Attention all Gore Bay residents: get growing!

GORE BAY—If you like to garden or want to grow food for you and your family, this is your chance. Now in its second season, the Western Manitoulin Community Garden (WMCG) is inviting community members and organizations to ‘get growing’ for the upcoming 2018 growing season. Individual plots will become available from Victoria Day weekend in May through the end of October.

“A community garden is a community effort to create a nurturing garden space where we build a sense of community, provide gardening lessons for children and adults, grow nutritious organic produce and beautify our community,” commented Chuc Willson, who has been involved with this initiative since early 2017.

“Community gardeners grow many things, not just vegetables,” said Mr. Willson. “You can grow fruit, herbs, flowers, you can grow a butterfly garden, or a bird garden.”

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The individual plots will be assigned on a first come first serve basis at $25 for one 10 foot by 10 foot plot or on a pay as you can basis. Additional plots can be purchased for $20.

Gardeners who sign up for an individual plot will be responsible for tending them over the course of the growing season. Each plot as well as the pathways surrounding each plot, will need to be properly maintained and as weed free as possible. Gardeners will also be responsible for clearing their plot(s) at the end of the growing season, likely late October.

The garden site will be tilled in early May and available for planting by the Victoria Day weekend. Gardeners will have access to chlorine free water from on site water tanks that will be filled by volunteers throughout the summer. There is also a composting system on site where any unwanted plant material  can be left to decompose. Community garden members will have access to an assortment of gardening tools available for general use at the garden.

Gardeners will be asked to use natural methods to control weeds and prevent the spread of disease. Mindful gardening practices such as mulching, composting and companion planting will be encouraged. As a space for building a healthy community the garden will be smoke free.

“If you don’t know much about gardening, don’t worry,” explained Sarah Earley, plot coordinator for the WMCG committee. “There will be lots of expertise on hand. Tips about watering and organic gardening practices will be posted at the garden site and workshops will be held throughout the summer to offer best gardening practices.”

The success of a community garden also depends on everyone’s involvement. Individual plot gardeners will be asked to volunteer for one hour per week over the growing season (for a total of  20 hours),  and can do so through a number of activities such as work bees, the Good Food Box program, community events, fundraising or general maintenance of the common garden.

“If you are interested in learning about gardening, want to connect with your fellow residents, participate in an intergenerational activity with nature, plants and soil, join us today,” Ms. Earley continued. “You will be working alongside an amazing group of people and your efforts will contribute to the development of a safe, green space for our community.”

To rent an individual garden plot please connect with the WMCG plot coordinator Sarah Earley by email:
earleysarahjane@gmail.com When signing up you will be
asked to sign a WMCG agreement which outlines garden rules. If renting a bed, the rental fee must be paid before a plot can be assigned.

If you choose not to rent an individual bed, you can still become a Friend of the Garden and help with activities in the garden, which include maintenance, weeding, tours, garden classes and communal bed gardening. Volunteering tasks will be posted at the garden as well through the groups online newsletter and Facebook page ‘westernmanitoulincommunitygarden.’ For further information about volunteering in the garden please contact Barb Barfoot by email: barbara@timberstone.com.

The Western Manitoulin community garden is located at the intersection of Highways 540 and 542B with the entrance on Highway 540 west of the OPP station at the laneway to the driving range.

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