Keeping your vegetable garden happy isn’t always easy. You’ll have to weed regularly; protect your plants from critters, pests and diseases; and take care of soil nutrients.
Vegetables need to grow in well-draining, nutrient-rich soil. Choose an area that gets sun (not shade). Plant your vegetables in rows with the tallest at the north end and the shortest plants at the south end to ensure all get enough sunlight.
FERGUS – The new community garden beside the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex celebrated the end of its first season on Sunday – cause for celebration, reflection, and quite a bit of food.
Years in the planning, the first community garden on township land came together quickly.
The ground was tilled, amended and individual garden plots marked out and rented.
Those gardeners tended to their plots through the summer, growing whatever their hearts desired.
A pollinator garden was established in a swale nearby to attract bees and butterflies that are necessary for vegetable gardens.
And a food forest was planted and in its first year, two cherry trees yielded 20 pounds of cherries that were donated to the Mobile Food Market.
“This food forest is a treasure,” said volunteer Andrea Hall.
Even with most of the individual plots already harvested, the community garden was still lush on Sept. 10.
Although she had gardened before, Andrea Wyshniowsky said she recently moved to Centre Wellington and didn’t have land for gardening.
“I was happy to get a spot here,” she said.
She got a good crop of peppers this year and was delighted that her cosmos finally bloomed.
She was on her way to a good crop of tomatoes, but lost many to tomato blight.
“Everybody got tomato blight,” she said. “It took a lot of us down.
“But yes, $35 (to rent her plot) is good value for the money. I hope to be back next year.”
Daisy Moore, one of the garden organizers, said the garden was more successful than she dared hope.
“Year one was transformational for the space and for those who witnessed and participated in its progress,” she said.
“I was constantly surprised by the people who came and the diversity in methods and choices. I learned a lot from my fellow gardeners.”
She was also delighted to see children in the garden.
“It’s thrilling that the next generation is excited about gardening,” she added.
As an experiement, it was successful, she said.
She hopes the township will agree with that assessment and be open to allowing more community gardens on public land.
“The main issue is water though,” said garden coordinator Michelle Goff.
This garden has four large water cisterns that the township filled. Gardeners used that to water their plots.
Goff thought consideration to water storage should be given when the township builds new parks.
Organizers want to emphasize that while they are called community gardens, that does not mean anyone can help themselves to the produce.
Moore said vegetables were stolen from eight garden plots, which is hugely disappointing after working so hard all season.
On the plus side, “it bonded everyone. We’re in it together,” she said.
“We hope that others will be inspired by this model to create the joyful potential of community gardens in their neighbourhood.”