URBAN GARDENER: Students get in on the community garden craze

The Edible Courtyard, a creative garden plan by a dynamic former student at Timberline Secondary School, is now underway in the school’s spacious interior court

The Edible Courtyard, a creative garden plan by a dynamic former student at Timberline Secondary School, is now underway in the school’s spacious interior court.

Kira DeSorcy, who recently graduated from Camosun College’s Agricultural Division, is heading a group of past and present students, including Louis Patterson. They are in the process of building the garden to include raised planting beds, First Nations edible plants, dwarf fruit trees,  berry and culinary herbs border, garden shed and classroom shelter.  The project has so far received funds from NIC and Renewable Resources Co. and Core Systems which manufacture green alternatives to wheelchair accessible pathways.

Students are also planning an Environmental Stewardship Day at Timberline Secondary School which will involve workshops, presentations and a marketplace. In particular the market is open to display for companies that offer eco-friendly products and information to their customers.  The event will be held on April 21 at Timberline and for those interested in participating in the market please email  kira.desorcy@hotmail.com .

If Your Fingers Are Itching to begin the planting season early here’s a suggestion for a satisfying crop that can be direct-seeded into your pots and garden strips. Salad greens are the answer. Try arugula, corn salad, raddicchio, lettuces, oriental greens, peas, spinach and swiss chard. These suggestions were taken from a west coast planting chart and within weeks you will find yourself picking fresh, crunchy leaves for wonderful evening salads. Using these seeds last season my deck pots were bursting with greens by mid May.

Basil Is My Favourite Herb which I use generously for flavouring tomato dishes and sprinkling on salads. Start seeds indoors and wait until mid June to move the generally finicky plants outside. They thrive when placed under the sheltering leaves of your tomato plants. Pick a hot spot on the deck, preferably against a wall and those deliciously pungent smelling  plants will continue to produce faithfully, all summer long.

The First Community Garden to be constructed on municipal land is due to open officially on May 15. Meanwhile the founder, Chelsea Holley  and her happy band of 14 excited gardeners are charting out the plot lines at the  Laughing Willow Community Gardens. It’s located at the corner of Simms Road and Lawson Grove.

The plots will measure 4 by 20 feet and are well suited to the square foot gardening concept which focuses on intensive small space growing areas. As well, there are raised beds planned for wheelchair accessibility.

Actual construction of the site will begin in early April and an open house is planned for 15 May.  Funding for startup has come from Greenways Land Trust, the Lions Club, Rotary Club and several small businesses.

Sundance Café has set up an ongoing fundraiser by donating the cost of a paper cup for each customer who brings in their own coffee mug.  The nearby Presbyterian Church is donating indoor meeting space and Chelsea says this is only part of an amazing community effort to establish the much welcomed garden.

There are still spaces available for both wheel chair access and ground level sites. Chelsea will welcome your interest at Chelsea.Holley@hotmail.com.

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