It was another great year for the Community Garden, and even though there were some challenges along the way, the garden produced a tremendous bounty of vegetables.
Connie Achtymichuk, Provincial Specialist, Vegetable Crops; and Garth Weiterman, Professional Agrologist, Water & Soils Specialist, and farmer; spearheaded the project again and they were pleased with the community effort now in its second year.
The garden, located at 311 Selkirk Street on a lot offered up by Barrie Spigott, saw upgrades this year thanks to the ingenuity and expertise of some of the volunteers. These new additions were highlighted in an event called “A Walk in the Garden” hosted by Garth Weiterman, Connie Achtymichuk and Ken Achtymichuk (research technician, CSIDC). Attendees got the chance to learn more about the unique drip irrigation system that is in place, as well as the ‘Three Sisters’ planting method uniting corn, squash and beans into one crop.
Weiterman felt these methods would likely result in bigger yields this year—and again their intent was to give the food where it was needed. “Our primary purpose is growing it for the food bank,” he said at that event. “We’ve tried to get enough interest to give people their own individual plots and that’s another model of community gardening that could be done. At the moment, though, and with COVID going on, it’s much better to continue going the way we are. It was well accepted last year, so we’ll keep doing it that way.”
In addition to the Outlook and District Food Bank, others were beneficiaries of the garden produce including residents at Golden Acres and Luther Place as well as The Lighthouse in Saskatoon.
The 2020 growing season saw its share of challenges including strong winds at the start, town-wide water restrictions and of course the need to ensure volunteers were kept safe with proper social distancing. Some volunteers were so thankful for the presence of the garden, indicating they couldn’t wait to get there to help with weeding because it gave them something soothing to do while so much of life was different this summer.
In addition to individual volunteers, there were the businesses on board contributing to the success of the garden including Riverbend Co-op, Home Hardware, Western Water Management, and Outlook Rentals.
At the heart of the effort is the volunteers who prepared the ground, did the planting, and spent hours weeding and harvesting the crop. The list of volunteers includes Garth and Maureen Weiterman, Ken and Connie Achtymichuk, Barrie and Sharon Spigott, Gerry Gross, Cara, Delilah and Michael Drury, Lily and Ella Farden, Janet Gifford, Colleen Rada, Diana Peters, Helena and Varia Shevchuk, Delwyn, Shelley and Madalina Luedtke, Laura Rafoss, Tim and Lynette Groznendyk, Dale Tomasiewicz, Glen and Wendy Richards, Kathryn King, Judy King, Ryan McGill, Jay Dewey, and Mike Stushnoff. The Community Garden is grateful to every individual, family and business that assisted in any aspect of the project and apologizes if any donors or workers were inadvertently missed.
Working together they harvested 120 pounds of beans, 815 pounds of carrots, 417 cobs of corn, 600 pounds of tomatoes, 120 onions and 94 peppers. What an outstanding effort on the part of all who are committed to growing and sharing healthy food in our community.