Our Town

Let the growing season begin

It may look barren now, but Cranbrook’s Public Produce Garden will soon be bursting with life. - Submitted
It may look barren now, but Cranbrook’s Public Produce Garden will soon be bursting with life.
— image credit: Submitted

Cranbrook's community garden will be more bountiful than ever this year as community members will begin planning out planting this week.

The Public Produce Garden, located in Mackinnon Park between Save-On Foods and Hot Shots Cafe, was created in 2012 as a place for the community to grow produce and harvest what they need without restrictions. Each season, the garden has grown larger and more bountiful, and on Tuesday the community will start planning out how the garden will be planted this year.

"We're hoping to get feedback from as many participants and community members as possible," said Shannon Grey Duncan, Cranbrook Food Action Committee coordinator.

"This year at the Public Produce Garden we will be creating more growing space. There is substantial space for more garden beds, fruit or nut trees, and berries... whatever the community decides is most important."

The event on Tuesday, March 25 begins at 1 p.m. There will be stations set up in each area of the garden to collect people's ideas about what should be going where and what the priorities will be this season.

"As with every season of this community garden, there is no one person calling the shots. Anyone who comes to participate has an equal voice," said Grey Duncan.

There is already some work to be done in the garden, she continued, and perennials will soon start to burst from the ground.

"There are seeds that could be put into the ground already and on Tuesday we'll talk about what our first steps should be. Should we rototill to turn the garden over or try other methods to prepare the beds for planting?

"We will be adding sand to the big annual bed first thing to increase drainage and loosen soil that has become compressed, as was decided at the end of last season.

"We could put in some cold-hardy seeds, such as spinach or asian greens, on Tuesday.

"The perennials planted last year will start budding as soon as the weather warms up and it will be exciting to see them burst to life after a winter's dormancy."

Tuesday will also be an opportunity to unveil the attractive new pergola installed in the garden late last year. Mayor Wayne Stetski will cut a ribbon on the donated pergola, officially opening the growing season.

"The pergola is a timberframe structure that was locally constructed in the fall of 2013 by Shelter Timberframe and Design. It was paid for by a grant from the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program.  It will make the Cranbrook Public Produce Garden more accessible to all ages, particularly seniors, offering some respite from the sun in the summer," said Grey Duncan.

Work around the pergola will continue this year.

"Benches will be constructed this spring, and vegetation planted to climb up and over the pergola, offering a pleasant place to relax and gather with fellow gardeners. In addition to the pergola, a compressed gravel walkway was put in place from the front gate leading to the pergola. This makes it more accessible for people needing more stable footing. This year we hope to edge that walkway in an attractive way and alter the curb in front of the gate to make it truly wheelchair accessible."

If you can't make the event on Tuesday, stay tuned for date of further planning sessions in the garden.

"We will be promoting several other planning sessions at a variety of times to try and collect as much feedback as possible and that will determine what the collective priorities are and what we're eating out of the garden this year!" said Grey Duncan.

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