Kathy Radomski smiles as she unearths a healthy-sized zucchini from a garden that benefits the needy.
“I’m making a stew for Saturday,” says a pleased Radomski. “Everything I’m picking today will go in the stew, nothing’s going to waste.”
After a slow start to the season due to cooler than normal temperatures, Radomski is thrilled to see the crop, although behind schedule, that is growing in Coast Realty’s backyard.
The realty group generously donated the land, some labour, and most of the seeds for the 14-bed garden that benefits lunch programs for two groups – Radiant Life Church and the Campbell River Outreach Program.
Radiant Life’s Sunday lunch program feeds around 90 people while the Outreach Program provides around 70-80 meals on Saturdays to the homeless and those at risk.
Radomski says the garden has been wonderful.
“It’s nice because I can make a salad, and they love salads,” Radomski says. “Plus, it keeps costs down.”
Both groups are thrilled with the garden which has produced lettuce, peas, potatoes, tomatoes, beans, cabbage, herbs, rhubarb and strawberries. Next year there will be raspberries and in the fall, pumpkins.
Although the garden is doing well now, it took longer than expected for the first crop to appear.
“In July we started collecting,” Radomski says. “It’s gotten too cold at night, it’s just not a good gardening season. Everything is about four weeks behind by my estimation, but I’m not an expert.”
Still, vegetables have been pulled up nearly every day for the past month by either Radomski, Radiant Life Pastor Art Van Holst or church goer and volunteer Gary Holt, who are out tending to the garden several times a week.
Holt travels all the way from Comox to help in the garden three to four times a week.
“I’ll pluck weeds and do some watering, just to make sure,” Holt says.
“Today, I brought my rake up here and I’m also pulling some spuds out.”
Coast Realty’s Roy Grant, and city councillor, says come winter the garden beds will all have to be dug up and replaced with top soil from the garden’s composter.
He also hopes to add some nutrients, such as sea salt, to the dirt that can sit throughout the winter in preparation for next year.