Saturday, March 28th, a large group of all ages came out to build the Cloverdale Community Garden. After a beautiful, sunny day of measuring, cutting, nailing, hammering, shoveling, dumping, raking and shovelling some more, we started our garden with 12 beautiful cedar garden boxes.
Over the next two months, we planted a variety of crops. In June, we discovered the plants weren't healthy and the new seedlings weren't growing. While we had previously questioned the soil, at this point we knew it was not the right soil. The right soil had been ordered but after looking into it further, it was discovered that the wrong soil had been picked up. We had no choice but to change all the soil. With the great weather, we thought we would still have a chance to have a decent growing season.
Over the next three weeks, thanks to a generous donation from our friends at Port Kells Nursery (portkellsnurseries.com), we were able to replace the soil one box at a time. This took a lot of shovelling but thanks to our friends at G&F Financial (gffg.com) and Monday Night Cafe, we managed this huge job and were also able to save all the herbs, squash, cucumber and tomato plants. G&F Financial also donated more seeds to help us replant the things we lost. They also sponsored a kids plot in which the kids planted cucumbers, onions, snap peas and carrots.
As we near the end of the season, we are joyfully embracing the ups and downs of this gardening endeavour. We have treasured the many new relationships we've been able to build with donors, volunteers, water truck drivers (a huge thanks to one friend who twice watered the garden for us with his truck in under 5 minutes!), and various pedestrians strolling by and checking out what we are up to. We have also valued the opportunity to bring kids into the garden to pick various crops and then enjoy cooking them in our weekly community cooking classes in the Cloverdale Community Kitchen. In total, we had 7 classes. The kids used zucchini for cake, cupcakes and kebabs. They dug up red potatoes for hash browns in our Breakfast class and russet potatoes for oven fries to go with the hamburgers they made from scratch. They used cucumbers for salads and quick pickles, chives for biscuits, basil and tomatoes for caprese salad, rosemary for foccacia and sunflowers to decorate their tables for eating. We were also able to share zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes with Monday Night Cafe and have a crop of potatoes ready to harvest for them along with a bunch of spaghetti and butternut squash.
As the first season draws to a close, we are going to try our hand at a little winter gardening and also ways to build up our soil over winter. We are thankful for ways that God has been faithful to our little garden project and look to Him for guidance as we move forward, embracing the journey, to His glory!