During the past two months, gardeners at the Aldergrove Community Garden have been busy harvesting many veggies from their plots.
The focus for gardeners this year has been on building a mini-community within the space on 29th Avenue, behind the library, and expanding into the larger Aldergrove community.
Patsy Homan, a garden committee member in charge of membership, said the plan for 2021 is to support the local food bank.
“We have allocated two main plots designated to grow veggies for them while our gardeners have also donated veggies from their gardens,” Homan explained. “An email is sent out to all gardeners a few days before to ask if anyone can contribute to our Tuesday morning harvest for the food bank that week.”
Different gardeners answer the call each week on what can be harvested from their plots depending on what’s ready.
“This harvest is truly a collaborative effort from all of our generous and considerate gardeners,” Homan assured. “One gardener even sent detailed instructions on how to harvest his massive blue cabbages.”
This year, Aldergrove Financial joined this group of charitable gardeners by planting a plot to contribute to their food bank mission.
Branch manager Michelle and financial advisors Crystal and Sonya recently joined in on digging in the soil and washing everything harvested.
“I’m truly impressed with how our gardeners have literally blossomed with volunteerism with our garden projects and watering for each other as compared to last years growing season that was filled with worry, isolation, and our unprecedented COVID rules with strict schedules,” Homan said.
Member Kristen Chadwick said she joined the Aldergrove Community Garden because she found this past winter with the pandemic restrictions to be extremely difficult.
“I felt very isolated and found that my mental health was affected. My husband encouraged me to try a new hobby, and when I emailed the garden I was delighted to learn they had plots available,” Chadwick said.
She noted that everyone at the garden is very kind and happy to help new gardeners out with knowledgeable advice and encouragement.
“So far, I have found great success with my radishes, arugula, spinach, and lettuce in particular, and I am also excited about my wildflower patch which I sowed to attract pollinators,” Chadwick continued.
Veggies donated to the Aldergrove Food Bank have so far included reddish small potatoes, curly kale, onions, huge lettuce plants, zucchinis, cucumbers, Swiss chard, broccoli, and cabbages to start off.
“All our produce is free of chemical sprays,” Homan added.
She put out a special kudos to the many volunteers who dedicate their time for the clients of the food bank and encouraged others to donate their veggies if they find themselves with extra this season.
“If anyone was thinking of donating a few veggies from their own garden, go ahead and take them over,” Homan said. “Every donation however small counts towards feeding their clients.”
Due to COVID-19, the garden couldn’t apply for a TOL community grant, which would have covered most of the expense allocated to replacing garden boxes.
“While we can apply in 2022, there’s no guarantee we’ll succeed,” Homan added. “Unfortunately, our garden needs immediate attention and could not be started last year.”
The boxes are well over 10 years old. Time has caused the wood to rot and crumble, so many of the plots are falling apart.
“We have 46 plots, and on average, 35 gardeners,” Homan said. “Our gardeners have done so much for our garden to date, and we are hoping for some help from the Aldergrove community to continue our mission of volunteering.”
The Aldergrove Food Bank is located at 27524 Fraser Hwy.
To help restore the boxes or have any questions about the community garden answered, people can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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