Community Garden harvest to benefit Elizabeth Fry Society

Ripe corn from the Mary Mount Community Garden in New Westminster. Photo: New Westminster Community Gardening Society
Ripe corn from the Mary Mount Community Garden in New Westminster. Photo: New Westminster Community Gardening Society

This Saturday, members of the New Westminster Community Gardening Society will harvest the first crop of corn, beans and squash from Mary Mount Community Garden in Sapperton.

NWCGS chair Brennan Anstey said in a media release that the garden was planned using traditional First Nations organic permaculture techniques.

“The corn provides support for the beans, which fixate nitrogen for the corn and the squash acts as a ground cover to keep in moisture and keep down weeds,” said Anstey.

The gardeners will share their bounty with the Elizabeth Fry Society, a New Westminster-based non-profit organization that helps women and children who are coping with homelessness, poverty, addiction, mental illness and/or are re-integrating into society after time spent in jail.

“This is part of the commitment we made to the City to help promote food security in New Westminster”, said David Maidman, a member of the society’s Board of Directors.

“I think when you look around at what we have grown this year on this small plot of ground it shows the future potential for urban agriculture in New Westminster.”

If you want to apply for a community garden plot in New Westminster, contact the New Westminster Community Gardening Society at nwcommunitygarden@gmail.com or phone 778.372.1333.

Garden Nerd Series: Garden-grown food for a good cause.

Last year I started the spring growing season by attending an annual meet and greet event for Plant a Row, Grow a Row, an international organization that had local hubs in many communities.

Tough customer sampling some green beans at the source.
Tough customer sampling some green beans at the source.

As it says on the website, it “builds on the long-standing tradition of gardeners loving to share their harvest with others. It is a people-helping-people program to assist in feeding the hungry in their own communities”. In short, gardeners are asked to produce just a bit more than they otherwise would plant, and donate the surplus to the local food bank. The Plant a Row, Grow a Row group makes it easy by having a weekly drop off point in the community. As last year, St. Thomas More Collegiate. has volunteered to host the drop-offs.

This year, as last, the group, organized locally by well known city horticulture manager (and neighbour) Claude LeDoux, is holding the annual Gardener’s Party at the gym of St. Thomas More . It is a great chance to come and meet some fellow gardeners, listen to some fascinating speakers and learn about this great program.

At the event this year, scheduled for March 18th at 6pm, speakers include renowned horticulturalist Brian Minter; Daniel Mosquin and Ingrid Hoff from the UBC Botanical Garden, Conrad Lum from GardenWorks Mandeville and Mark McDonald from WestCoast Seeds. Expect refreshments and some free goodies. The evening was entertaining and informative last year but consider bringing a cushion (seating is on the bleachers in the gym). From the recent press release:

Growing food is this year’s hot horticultural trend, and it’s a great family activity, especially when you can help kids learn about the importance of helping others at the same time. You can grow vegetables and fruits in containers, in with your perennials, or in your own backyard plot. You can even grow Tumbler tomatoes or strawberries in a hanging basket!

So please join us March 18th at 6 pm at St Thomas More Collegiate (7450 12th Ave., Burnaby) to find out more. Admission is free, but we would appreciate the donation of non-perishable food for the Food Bank. See you there!

With the undeniable passion for gardening in New Westminster, the developing sense of food security and local sources of food, the sustained two-year push to gain another community garden in this city (culminating in the recently announced new plots at St. Mary’s in Sapperton), groups like Plant a Row, Grow a Row, really help form a network of community involvement and responsibility out of a passion for a good hobby. Congratulations to them for another great year, and happy gardening.


Community Garden Initiative Gathers Steam

Some time ago, I was part of meetings in the library, at pubs and shops in town and in the Parks office on 8th street, all with the common purpose of establishing an operating Community Garden project and society for the “mainland” of New Westminster. While Queensborough has had a successful garden operating for a few years now, the many gardeners in New Westminster that would like to get that soil under the nails feeling and yet they have no space available for their work. With one of the highest rental rates in the province and our explosive growth in condo and apartment tower suites, a couple of places to hoe a row would be more than welcome.

Well the group I was in all those many months ago was never very big and over the cold months we petered put, me included, to our daily lives as the good earth slept and rejuvenated itself for another season…. and another crop of community gardeners!

Now is the time to get together with the New Westminster Community Garden Initiative and help form the critical mass that is required to get this project off the ground. There will be much work to do.. a society to form, a site or sites to select, the city to finagle, water and materials, sponsorships, administration, it is a pretty long list! The first thing to do though is to come together as citizens and decide to work together for our collective long term benefit. This is one of those examples where the health of a community can be positively impacted by the work of a small group of determined citizens.

Next Thursday Tuesday June 16th, in the New Westminster Library auditorium, at 7:00pm, come and meet with your fellow gardeners and your fellow citizens. Organised by David Maidman, the evening is sponsored and endorsed by the New West Environmental Partners, the New West Community Food Action Committee, Royal City Farmer’s Market and by our humble outlet, the Tenth to the Fraser Blog. I will be there with a draw for two lovely books: The Complete Compost Gardening Guide by B.Pleasant and D.L. Martin and also Garden Anywhere by Alys Fowler.

The Garden Song

Dave Mallet (Popularized by Peter Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, John Denver, Charlotte Diamond and Kermit The Frog)

Inch by inch, row by row
Gonna make this garden grow
All it takes is a rake and a hoe
And a piece of fertile ground
Inch by inch, row by row
Someone bless these seeds I sow
Someone warm them from below
‘Til the rain comes tumbling down

Pulling weeds and pickin’ stones
Man is made from dreams and bones
Feel the need to grow my own
‘Cause the time is close at hand
Grain for grain, sun and rain
Find my way in nature’s chain
To my body and my brain
To the music from the land

Plant your rows straight and long
Thicker than with pray’r and song
Mother Earth will make you strong
If you give her love and care
Old crow watchin’ hungrily
From his perch in yonder tree
In my garden I’m as free

As that feathered thief up there

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A Generous Garden

A reliable source informs me that a property owner in the Connaught Heights area would like to see an area of land used as a community garden of sorts. In true Royal City style, this currently anonymous owner is offering the space for interested gardeners, free of charge.

If you are one of the many New Westminsterites out there hankering to till the soil and raise your own veggies, but you don’t have a plot to plant in, contact us and we will pass on the info!

Simply leave a comment on this post. Leave your email on the comment form but not in the comment text. We will see your email but not the world. Use your first name somewhere so we know who to ask for and remember; serious inquiries only! If you know you will use the space all through the season, ask away. If not, help a neighbor pull weeds.


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