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The ROI of Community Gardens

The ROI of Community Gardens (By Susie Cochran) Food. We all need it. But getting it to our tables is getting more complicated all the time. Carolyn Steel claims food is “one of the greatest forces shaping the world.” As populations concentrate in urban areas and the agricultural industry faces mounting environmental pressures, urban farming is stepping in. Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and other major Canadian cities are seeing urban agriculture grow by leaps and bounds. Despite this growing interest, however, the value of urban agriculture is rarely expressed in a way that fits...

The Health Benefits of Gardening

The Health Benefits of Gardening (By Maria Cannon) What if you could reduce your risk for obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, depression, and cancer? Now imagine you could do all of that just by going outside and digging in the dirt. Even if you don’t think you have a green thumb, gardening can be a wonderful way to improve your mental and physical health. Not only can working in a garden provide you with a fun, stimulating physical hobby, studies show it also can improve self-esteem and reduce stress . In fact, look beneath the soil and the health...

Weekly Garden Inspection at Mansion Greens Community Garden

Weekly Garden Inspection at Mansion Greens Community Garden (By Babara Hankins) Community Garden Council meeting in November 2016, there was a discussion about the problem of gardeners losing enthusiasm and neglecting their plots. Most Community Gardens have this issue from time to time. In early 2016, the MGCG Garden Committee met to try to come up with some ideas to keep the garden well cared for during the growing season. We looked up bylaws from a number of community gardens and saw ways to deal with negligence through fines and other punishments. We decided we didn't want to become the...

A Living Fence-Hedge: the Pollinator Fedge

A couple years ago, members of the Salvation Army Hope and Unity Community Garden (HUG) in Kitchener, Ontario, were interested in learning some tactics to control populations of cucumber beetle, potato beetle and flea beetle. I discovered that the best defense against so-called pests is healthy, nutritious garden soil. Strategies that increase soil health include composting, mulching, growing cover crops in the fall, rotating plants, and increasing the biodiversity of both plants and animals. The more habitat for insects and birds, the better balanced the growing system. The more perennial...

Why seed saving is so important!

You love to garden! You planted your favourite veggies, herbs and flowers in the spring, watched them sprout, watered them diligently, added compost, weeded and mulched, observed bees pollinating, reaped the harvest, and savoured delicious flavours as you cooked and preserved your bounty. Now the garden season is nearly over - or is it? What about all those seeds? There are many reasons gardeners might want to save seeds, and it's not hard to do once you learn the basics. First of all, here are a few thoughts on why seed saving is so important: a) Adaptated varieties - Saving your own seeds...

Garlic Harvest at Queen's Green Community Garden

This garlic braid contains 150 garlic bulbs that were recently harvested at Queen's Green Community Garden. This garlic was grown in an area about 8 feet by 8 feet. The garlic variety is a soft neck purple garlic that my parents passed on to me about 20 years ago. They grew the same bulbs for about 30 years. The soil was supplemented last fall with free compost from the Region of Waterloo landfill and free manure from the St. Jacobs Livestock Exchange Barns.

Cucumber beetles!

At Rosemount Community garden, we are encountering a host of cucumber beetles which are attacking cucumbers, zucchini, and pumpkins, as well as hollyhocks. We are using a spray made from boiling rhubarb leaves with some dish soap. Small plants can be covered but must be uncovered for pollination. We are blaming the very dry weather, but would welcome any other organic solutions. (Info from planetnatural.com) Submitted by Linda Bluhm, garden co-ordinator

Tree Mobile at Preston Community Garden, Sturdy Park

Greetings Gardeners, We hope you are enjoying your February and getting excited about growing with us this season! We have joined forces with the TreeMobile to be their Cambridge pickup location. TreeMobile is a small volunteer organization that sells fruit trees, shrubs and vines at low prices online with the goal of helping more people grow delicious, affordable and local food in their communities. Cool right? http://www.transitiontreemobile.org/woo-commerce/shop/ The idea here is anyone in Cambridge can order on-line and pickup their plants up at the garden. There is only one scheduled...

Meaningful Connections for Effective Board Leadership

Whether a Change Agent, Challenger, or Cheerleader; the individual personalities within a board create a diverse culture of skills, even when a seemingly difficult individual comes into play. In order to quell issues that may arrive during meetings with inhibitor-types, there must be an element of meaningful team-building to break down any walls that may exist between directors and staff. This will increase communication, comfort levels, and ultimately increase productivity. It is important to note that diversifying your board skill-set can allow for effective leadership when each individual...

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