Community gardens are filling up for spring

With food prices projected to rise, more people may be thinking about growing their own food this year.

Community gardens have been springing up since 2008 in Vernon, with the latest garden added last year on the West Vernon school property downtown. In all, there are about 154 allotments offered in a range of sizes at the three community gardens in the area.

Gardeners pay an allotment fee each spring for the growing season, and must renew annually. There is some turnover each year, so spaces do come available, but new gardeners anticipating getting an allotment this year need to act quickly.

The new West Vernon garden has been popular with gardeners and the 50 beds are likely to fill right away, according to Wendy Aasen, who has been coordinating the Community Garden Network through the Food Action Society and in partnership with Greater Vernon Parks, Recreation, and Culture. The East Hill garden still has some allotments available, and the Pleasant Valley garden has a number of boxed beds still open for new gardeners.

“Each garden has something unique to offer and they are all in peaceful locations that the gardeners find very relaxing and enjoyable — a mini retreat,” said Aasen.

The Pleasant Valley garden, which was modeled after the Square Foot Garden method, has deepened the beds to 12 feet, which allows for the production of a surprising volume of food. At $8 per bed per season, it is an economical way to have a healthy supply of vegetables, enjoy some outdoor activity, and make new friends. The garden is at the rear of the Pleasant Valley Church of God about one km north of Butcher Boys on Pleasant Valley Road.

The gardens rely on volunteer committees who tend to the day to day operations at each garden, in addition to the personal time that each gardener lends towards its upkeep. Gardeners sign an agreement committing them to maintaining the standards and expectations set forth and are required to help keep things running smoothly.

Registration takes place in person at the Recreation Centre. Forms can be found at www.greatervernonrecreation.ca (click on the Community Garden tab found on the right) or call 250-542-6920.