Many hands make light work—it’s a saying that is abundantly demonstrated when the 16 BCSS Sustainable Resources and Agriculture students showed up at the Midway Community Garden in the spring to help give the season a kick start.
This is the third year that teacher Lisa Baia has offered the Sustainable Resources Course. The course gives the students a science credit, something they need for graduation. And while it is attractive for the kids who aren’t into physics, biology or chemistry, the class also draws others such as Grade 12 student Emily Parker who came to class wearing a crown made of dandelions. Emily is heading into a two-year program in integrated environmental planning this fall.
As well as helping plant potatoes and asparagus, lay irrigation line, weed a patch of garlic, lay mulch along pathways and the countless other things that need to be done in the garden, the class also looks after a greenhouse at the school that is full to the max with green stuff.
They have 100 squash almost ready to be planted. They have lettuce, kale, tomatoes and peppers—some for the community gardens and some for the teachers. They are also growing grass that will be used for the Boothman’s Oxbow Restoration Project east of Grand Forks.
“It is hard work, but it is good work,” said Grade 11 student Madison Harpur. “I like it quite a bit—knowing we are doing something for the environment and learning how to be green.”
Community garden coordinator Dick Dunsdon said that Vaagen sawmill donated four loads of hog fuel and local contractor Tom Bosovich trucked it to the garden at no cost. So it really is a community garden.
Last week the class planted potatoes and put in the drip irrigation pipe, which has to be buried so the birds don’t get to it and peck holes in it. Squash, cantaloupe and watermelon that was started in the class’s greenhouse will go into the garden this week. There is a plot set aside ready for six rows of beans this year too.
Dunsdon is again going to have some of the harvest available for sale: corn, potatoes, beans, squash and maybe some asparagus. He said to watch for the sandwich board at the end of the corner of Florence and 7th Street later in the season when the produce will be available from noon to 2 p.m. a couple of days each week.
The community garden also has 36 10-foot by 20-foot garden plots for community residents that are rented out for only $5 per year.
There is a special plot put aside each spring for the past couple of years for the cook at the tree planters’ kitchen down behind the arena.
There are another 37 raised beds available too. Dunsdon said the garden is now self-sustaining as far as cash flow goes. Approximately $35,000 in grants made the fencing, irrigation and wood for the raised beds possible.
“The kids are great,” he exclaimed adding that a lot of the labour that gets the garden into production after the winter is done by the Sustainable Resources students. “They have been coming out a couple of times a week and I have sometimes been scrambling to get stuff for them to do.”
One thing that hasn’t done well in the garden though is the mole population. Dunsdon reported that in the first year on the site he caught 256 of them, but only four so far this year.