News, Pictures and Fun from the Oliver Community Garden Society

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Twitter feed is now gone

Hi folks,

Just a quick note about the website here. There had been some inappropriate twitter postings that had been showing up on our sidebar to the right and I have removed them now. I released the Oliver Community Garden’s twitter account in the spring and since that time someone has selected that same name for a Twitter feed. Because the sidebar widget was still linked to the account with that name, it would display the content of that feed. This made sense when it was about the Gardens themselves but didn’t make any sense when it was being posted by a 14-year old girl from Seattle. Anyways, it’s all good now. Sorry for the disruption.

~ Luke

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Harvest Time!

Despite all the thunderstorms (!) there has been plenty of that famous Okanagan sunshine to ripen the tomatoes and help our gardens grow. In my own garden I’ve been picking crisp green beans, sweet cherry tomatoes and savouring the last few sweet strawberries.

Every second Tuesday is harvest time at the Oliver Community Garden too. Produce grown in the school beds is gathered and delivered to our local food bank. The beds are full of lush greenery so it’s almost a challenge to search through the beds to find the tomatoes, beans, carrots, beets and other vegetables lurking there. The last round of donations included rhubarb, tomatoes and baby carrots. This time I’m planning on adding some bunches of fresh herbs to the box.

If you can spare half an hour please come out and join us tomorrow night (Tuesday August 27th) at 6:30 pm.

p.s. If you’re a backyard gardener with an over abundance of zucchini, fresh produce is always gratefully received by the food bank! It’s open every second Wednesday at 9 am and is located on Station Street.

President’s Report 2013

The 2012 growing season was full of successes with some great new ideas on which to build. You could say that it was the first year that we were fully back in business again as functional community garden with the task of moving our garden now complete.

2012 saw the addition of the white lattice on the fence (thanks to Marji Basso) and a wonderful arbor constructed by Juleen McElgunn and Martin Cattermole). The automated irrigation system was installed in the spring by Sam, Mal, Juleen and myself. Then, after a serious weed removal along the fence line, weed barrier was installed with a layer of road gravel over the entire garden area completed by Bob Goloski from New Start Landscaping. I also removed all of the extra bits and pieces that had been placed outside of our allotted area so that we are now entirely contained within the agreed upon space on the property.

The plant sale held in May was well attended and was a great way to introduce the new garden to the community and kick off the growing season. The water-wise workshop Paula Rodriguez de la Vega (ironically, held in the rain just outside the large doors of the Quail’s Nest Arts Center) was informative and relatively well-attended given the weather that day. People had lots of questions and the session went longer because of these discussions. This serves to show how much interest there is with gardening and agriculture within our area for which the Community Garden is poised to be an active resource.

Though the early summer was typically unstable weather-wise, we were blessed with an excellent late summer and fall for growing and the garden boxes did well. Crops this year included squashes (spaghetti and pumpkin), tomatoes, peppers, carrots, beets, cabbage, cucumbers, sunflowers and cantaloupe among others. We supplied food to the Oliver Food Bank and the weekly Farm to School Salad Bar Program at Tuc-el-Nuit and Oliver Elementary schools.

Visibility to the public continues to be a struggle as the garden’s profile is not a high as it was at our previous location. This is a situation which was foreseen and acknowledged before entering into an agreement with the Oliver Community Arts Council for the use of our current space. We must continually strive to maintain awareness of our garden within the community through articles in local media, participation in community events, and through establishing connections with other local groups and organizations.

If we can grow our community as we grow our vegetables, we’ll be in for a great year.

Respectfully submitted, April 4, 2012

Luke Whittall

President, Oliver Community Garden Society

Update on the Gardens

Update on the Oliver Community gardens

This growing year has been very successful so far. It started out quite rainy, and it was a bit scary leaving all of our little plants out in the cold, BUT it paid off and now our gardens are gorgeous. The gardens are located at the Quails Art Gallery just past the Seniors Centre.

It all starts with the educational part of the growing season. Thanks to a grant from CIBC we have a teacher who visits each school including OK Falls Elementary school this year and teaches the students some basics about growing food. The students then walk down to the gardens and plant their veggies in their school’s bed. We must thank all the teachers for their help in making this possible.

This year, we planted all kinds of vegetables: squashes (including spaghetti, and pumpkin), tomatoes, peppers, carrots, beets, cabbage, cucumbers, sunflowers cantaloupe and even marigolds. It is amazing how everything is growing!!! The trick to our success this year is that automatic sprinklers were installed. A big thank you to the irrigation team of Sandra, Luke, Juleen and Mal for all their hard work to make this possible!

The food that is grown at the gardens will be shared by the Oliver Food Bank and the weekly Farm to School Salad Bar Program at Tuc-el-Nuit and Oliver Elementary schools. The harvest will be great this year. It will be fun to keep track of the food that is picked.

The students that are attending the summer art program at the Quail’s Nest Art Centre are getting the opportunity to see more of the growing cycle and help out by keeping the weeds down – if everybody helps it make for less work. They are also making some amazing art projects, some of which will stay in the garden for everyone to enjoy.

Take some time this summer to go down to the gardens and see what is growing.

By Claire Schwartzenberger

Bloomin’ Plant Sale!

We’ve been hard at work preparing for our big Bloomin’ Plant Sale on Saturday May 26th, 2012 from 10 am to 1 pm at the Oliver Community Garden at the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre. We’ve held a plant sale in combination with Communities in Bloom for the past 3 years but this year we’re flying solo as the Communities in Bloom competition is finished for Oliver, for now.

This year we’re hoping to make the sale more of an event. We have The Gala Vanters lined up to play some live music, there will be a craft corner for the kids, food, vendors, loonie auction, lots of gardening information and of course, lots of plants. The Oliver Ambassadors will also be on hand for the festivities.

We still need help with a few things:

First, we need plants to sell! If you’re digging in your garden and have plants to divide and pass on, send them our way! We’ll gladly take those extra perennials or bulbs. Rearranging and no room for that rosebush? Let us help you find it a new home. Please call or email us and we can arrange to pick the plants up from you.

The second thing is food. We’d love to have a BBQ set up selling Hamburgers and Hotdogs so consider this an invitation to a local service group to grab an extra fundraising opportunity. You can keep all the profits – we’d just like to have food available as part of the event.

Can you help us out? Call Heather at 250-485-2575 or email olivercommunitygarden (at) yahoo.com

And the last way you can help? Come to our Bloomin’ Plant Sale! There will be lots to see and do and you’ll be glad you did. See you there!

Heather


P.S. There’s lots of changes happening at the Oliver Community Garden. Here’s a little “before” picture for you . . . stay tuned!

Irrigation photos

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President’s Report 2012

Oliver Community Garden – President’s Report 2012 AGM

2011 was a very different year in the young life of the Oliver Community Garden Society. In September 2010 at our last AGM we were faced with the impending move of our garden site from the location on Main Street. At that time, there was great uncertainty about the future of the community garden. We did not have a place to move to, or a place to store our garden supplies and shed, and missing the entire 2011 growing season was a real possibility. The only thing that we knew for sure was that we would have to be leaving our location on Main Street. The challenge of finding a new space and getting it ready would occupy most of our time and energy throughout the winter and well into the 2011 growing season.

Our gardening supplies were moved from the Main Street location in early November to various locations, including the Town of Oliver’s Public Works Yard and in our family’s garage and gardening room. Our thanks go out to Oliver/Osoyoos Search and Rescue who carefully emptied, disassembled, and stacked the garden boxes and supplies so that they could be loaded and hauled away. A big thank-you also goes out to the Town of Oliver and the Public Works Department for loading, moving and storing the garden boxes, irrigation hoses, barrels, and most impressively our tool shed. They fit the pickup and delivery of these items into their busy schedule and for that, we are extremely thankful.

In late fall we received two offers for potential sites for the garden, looked into both of them, and chose the site here at the Quail’s Nest based on its easy access, flat terrain and relatively quiet location among other factors. In the following winter, our relationship with the Oliver Community Arts Council was finalized in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding which gave us a small but cosy portion of land on their site here at the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre. Our shed, garden boxes, and tools were deposited there and were reassembled on a cold day in the spring of 2011. We began to look like a community garden once again.

The growing season for 2011 was challenging to be sure. The cold and wet weather did not inspire anyone to spent time outside and was entirely atypical of our usually lovely south Okanagan climate. Cold and wet were the two most common words until the middle of July. Ironically, had the weather been hot and dry there would have potentially been more problems since access to water was limited until the middle of the summer.

By season’s end, the mainline of the automated irrigation system was finished and the layout of the garden site was essentially completed. There are a number of projects to finish this year, including completing the irrigation zones, setting up a pergola and beautifying our social space under the large tree in the centre near the shed.

Thanks to the Oliver Community Arts Council, who extended a warm welcome to host our gardens on their lot.

Thanks to Linda and Laura Venables for the donation of a truckload of sand and a load of fill to level off the garden site.

Thanks to Bob Goloski from New Start Landscaping for levelling the Main Street location after the move and for levelling and preparing the new garden site with his bobcat.

Thanks also go to the members of the executive, who came out to help set up the new garden site.

Now that we can concentrate on gardening again, I am very much looking forward to what we can offer the community. Along with regular workshops and events, it is our goal to complete the irrigation system so that the whole garden will have automated irrigation. We are also planning to start the season off with a large event on May 26th, with more information about that coming later tonight.

As with any approaching season, we cannot predict the circumstances of our gardens any more than we can predict the weather. But with some of the major issues now out of the way and a supportive relationship with the OCAC, we can now focus on building the “community” portion of our community garden, rather than on building the garden itself.

Respectfully submitted, March 12, 2012
Luke Whittall
President, Oliver Community Garden Society