enough. Whole plants do not compost as quickly as ones chopped into smaller pieces. So what could we do? 


 We sent out a message asking gardeners if they wanted to take over a composter to make their own black gold. So far we have over eight composters that are being managed by allotment holders for their own use.


You will know if the composter is for private use of that gardener by the numbers painted on top. This is also the same for West Coast Seeds who have their name on one large wooden composter.


 You will also notice that several composters are displaying this sign. Please do not add green material to these composters as they are full of 'almost ready to use' compost which we hope to use for a new garden. It just needs a few weeks and a few able bodied people to dig it out and place it where we want to use it.


So where are you going to place your garden trimmings? At each end of the composting stations there is a large blue garbage can on wheels. Please place your trimmings in here for now and the directors will chop them up this summer. In the last two weeks the directors have been pulling apart the existing composters and having to re-cut the green material in them and re-layer it. This is a lot of work. If you think you have lots of green trimmings, you could grab a pair of grass shears from the shed and chop them up with that. Its way faster than using hand pruners. 
If any of you still want to manage your own compost, please let one of the directors know. We will gladly assign one to you. 
Upon removing some the composters on the east side we happened upon a bees nest underground. They are still active so exercise caution when in that area. Just try not to walk across the compost base where they are. 
Happy Harvests,
 Kristin

Friday, July 5, 2013

Ladner's Best Community Garden

Things are heating up at the garden and this is proving to be one of our best years yet. I think its that great soil we ordered from West Creek Farms. The plants are growing like crazy. 


Thanks to all who signed up to water over the summer. It takes the load off of the directors who have been managing to water more than was expected. Now that our trees and shrubs are going in we have to make sure they gets enough water which is so essential during the first year of growth.


Have you noticed the numbers on our composters? We are trying to start a management program so the composting is done properly. If you see a composter with a number on it , it corresponds to the allotment bed taking care of it. You can no longer just toss your trimmings just anywhere. We really want to make our own black gold. If you don't want to be part of the program, please use the large wooden composters. If you would like a composter, please contact a director.


 Okay, I really think there needs to be a garden contest for community gardens. Don't you think we would win? Here are a few shots of how it looked this week. I love the Poppies!


 Check out this Kale. Its so beautiful. It could be in any garden including one filled with flowers. Imagine an edible front landscape, how cool is that?


 I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw this spinach plant! Dare I say I will be hoping seeds accidentally drop into my hands. The blue flowers are a bonus. I wonder if they are edible. Note to self, look that one up. Not only is this spinach a great vegetable, it has pretty flowers too.


The peas are so tempting by the entrance to the front of our garden. To date, this allotment holder has already filled a grocery store bag full of peas. This is definitely peak season for peas so be sure to pick them before they get too large.


 There are so many types of lettuce, it boggles the mind.


 You know its summer when the first Sunflower appears. Which reminds me, our next community dinner will be on July 28 at 6pm. Be sure to bring something to share, your dishes and a lawn chair. Guests are welcome. What a better place to eat dinner than in a garden, right?


The cabbage is looking great and I saw members harvesting the other evening. 


 All pretty vegetables lined up in a row.


 Russian kale is mouth watering. Recently I was given a recipe for Esalen Salad. If you haven't tried Kale this way, you must. Its divine. Here is the recipe. Did you know Kale is high in vitamin K? If you have to buy Kale, be sure to buy local Kale. Kale imported from warmer climates such as California don't have a proper winter like we do. Kale is sweetened after going through a frost. So buy BC.


 A new plant at our garden this year are chick peas. What a pretty spiller this would be in a container vegetable garden. I am anxious to see how this one produces this year.


I will finish off with the wandering Dill plant that seems to make its way from garden to garden. I just wish I had some. Maybe next year.
So don't forget our potluck on July 28. See you there.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Harvesting Has Begun!


The community garden in Ladner is bursting with all sorts of great vegetables.We think this is going to be our best growing year to date. I came home with a huge handful of Russian Kale tonight for Sunday dinner.

Did you know we have community meals at the garden? Yes, we try to have a community meal at the end of every month from June to September. Tomorrow, June 23 at 6pm is our first get together of the season and we hope to see lots of people come by. If you would like to join us, just bring a dish to share, your cutlery, dishes and a glass. We will supply some cold drinks. Its a great way to meet other gardeners.


So much has been happening at the garden that I haven't had time to write. The pergola floor is almost done. Laying recycled cement pieces is no small job. Each has to be levelled carefully. Our next task will be placing a different floor between our two pergolas. Right now its a secret as to what is planned but hopefully it will be done by the end of summer. I cant wait to see the end result.


We are also building a fence around the garden. You will notice our new signs. I wish we didn't need them but someone always spoils things. Last year we had theft of vegetables from several allotments. The gardeners pay for the soil and seed and tend to their gardens so what they grow is theirs and theirs alone. Many would gladly give away their extra veggies if asked first.


Did you know we even have garden classes? Earlier this month we had Don Bruchet give us a talk on organic fertilizers and composting. It was a wonderful way to spend a spring evening. Is there a topic you would like to hear about? Let us know.


We are also planting a hedgerow of beautiful shrubs to make the park look even better. Sounds like a lot of work for this year but many hands make light work.


The classes in the children's garden are now finished until September. In May, the children held a tea cup planter sale  and they made a lot of money for us to donate to the food bank. Way to go Southpointe Academy! All the vegetables that the children grew will be donated to the food bank. This week we have radishes and lettuce and a small amount of spinach. As I removed an Arugula plant from one of the beds, I was saddened by the amount of seed that will be discarded. On just a few plants there are thousands of seeds, enough to feed so many. Its so easy to collect seed but a few pods is enough for  me. Where are those seed collector fairies when you need them?


This summer will be a compost giveaway year. We are finally assigning compost bins to allotment owners. This will mean that each person will manage their own compost. Compost is the black gold for gardeners.
Well, that's about it for today. Please come visit the gardens and take a tour. We would love to have you.



Sunday, May 12, 2013

Its Time for the Heat Lovers

Here it is almost the middle of May and once we get passed this patch of rainy weather it will be time to get our heat loving crops in the ground. Start to plan your garden and add vegetables such as beans, squash and  pumpkins. They can go in any time after May 15. Be sure to harden off your plants to prevent shock when setting them out. No one likes to go outside from a 25C greenhouse to a 10C garden overnight. Place your new plants outside for a few days giving them a bit more sunlight each day. If in doubt when buying new plants, ask your garden center staff if they have been hardened off.


Towards the end of May, plants such as cucumbers, peppers, basil and corn can be started as long as the weather is consistently warm. I don't recommend planting Basil until the first week of June. It just doesn't handle the cold nights. Planting too early just sets your plants back.


 Don't forget that when planting corn the soil needs to be around 15C for the seed to germinate well. Be sure to plant corn in blocks to get good pollination. The more corn the better your results will be. Corn takes a lot of nitrogen from the soil so you should follow it with a legume to add nutrients back.


All your cool season crops should be well on their way if you planted last month. Salad crops such as lettuce, radishes, spinach, peas, broad beans, kohlrabi, cabbage and leeks should be in. Carrots that went in last month should have a layer of Reemay fabric over top to help prevent damage from the carrot rust fly.


Lately the cabbage moth has enjoyed visiting the garden. She loves your Brassica crops such as cabbage, broccoli, kale, kohlrabi and cauliflower. Using Reemay to protect your plants really helps. It prevents pesky insects from laying eggs on your plants. Adding a loose layer of Reemay allows plants to grow and water and light to get through.


If you are using a support system for your veggies such as peas and beans please remember to anchor them to the sides of your bed. We often have more wind than expected at the garden and we are responsible for public safety. If you see that your support was fixed, it was most likely by me.
We are happy to announce that all our allotments are full for this season. Lets hope we have an abundant harvest!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Its Planting Time!


April has been a busy month at the Ladner Community Garden. We have a full allotment garden, with a few new gardeners this season. If you see someone you don't know in the garden, please take the time to say hello.


If you have been at the garden in the last week, the pergolas are being prettied up. Gord and Jim are working on a new roof design and they finished the new arbor at the back of the garden.


The fence has been pegged out along the back and sides of the garden. We are starting to plant the hedgerow along the front sides.


We have plans to bring in some road base to fill in the wet area on the east side of the garden. As soon as that is done, we will hold our herb spiral class.


The children have been busy planting in their garden. They have peas, broad beans and onions already up. Their next big project is the annual tea cup plant sale on May 9 at Southpointe Academy. Next week we will be planting up over 300 tea cups! Thanks to all for the donations of tea cups. It is greatly appreciated!


I have had lots of people asking me about the plant sale. We decided to take this year off until we can figure out what to do with all the leftover plants. A plant sale is a lot of fun but its a lot of work to get it ready and we just don't have enough volunteers and energy to pull it off this year.
If you haven't planted your garden, its time to do it so you have something to harvest. Your gardens must be actively growing something from April 15 to November 30 as per our garden rules. If you need advice on how to get started please call one of the board members or comment below. We are always willing to lend a hand.


I added some new signage to the garden. Lets hope this explains that our community garden grown food is not for the outside community but the property of the gardeners who tend it. I read recently about the use of bird netting over a garden to deter both animals and humans. It may be worth a try if needed.
Happy gardening,
Kristin

Sunday, April 7, 2013

April School Garden Classes Begin


Now that spring break is over, the grade three class is returning to the garden. This week they will be planting the seed tapes they made in March. It was a great rainy day project for them to do. In all, they made 62 feet of seed tape. That's a lot of vegetables!



They will be planting lettuce, spinach, spicy greens, radishes, carrots, beets, potatoes, onions, broad beans and peas in the one hour they are at the garden. Did I tell you there are 28 students this year so many hands make light work.



The students come by bus from Southpointe Academy in Tsawwassen. They learn everything about gardening from starting seeds to harvesting and tasting their own vegetables. They usually start their day by spending time just observing in the garden. There is so much to learn by seeing the changes nature brings. From the buds that swell in spring to the light frost that covers kale in the fall, they learn to see the changes and identify the different seasons.



When planting, they learn to measure so their math skills are tested. They have to read seed packets so they know how to plant the seeds. They also work in groups and learn to work as a team. Gardening is also good exercise and a good way to burn off all the pent up energy after sitting at a desk all day.


Last fall the students planted a 100 mile diet salad garden. Tomorrow they will taste some of their overwintered crops such as kale and arugula. In just weeks they will see their first seeds come up and we will hopefully harvest something to eat at the end of June. That's what's different about a school garden. The garden program begins in September and people always ask "What can you plant then?" Winter gardening is something more people should try. Crops that are left over winter get even sweeter with a touch of frost. Plants such as kale are perfect for children to enjoy. They love it!
After a short winter break the children are back in the garden in spring, eager to get digging. Give a child a pile of soil and all of a sudden they all want to use a shovel. From March to June the children come every second week to tend to the gardens. This year they have nine raised beds where they will be growing food for the food bank.