Pedvac garden gets growing

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By Joan LeBlan – Sackville Tribune Post

The Port Elgin District Voluntary Action Council is operating its community garden this year, with a number of local residents also opting to plant small box gardens at the facility on Church Street in the village. Shown here recently, a volunteer does some weeding in one of the raised gardens. JOAN LEBLANC – SACKVILLE TRIBUNE-POST PHOTO
The Port Elgin District Voluntary Action Council is operating its community garden this year, with a number of local residents also opting to plant small box gardens at the facility on Church Street in the village. Shown here recently, a volunteer does some weeding in one of the raised gardens. JOAN LEBLANC – SACKVILLE TRIBUNE-POST PHOTO

PORT ELGIN, N.B. – The Port Elgin Distinct Voluntary Action Council is growing again this year – growing vegetables that is, and flowers and herbs as well.

The community service and advocacy organization has once again planted a garden, to help stock its food bank and provide some foods for its regular monthly cooking class, as well as offering gardening space for area residents as needed.

“We actually have a regular garden that is 80 feet by 85 feet and also 10 square foot gardens that are each eight feet by four feet. These are raised box gardens framed with wood and filled with soil; it’s amazing how much produce can be yielded from just 32 square feet of garden, if it’s planted correctly,” Pedvac executive director Val MacDermid said recently.

She added that Pedvac has books and other information available on how to build and plant a square food garden and in August will also be offering a free workshop on how to build a three-bin composter.

She noted that, like many local residents, the Pedvac garden is late this year due to the cold weather in June, but student workers and volunteers continue to re-plant later crops and maintain the already-growing plants. And just like many of it initiatives, Pedvac is appreciative of donations from the community to assist with the garden.

“We had a donation of 40 strawberry plants which will begin to produce next year and also 100 pineberry plants. We’re looking forward to tasting these berries next year; they are apparently like a white strawberry that taste like pineapple. We’ve also had donations of seeds and other plants and C & J Nurseries gave us lots of vegetable and flower plants. Someone donated an apple tree and we’re hoping that people with extra fruit trees will think of us too,” she said.

Advertisement – Article continues belowMacDermid noted that produce from the garden will go to the food bank, but some will also be used in their monthly youth and adult food preparation classes.

“This program offers adults and youth the opportunity to learn food preparation and how to eat well. There is no charge for attending these classes, which have been going on for about a year. If anyone is interested in this or any other Pedvac program we urge them to give us a call,” she added.

MacDermid also noted that a group of regular volunteers has been developing the lands surrounding the gardens, building various outdoor items such as bird houses and benches using donated lumber and building supplies.

“We don’t have any lumber left so we’re asking any and everyone who might be cleaning out to think of Pedvac. The volunteers are using all sorts of odds and ends to build things so if people have bits of lumber or odd shaped pieces of plywood and such, these would be much appreciated. We can also always use other building supplies such as nails and screws, hinges, fasteners; all types of stuff to make things with; they would like to be able to built a trellis for plants for the garden area. You’d be surprised what can be built with odds and ends,” she added.

And while the large Pedvac garden will serve its own needs, the raised beds are available to local residents for a small rental cost. The raised bed, soil and fertilizer are provided as well as the use of various garden tools to maintain the small gardens.

“We have three people who are using the gardens this year, there is still one empty bed – and the remainder we are using for our own use this year. We’re hoping others will want to use the raised gardens next year,” she said.

And being an organization that depends on volunteers, MacDermid said that Pedvac is hoping area garden-lovers will also pitch in to help with the garden program.

“Volunteers are always appreciated, but the garden area is also just a nice place to sit and enjoy. We encourage people to come anytime, maybe bring a picnic – there are picnic tables and chairs all around – and enjoy the lovely summer weather,” she said.

For more information on the community garden, or any other of Pedvac’s programs and service, call 506-538-7638 Monday through Friday from 9-5. Or check out their Facebook site online.

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