Now participants in the chronic disease management programs at the Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex have access to a community garden where they can care for plants before or after their programs.
“We’re telling them what to do [in the fitness programming] now they have the opportunity in that garden to be more creative themselves,” said Debra Wilson, fitness and rehabilitation coordinator at the complex.
The planter boxes were built this spring by the complex’s maintenance staff and placed in the fenced area around the water slide at the complex.
Wilson said almost all of the departments have pitched in.
“It was a really good team building project for all of us” she said.
With direction from the Elaine Jansen, the compost educator at the Comox Strathcona Waste Management Service, the garden produced potatoes, carrots, peas, onions, tomatoes and sunflowers, among other things.
All of which, once harvested, was donated to the food bank and if the food bank couldn’t use it, the donations got passed on to other not-for-profits in the community.
“It was a good community project,” Wilson said.
There are both standing beds as well as beds on the ground, for easy access for people who might have mobility issues.
Anyone who wants to contribute can sign out a key from the front office and let themselves in to the fenced off area.
There is a hose already hooked up, a bucket for weeds and easy to use gardening tools.
Not only is this another opportunity to engage people who go to the complex for programs, Wilson said it has also reduced maintenance work to the area as gravel was placed on the ground in the area and therefore less weeding needs to be done.
“It’s clean and sharp looking in there,” Wilson said.
Over winter the beds will be covered with hay, and Wilson said they are planting winter garlic and kale because it will push up through the hay.
A. Wood Bulldozing Lt., Sticks N Stones Nursery, Renewable Resources as well as the Comox Strathcona Waste Management Services all contributed either manpower or dollars to the project.
Wilson said more planter boxes would be fit in the area and would be a good addition, but it all depends on other factors such as the budget.