Wednesday, March 13, 2013

(not so) secret gardens

when it comes to gardening in vancouver, i feel like we have moved to another planet. its like a skill i never even had. the climate and what will grow here are totally different than anything i have worked (or struggled) with in the past. since the beginning of february, bulbs have been bursting out of the ground desperately waiting to show their beautiful colours after a long, grey winter. all the community gardens (which there are SO many of) bare remnants of last seasons bounty still bolting toward the sky- purple broccoli, vibrant kales and mile-high brussels sprouts seem to dawn every other plot. finn loves nothing more than to wander around these gardens- eagerly looking at all that the earth has grown. occasionally sampling a little sprout. always picking up rocks and sticks to bring home to his collection. a small token of a wonderful few moments in nature.

last sunday, jeff returned home from a week long work trip to hawaii. finn was desperate to get outside and enjoy some papa time, so to the skatepark we went. the boys scooted around for quite some time, and i wondered off to discover the strathcona community garden. i love the shabbyness of the gardens here. anything goes and it just works. having contributed a bit to try and get a community garden set up in our old calgary neighbourhood, the frustration and red tape around getting things off the ground were really deflating for many of us involved. but seeing the spaces here- the makeshift fences, hand drawn signs, lawn furniture acquired from discarded building materials- each plot so unique in everything from its shape to the technique used to care for the small spot of land. the organic foundation of these gardens just feels GOOD. its simple and it works. and it makes me happy every time we walk through and see the beauty that thrives in growing life.

at this point, i'm not sure what we will end up growing this year. my friend jacquie recently shared a link to a great seed starting calculator - you simply enter your climates first frost free date (i googled ours) and it will calculate when you should start your seeds and when to put them in the ground. according the that calculator, the last frost here is march 26th and we are WAY behind on getting much of anything started from seed. that being said, i hope to get a few things going and will definitely share how everything grows over the summer. i'm excited and nervous all at the same time! with so many new things to learn in a new city, i never really considered that growing food would be the most challenging of them.

a few pictures from the strathcona community garden. we found a pretty incredible koi pond that you will see in some of the photos. i look forward to going back in the summer to see the garden in full bloom.