The 2nd Annual Springhill Community Garden Open House was held last Thursday evening and it was a huge success, not to mention a lot of fun! The purpose of the event was mainly to recruit volunteer gardeners for the Town’s first and only community garden, which is located next to the community Recreation Centre. As part of the Open House festivities, there was face painting and seedling starting for the kiddies, along with a worm composting demonstration and a few gardening resource displays.
The Springhill Community Garden houses 15 raised bed plots, not all of which were filled in its’ inaugural year, last summer. But thanks mostly to word-of-mouth, 12 plots were filled over the course of the 2-hour Open House. “This is really hopeful and amazing” according to Garden Committee Chair Jo-Ann Potter, who feels strongly that given time, the garden will grow in popularity. “We have some funds to install more raised beds” she noted, but we didn’t think we would have the uptake this summer. Now it is looking like we will go ahead with the expansion, as we do not want to have to turn anyone interested away”. The Coordinating Committee believes that the garden is a great local resource for families wishing to learn how to grow some of their own food and is integral to our local long term food security.
Last year the garden was fortunate to receive funding through the Thrive initiative, via a local food project undertaken by the local Health Authority. The monies allowed the garden to purchase a great deal of infrastructure that might normally take a community garden years to come up with the financing for. A shed was bought, as well as signage, all sorts of gardening supplies, and a beautiful sun shelter was built by a local carpenter and erected at the site. The Ecology Action Centre helped fund a large and lovely pollinator garden and a permaculture garden that border the garden, as well as provided skills training for gardeners and capacity building for the Garden Committee.
The Garden Committee is planning to install a few rain barrels this year, and a pumpkin patch with a three-sisters demonstration plot will also be added. *(Stay tuned for information on how to construct a three-sisters plot in a later blog). A few flowering shrubs will be planted along another border of the garden to help with wind protection and enhance pollinator habitat, as well as to provide a bit of privacy for gardeners. Several gardening and food skills workshops will also be available to the local community. All in all, it is shaping up to be a great gardening season!
Above photos: Left: River Gooding sports a tomato on his cheek! Right: Betty Rockwell signs up for a garden plot. Photo in featured image: Mikaela, Moisés and Exequiel Reyes-Venegas enjoy the worm composting demo. Photos taken by Su Morin.
Blog Written By: Su Morin, Ecology Action Centre Community Food Coordinator for Cumberland County, NS.