Diggin’ in the dirt!

New Bridgetown and Area Com­mu­nity Gar­den ready to grow

Annapolis Valley Register - - ARTS - BY LAWRENCE POW­ELL THE SPEC­TA­TOR

If you want to do a bit of gar­den­ing and get to know some great peo­ple, Olivia Wake­field has it all ‘sown’ up at the Bridgetown and Area Com­mu­nity Gar­den.

It’s the lat­est gar­den­ing project at the Mead­ows Adult Res­i­den­tial Cen­tre on Church Street, and has grown from an idea, to a grant ap­pli­ca­tion, to a re­al­ity this spring in the lush green prop­erty nes­tled into the foot of the North Moun­tain.

Town folk can drop by to tend their crops and get to know the in­spir­ing peo­ple who live there.

‘Idyl­lic set­ting’ may be an un­der­state­ment, and the nearby court­yard is per­fect for their first gar­den party set for June 23 from 10 a.m. to noon – and every­one is in­vited.

Mead­ows res­i­dent Os­borne helps Wake­field at the gar­dens, a stone’s throw from the big gazebo, and just across the path from the Mead­ows it­self. A cou­ple of tin­foil pie plates hang from a bam­boo stake in one of the eight new raised beds. They’ll keep the birds away. A cou­ple of those bright yel­low gar­den pin­wheels will also help protect the plants.

There are eight raised beds, each three feet wide, 12 feet long, and one foot high. That’s enough space to grow beans, peas, toma­toes, let­tuce, spinach, and more.

Wake­field, com­mu­nity gar­den project co-or­di­na­tor, said what gets planted is up to who­ever rents out the beds at $30 apiece for the sum­mer. It’s prob­a­bly not a good idea to grow cu­cum­bers, squash, Olivia Wake­field and friend Os­borne were at work in the Bridgetown and Area Com­mu­nity Gar­den at the Mead­ows ARC June 7, get­ting ev­ery­thing ready for gar­den­ers who rented one of the eight raised beds for the sum­mer. Five of the raised beds were rented at that point, and one more has been paid for since then.

or pump­kins be­cause the vines would fill the lawn as well as the beds.

The gar­dens are filled to the top with a rich ma­nure, com­post, and top­soil mix.

Do­na­tions

“We’ve had two sep­a­rate peo­ple do­nate two raised beds each,” said Wake­field, adding five of the beds have al­ready been rented out. With three left to sell for the sum­mer, she said any­body in the Bridgetown area may get in­volved. “We’re on the bus route. All the gar­den tools are pro­vided. There’s the gar­den shed for use.”

Peo­ple can come in and tend to their gar­dens when­ever they want. There’s a com­bi­na­tion lock on the gar­den shed giv­ing them ac­cess to wa­ter, gar­den tools, and com­post.

Some great com­mu­nity part­ners have al­ready helped out. When the gar­den shed was de­liv­ered, Aca­dian Sea­plants of Corn­wal­lis do­nated two 1,000-litre wa­ter­ing tanks. The lo­cal fire depart­ment filled them up, giv­ing the com­mu­nity gar­den­ers plenty of wa­ter to keep those veg­eta­bles grow­ing.

The five raised beds al­ready rented out for the sum­mer will see a mixed de­mo­graphic of gar­den­ers. For in­stance, a father and

daugh­ter claimed one. A mother, daugh­ter, and grand­mother will work to­gether grow­ing veg­eta­bles in an­other. And a lo­cal artist will be plant­ing a third one. The sis­ter of a Mead­ows res­i­dent also rented one.

“She’s go­ing to come and gar­den with her brother here,” said Wake­man. “He’s in a wheelchair. That will be nice for them.”

The fifth bed was bought by the lo­cal Credit Union whose staff will get to work grow­ing food for the Bridgetown and Area Food Bank.

Room to Ex­pand

“When it’s full we’ll have room

to ex­pand,” said Wake­field. “If the first year’s suc­cess­ful then we’ll build more as needed.”

Wake­field de­scribed the new project a com­mu­nity-build­ing ex­er­cise.

“The res­i­dents (of the Mead­ows) get the com­mu­nity par­tic­i­pa­tion in their front yard,” she said. Visi­tors can in­ter­act with the res­i­dents. “Os­borne helps me out daily. I have about three or four other res­i­dents who come and help. Some res­i­dents have their own gar­dens.”

There are six raised beds in bright red the side of the Mead­ows that res­i­dents plant.

The Mead­ows is known for its green­ery. And get­ting out­doors and ac­tive isn’t a bad thing.

“We have a few dif­fer­ent projects go­ing on,” said Wake­field. “This is the com­mu­nity gar­den, and then on the side (of Mead­ows ARC) we have a large pro­duce gar­den grow­ing veg­eta­bles for the Mead­ows ARC res­i­dents. We have strawberries and rhubarb on the side, onions on the side, and then we (had) our plant­ing day .... ”

As of press time, one more com­mu­nity gar­den raised bed had been sold and there was in­ter­est in the re­main­ing two. To find out if there is one left for you, con­tact Wake­field at 902-824-2628.

If you want to go to the gar­den party on June 23, The Mead­ows is located at 200 Church St. By then the late spring frosts should be over with and the gar­dens thriv­ing.

LAWRENCE POW­ELL

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