Com­mu­nity Gar­den yields de­li­cious har­vest

The Casket - - Local - SAM MAC­DON­ALD sam­mac­don­ald@the­cas­ket.ca

As the fall and har­vest time be­gins, the R.K. Mac­don­ald is one spot in town where a com­mu­nity of peo­ple are al­ready see­ing the fruits — and herbs, and veg­eta­bles — of their labour.

Res­i­dents spent the sum­mer grow­ing a va­ri­ety of food and or­na­men­tal plants in the com­mu­nity gar­den, and their ef­forts made the gar­den flour­ish through­out the grow­ing sea­son.

On the way to see how well the gar­den has fared over the course of the spring and sum­mer, a res­i­dent named John told the Cas­ket that he made a point of vis­it­ing the gar­den through­out the spring and sum­mer, as of­ten as he could, to check up on the progress of the many crops.

"It’s very ex­cit­ing," he said. "I like look­ing at the growth ev­ery day."

Mary Par­tridge, who han­dles recre­ation, vol­un­teers and hor­ti­cul­ture with the R.K. Mac­don­ald Nurs­ing Home, said the com­mu­nity gar­den is the prod­uct of the dili­gent work of many res­i­dents who tend to their plants ev­ery day.

The ben­e­fit of the gar­den is twofold, Par­tridge said, since not only does it give those with a green thumb an out­let for their tal­ents. It also cre­ates a com­fort­able en­vi­ron­ment to en­joy na­ture for those who may not be in­ter­ested in grow­ing any­thing them­selves.

"Peo­ple par­tic­i­pate at their own level. Some peo­ple just want to ad­mire the gar­den, while oth­ers want to get their hands in the dirt and help grow things," Par­tridge said.

The Com­mu­nity Gar­den con­tains a wide va­ri­ety of edi­ble and or­na­men­tal plants, mak­ing full use of the area be­hind the R.K. Mac­don­ald, con­vert­ing what would oth­er­wise be a mun­dane area into a beau­ti­ful green space.

"It has been a good grow­ing sea­son," Par­tridge said, not­ing res­i­dents have grown, and al­ready har­vested an as­sort­ment of herbs, to­ma­toes, po­ta­toes, Swiss chard, cu­cum­bers, string beans and yel­low beans.

The yield of the gar­den de­pends en­tirely on what the res­i­dents want to grow, Par­tridge said, not­ing that it’s very in­spir­ing to see the dili­gent, de­voted work the res­i­dents put into grow­ing, weed­ing, wa­ter­ing and gen­er­ally car­ing for the plants they grow.

Res­i­dents have also been eager to in­cor­po­rate the har­vested veg­eta­bles into their own meals, Par­tridge said, adding cu­cum­ber sand­wiches are one of the many pop­u­lar di­etary op­tions show­ing how res­i­dents have en­riched their own life­styles through the cul­ti­va­tion of fresh food in the com­mu­nity gar­den.

The work for the gar­den be­gan well be­fore the sun was shin­ing in the sum­mer, with seedlings be­ing sprouted in the win­ter that pre­ceded the more tra­di­tional grow­ing sea­son.

Many of the peo­ple who have grown some­thing in the gar­den this year are just look­ing to main­tain their hob­bies while liv­ing at the R.K. Mac­don­ald, Par­tridge noted. Many of them had and main­tained gar­dens at their old homes be­fore they moved to the R.K. Mac­don­ald. If any­thing, their tal­ent is on dis­play now, in the boun­ti­ful yields of the com­mu­nity gar­den.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Sadie Boyd, Gor­don Tibbo, Ray Mur­phy, and his grand­daugh­ter Emily, en­joy­ing the com­mu­nity gar­den at the R.K. Mac­don­ald Nurs­ing Home.

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