West Shore community gardens looking for green thumbs
Three Colwood community gardens are looking for people who want to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.
Between the Westshore Teaching gardens, Pilgrim community and Coast Collective gardens, about 40 plots are ripe for the picking.
The Pilgrim community garden off Painter Road in Colwood is run solely by its gardeners.
“We are a volunteer group, we don’t advertise it because we are busy gardening,” said Pilgrim plot co-ordinator Maureen Cue. “This is garden that a lot of people in the community started up. Now it runs on its own and doesn’t require support.”
The Westshore teaching garden is run by the Westshore Learning Centre. While the numbers haven’t been tallied for this year, there is speculation about 20 plots will be open at the Westshore teaching garden. It will have all available plots identified at the end of the March.
“Every summer the garden is busy and active,” said Candace Thompson, Westshore Training and Learning Centre agricultural consultant. “The plots are super fertile but small so although they grow a lot of food they don’t easily support many people working in them at a time.”
At the Pilgrim community garden, 10 plots are open for new comers. The garden has 40 plots, five of which are communal plots containing items such as raspberries and rhubarb. There are 17 families who are members of the garden.
The Coast Collective garden has only four individual plots but the majority of the garden is communal and runs on the honour system.
“We share what people plant, it’s a free, shared experience,” said co-ordinator Annabelle Baxter. “This place is about community and teaching.”
The Coast Collective garden is located outside of the Coast Collective art gallery and is in its second season.
The Pilgrim community garden is the oldest community garden on the West Shore. The land for the garden is donated by the Pilgrim United Church.
“It’s a gift to the community for people who don’t have land to garden at their homes,” said Elaine Hooper, chair of the church council. “We all love to know the land is being used this way.”
The church considers the land to be a gift to the community. The gardeners are responsible for covering the water bill.
“If places don’t give land, then there are no community gardens,” Cue said expressing gratitude to the church. “What a garden needs is land, labour and water.”
Capital Families Association started the Pilgrim Community Garden in 1997.
“At the time it was used as an occasional parking lot,” said David Stott, former project co-ordinator of Capital Families.
With the grant money Capital Families was able to bring in 80 tonnes of composted soil.
“We basically built the beds on top of the gravel,” Stott said. “We started adding mulch a couple years later.
“I think it is a wonderful garden and I am so pleased it is doing so well.”
All of the gardens ask gardeners to pitch in additional time to help with communal areas. The Pilgrim community and Coast Collective gardens don’t have specific guidelines, but the teaching garden, off Sooke Road, asks its gardeners to donate about two hours per week for various tasks.
Pilgrim community garden
Contact Maureen Cue at 250-479-1156
10 plots available
3319 Painter Rd.
Westshore teaching garden
Call Candace Thompson at 250-642-2595
About 20 plots available
2139 Sooke Rd.
Coast Collective garden
Contact Annabelle Baxter at firstname.lastname@example.org
Four plots and communal areas
3221 Heatherbell Rd.