Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Community gardens.

Vancouver and the Lower Mainland are seeing a pretty impressive proliferation of what are known as community gardens. Vancouver itself has many such gardens, and they are a way for people without the space for a proper garden, or simply without as much space as they would like, to bring their desires to fruition. Some of the gardens have waiting lists, so if you are interested, I suggest contacting the person in charge of the gardens you are interested in ASAP, as planting season in the Lower Mainland began about two weeks ago already.

Last year, the District of North Vancouver (where I live) launched its first community garden.  Although I would love to get involved (as would Tim), there is a wait list.  If you find yourself in a similar situation, you can go to the City Farmer website, which matches people with excess garden space with people looking to rent or use some.  We have contacted a couple people that live near us but unfortunately have received no response, so it looks like another year of balcony gardening for us.

Last year we grew our own lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, herbs (sage, basil, thyme, oregano, marjoram, cilantro, parsley), and even some bok choi.  I would definitely encourage anyone to try any of those vegetables and herbs.  The tomato plant, which we actually bought almost fully grown, ended up getting a bit rotted and then died, and all of the plants died over the winter (our balcony gets no sun whatsoever during the winter, so this is going to happen every year, I'm sure), but during the summer it was amazing to eat fresh grown salads and herbs.  We go through a lot of lettuce at our house because we both eat a salad every day at lunch, and I've always noticed that the lettuce you get from the store is not that fresh looking.  If you grow about 12 heads of lettuce, you can just remove the outside leaves each day (plenty for two people) and the lettuce will continue to grow outwards and you will have a constant supply of fresh lettuce. 

Tomatoes and peppers are extremely pricey (particularly organic), so they are also a worthwhile plant to have at home.  This year, now that I've figured out how to can things, we would really like to grow a massive amount of tomatoes so that we can have a supply of tomato sauce and salsa to last us through the winter.  We may end up having to go to a U Pick Farm and get enough that way, as twenty tomatoes only seems to produce about four pint jars of tomato sauce.  Either way, I'm looking forward to a productive and delicious summer!


  1. Love the blog Jaime... :)
    After living in a relatively large house for most of my life, my recent move to a smaller condo has been tough. I now better understand the value of space and efficiency. I also have a much better understanding of the value of a dollar, considering I now have to provide for myself.
    I have never been very environmentally aware in the past, but coming to the condo, I realised that I actually was much more 'green' than I thought. For example, we had space under the sink for only one garbage container and no recycling bin or organics bin. That was actually one of the first changes I made to the kitchen... I built a pull-out garbage and recycling bin in one of the cupboards. Now, I only take the garbage out once every three days rather than at the end of each day. I was also used to buying large quantities of various items and found that at the end of each week, I was throwing away tons of food that had gone bad. Now, I have learned to buy smaller quantities, more often, to reduce the amount of waste.
    I have to say... I'm quite proud of myself! I never considered myself an environentalist... but I think there may be some green hidden somewhere inside!

  2. Hello Anonymous and thank you for the comment! We have found ourself in a very similar situation. We moved our two homes into one when we moved in together, but also were trying to save money since we had moved to a much more expensive city. The environmentalism just sort of happened, I'm not sure what the exact cause was. I used to be frustrated because it just seemed like there was so much we weren't doing, then we started adding things slowly and now we're pretty good. It doesn't mean that we are perfectly green by any stretch of the imagination, but we are definitely doing better than we were. All of the things that each person does to help makes a difference!