Western Manitoulin Community Garden News

WESTERN MANITOULIN – The Western Manitoulin Community Garden (WMCG) is gearing up for its third season and has many events planned.

“We have big things planned this summer,” said Linda Willson, one of the organizers of the garden. “Our first big event of the season is our second annual Kite Festival on Sunday, June 2 from 1 to 4 pm. It was an amazing event last year and we have even bigger plans for this year, o come out to the garden and fly a kite.”

Ms. Willson went on to explain, “in order to get our garden ready for the 2019 season, we will be having a work bee on Saturday, May 25 from 11 am to 3 pm. Hopefully the weather is pleasant, but dress accordingly. All gardeners get to realize that they have to work in the garden in inclement weather from time to time. Rubber boots and raincoats make that possible. Also bring water to drink and work gloves. We have many tasks at the beginning and ending of each garden season and we are hoping for a big turnout from the community; many hands make light work. Even if you can only come out for an hour during those times, all efforts are much appreciated.”

The work bee will consist of laying out the individual garden plots and the Kids Can Grow garden, moving the water towers and getting the hoses set up, setting up the irrigation system, hanging flags and the quilt blocks that the kids painted last year, planting some sunflowers and annual flowers and planting the wind break trees. “We have perennial crops growing in the garden that need some tending and hopefully some of them will be ready to harvest this year. We have asparagus, haspkaps and raspberries. They all need weeding and mulching. We are hoping that the community will come and help in the garden and harvest some of the delicious things growing there this season,” said Ms. Willson.

“The Kids Can Grow garden is an area that is maintained by the Garden Group at CC McLean Public School,” Ms. Willson went on to say. “We have a great partnership with the school. April Patterson and her class, along with the garden club, come every Monday all season long to assist in the garden and maintain their own garden area. The community and parents are welcome to come and help out at this time as well, from 3 to 5 pm every Monday.”

“They have several plants already growing in their classroom and are excited to grow a pizza patch this year. This is a circular patch that will comprise of all the herbs and vegetables that go on top of a pizza,” continued Ms. Willson. “We hope to get into the classroom in the fall to make pizza sauce and then the kids can enjoy their own homemade pizzas with ingredients from their own garden. The pizza patch will then become a perennial herb garden in the future. So show wonderful is that!”

Tracy Chapman, C.C. McLean principal has always been very supportive of the Kids Can Grow program and the program has benefited from that co-operative spirit. “Gardening is really good for students,” she said, “and we have appreciated the programs that Kids Can Grow has offered over the years. They not only fit in with our science curriculum at all grade levels, but they also have cross curricular opportunities in math, art, social science, language and physical education. It’s wonderful that our students have a chance to get outdoors and connect with our community at the same time. Our hope is that they learn to love gardening and acquire the skills they need to start a garden of their own some day.”

There are still a few raised beds, a new addition to the garden this year, available for rent. Ms. Willson reports that they have had a great response to the individual garden plots in the garden this year. And they can still make more room if anyone is interested. Whether it’s an individual bed (10 foot by 20 foot) or a raised bed (four foot by eight foot), the cost is $25 for the whole season or $45 for a double plot. You can call Sarah Earley at 705-210-0422 for more details and to reserve your space for the 2019 season.