The snow is finally melting and the gardening season is getting closer and our volunteers are busy getting ready for spring. As we work towards the vision laid out earlier this year, we have a variety of activities that have started. We expect to receive confirmation of Community Garden Network funding soon that will allow us to expand the garden with an additional 40 beds. The properties committee is ready to proceed once we have approval, although timescales will depend on when the snow melts and the ground is hard enough to work on.


Registration for 2022

As the days are starting to get longer and spring is approaching, we know that many of you are thinking about seeds and planting and wondering about plot allocation for 2022. While we are still finalising the details, we expect that registration will be in 3 phases this year:

  • Renewal of existing plots - invitations to renew will go out very shortly.

  • Allocation of remaining phase 1 plots - we will be using a lottery system to assign any plots that are not renewed to people on the waitlist. We hope to be sending out invitations to register for these plots in early April.

  • Phase 2 build - if our application is successful, the Properties Committee is hoping to have the plots ready for planting by early June. These plots will be allocated by lottery to people on the waitlist.

If you are interested in a plot for 2022, and did not have one last year, you can find the waiting list at Plot waiting list 2022 (also linked from our website homepage). If you signed up prior to November last year, or aren't sure whether you have already signed up, please add your name again. Issues with our Gmail account meant that part of the waiting list from last year was lost.


PLEASE CHECK YOUR JUNK MAIL FOLDER FOR GARDEN EMAILS.

Twenty (20) % of plots are designated as sliding scale beds available to gardeners for whom cost is a barrier, and have been reaching out to our partners (Parkdale Food Centre, Somerset West Community Health Centre, Ottawa Community Housing) to promote awareness of the garden.


Volunteers

The Board is finalising a registration form which will allow new members, as well as existing members interested in volunteering for Goldenrod activities, including the Pollinator Garden and Event committees, the Grow for Parkdale initiative, and Vole Patrol to indicate their interest. Anyone interested in any of these is welcome to forward your comments/questions to inbox@goldenrodgarden.org


Grow for Parkdale Initiative:

Last year many gardeners generously gave some of their produce to the Parkdale Food Centre. This year, in consultation with PFC, we are expanding our goal - willing gardeners will give 50% of their plot’s harvest and will plant vegetables like potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and eggplant that can be grown in sufficient quantities for the Centre. Added bonus: voles do not like potatoes. Please let us know if you are interested!


A tomato/potato workshop is planned for gardeners before the end of May; anyone interested is welcome. “Potato Basics” information with a video link will be posted on the website in the near future.


Other details will follow in upcoming newsletters.


Pollinator Garden Committee:

Planning for the Pollinator Garden is continuing. Committee members have begun collecting seeds and researching potential plants for the garden. We are hoping to be able to confirm the location soon and are on track to begin building the Pollinator Garden this spring.


Events Committee:

On February 12, the Events Committee held the first educational event for the garden with outstanding support from Susan McClelland and Tanya Salewski. They put together an excellent slide show and presentation for the 25 existing and potential garden members who were able to attend. All of the resources from the presentation are available on the GCG website.


We look forward to future events with the garden and would like to remind the membership that we are looking for volunteers to assist in the planning and execution of these events. If you have interest in helping please contact matt@goldenrodgarden.org


From the Board:

We recently had a fascinating meeting with an Indigenous Knowledge Keeper and hope to hold an event at the garden later this year. We are also working to engage a greater diversity of members in the garden. Kita has volunteered to help match volunteers who want to help with opportunities to get involved so, as noted earlier, if you want to get involved, please email us at inbox@goldenrodgarden.org.


Upcoming Educational Events:

Just Food is offering a number of in-person and virtual workshops this spring - the cost is $5 per workshop and they are open to everyone. To sign up or obtain more information, go to Just Food’s website or click on the links below:

You can also access Just Food’s free recorded workshops on “Garden Basics” at the link above.


As part of Seedy Saturday on March 5, 2022, Just Food screened the 2017 documentary Modified which is available for anyone to watch until April 1st.


‘Modified’ is a first-person feature documentary that questions why genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not labelled on food products in the United States and Canada, despite being labelled in 64 countries around the world. For a link to the film please email: movie@justfood.ca.


The Senior Organic Growers (SOG) are presenting the Garden Symposium 2022, which features unique gardening workshops every Wednesday at 3pm, until April 13th!


Topics include:

  • Native Gardens in Urban Spaces

  • The Wisdom of Weeds

  • An Introduction to Vermicomposting

  • Gardens for Healing

The cost is $10.00 and registration and information is available by clicking on the link above.


Members in the News: Artist Maggie Glossop, one of Goldenrod’s members, was recently in the news. Although the snow is melting, you may still be able to see some local snow art!

https://kitchissippi.com/2022/02/08/the-story-of-kitchissippis-snow-bears-and-the-artist-behind-them/

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Making Plans for 2022

Gardening may not be top of mind deep in mid-white laden winter, but it is certainly encouraging to envision the greenery we’ll have come spring.


Virtual learning event: Preparing for spring gardening

Saturday, February 12, 2022; 1:30-3:00pm

Members and potential members are invited to participate in a virtual event on planning your plot garden and starting your seedlings indoors for the coming season. This session will cover plot layout, seed selection, seeding basics (what to buy, how to germinate, when to start, etc.), as well as a question-and-answer session at the end. We encourage our membership who are new to gardening to participate as this will set you on a track for great success this coming season. Held using Google Meet: https://meet.google.com/yqm-iccw-djg Or dial: +1 587-786-7689 PIN: 212 989 466#


Grow for Parkdale initiative

Thanks to major donor Greg Strahl, Goldenrod gardeners were able to participate in a weekly harvest donation to the Parkdale Food Centre, a truly remarkable first season contribution to help feed those in need in Kitchissippi. To expand on this successful experience, we are planning an initiative, in which willing gardeners commit 50% of their plot’s harvest this year to the PFC. The PFC is very receptive and appreciative of this idea. What they are looking for is a large quantity of produce: potatoes and tomatoes may be best given their hardiness, and the fact that our problem voles don’t like them.

Anyone interested in planting for “Grow for Parkdale” please contact inbox@goldenrodgarden.org


First Timers: It’s been brought to our attention that a few new committee members would like to get their hands dirty although they don’t have a plot yet and/or need some garden mentoring. Putting them “to work” with maintenance/cleaning of the gardens as well as partnering them with seasoned gardeners who need help and could do some mentoring in the process, can be a benefit for all concerned. Those interested in this initiative, either new or experienced gardeners, please forward your comments/questions to inbox@goldenrodgarden.org


Vole Patrol: Diane Morin is still looking for feedback from gardeners about the uninvited vole visitors at our garden:


On a scale of 1-10 (10 being “extreme”) how much damage did the voles do to your garden this year?

  • When did you first notice vole activity?

  • Were any of your plants untouched by the voles?

  • Did you respond to the vole activity by erecting barriers? By adding malodorous plants? Did anything work?

  • Have you any strategies in mind for 2022?

Send in your info to inbox@goldenrodgarden.org


In contrast to our lack of success catching voles, our email spam filters seem to have been over-active and caught the December newsletter for many recipients. If you missed it, you can find the newsletter on our website (https://kitchissippi.wixsite.com/goldenrodgarden/post/newsletter-16-december-21


Pollinator Garden Committee: The GCG pollinator garden committee is currently busy:

  • Researching plants to plant in the garden.

  • Reaching out to other local pollinator garden groups to learn more about planting a successful pollinator garden.

  • Calling for volunteers: We are looking to build a team to plan for and build a pollinator garden within the Goldenrod Community Garden space this coming spring. No experience is required. If this is of interest to you, please send an email to inbox@goldenrodgarden.org with “Pollinator Garden” in the subject line.

From the Board

Thank you to all those who participated in our visioning activities. In early January, the Board reviewed the input and outlined a vision which reads:

We envision a garden community in Kitchissippi that:

  • Supports relationships, mental health and wellbeing; This garden community is supported through a physical space where people can gather, garden together and hold events.

  • Stewards the environment, provides connection with nature, and restores relationships with the land (birds, flowers, trees, insects); the space is beautiful, operations are sustainable (including water source).

  • Provides opportunities to give (e.g., donating to the community fridge), and receive.

  • Is inclusive and diverse; Indigenous people and values are included; there is diversity in income, age, ethnicity, gender, culture, religion, abilities, gardening approaches

  • Provides opportunity to educate and learn in community: on gardening, food, and other related topics.

Your comments and input are welcome.


We are now articulating our strategic priorities for this year. Our current priorities include submitting a proposal for funding from the Community Gardening Network for a Phase 2 build, building a pollinator garden and developing seating at the garden. As well, we are working to have space for community garden plots considered in the Tunney's Pasture plan.


We are also looking forward to our first educational event in mid-February. We hope you can join us on google meet to learn from two of our board members as we get ready for spring gardening.

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The Solstice Edition

The Winter Solstice is an event that occurs when the Sun appears to reach its most northerly excursion relative to the celestial equator on the celestial sphere. In the Northern Hemisphere, this event occurs on December 21, the day the sun is at its lowest point.


December 25 is the day the sun begins to take a higher path in the sky.


We wish everyone many merry and bright days this holiday season!


Listen to this While Indigenous podcast: Decolonizing the Holidays and Honoring Winter Solstice Teachings

Many Indigenous people are actively working toward reconnecting to their original teachings while also decolonizing colonial practices that have conditioned their lives. On this episode, they talk decolonizing the holidays and reconnecting to more meaningful Indigenous winter solstice teachings. Featured Guests: Dr. PennElys Droz (Anishinaabe/Wyandot) and Ella Robertson (Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota)

Vole Patrol now has a fearless Leader

And her name is Diane Morin !


Are you interested in working with Diane on Vole Patrol? Please send an email to morindmr@magma.ca

This is not a committee, more of a research team. Diane needs your help to investigate strategies for the 2022 growing season.


Please complete this quick VOLE survey. Send your response to inbox@goldenrodgarden.org Put “Voles” in the subject line.

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being “extreme”) how much damage did the voles do to your garden this year?

When did you first notice vole activity?

Were any of your plants untouched by the voles?

Did you respond to the vole activity by erecting barriers? By adding malodorous plants? Did anything work?

Have you done any research on vole management?

Have you any strategies in mind for 2022?

Please note, construction is over so access to Goldenrod Driveway west from Parkdale Avenue is open again.

Visioning Update

Update from our Board president, Sara Chen-Wing:

With the snow blanketing my garlic bulbs and soil, there is no sowing or harvesting to do this season. It's time to plan for our next season!


Since the AGM, the board has met virtually every two weeks. We are getting our virtual workspace set-up and you will notice we have a new email address now (inbox@goldenrodgarden.org).


With the support of the Membership committee, we hosted a visioning event on November 30th and a visioning survey. Approximately 20 people attended the event. Participants got to know each other a bit, and shared ideas in small groups on what they envision Goldenrod could be. The event was attended by two representatives from Somerset West Community Health Centre, one of our partners.


Next, the board is turning it's focus to strategic planning and submitting a proposal to the Just Food Community Garden Development Fund for money to complete our Build Phase 2, which could add about 40 new plots and a pollinator garden.

Membership survey results


Thank you to everyone who completed the membership survey we conducted this fall, designed by our membership and events committee. 50 members responded. Here are the highlights:

  • 96% found the plot fee was fair

  • 42% are volunteering with GCG

  • 92% of respondents plan to renew their membership next year: and

  • 94% are interested in participating in garden events that are educational (98%) or social and garden related (77%). A few people volunteered to lead an educational event. *We hope to follow up with you soon, we just need some more volunteers on the Events Committee first!

Why did our members get involved? 50% or more said:

  • Ability to grow my own food

  • Get involved in community

  • Develop new skills/hobbies

  • Meet members of community

Top benefits of being a member/friend of GCG:

  • Mental health [74%]

  • Knowledge [55%]

  • Exercise [47%]

Everyone had had least parts of their garden that grew well. Features appreciated include:

  • Helpful tips, learning from others, friendly people

  • Water access, raised beds, soil quality, access to mulch;

  • Garden location and setting (incredible and heavenly), organic nature of the garden;

  • Garden layout and access to the garden and plots;

  • Weekly opportunity to donate to the food bank;

  • Community feel; and

  • Respectful gardeners.

What are the challenges you have found gardening at this location?

  • Pests eating things: voles, rodents, “Snails tried to infiltrate my plot”;

  • Sampling of produce by wildlife and critters: rabbits, squirrels, rats, field mice;

  • Geese, groundhogs, and other critters;

  • Mildew, fungus/blight;

  • Access (past all the construction, e-waste day, parking);

  • Inconsistent water supply / keeping the garden watered;

  • Weak water pressure: takes a LONG time to fill watering cans;

  • Several had plot neighbour's plants interfere with their own;

  • Too many rules that don't make sense;

  • Spacing and selecting the right things to grow within the space;

  • Lack of weed trimming between beds.

Call for Volunteers


Pollinator Garden

Call for volunteers: We are looking to build a team to plan for and build a pollinator garden within the Goldenrod Community Garden space this coming spring. No experience is required. If this is of interest to you, please send an email to inbox@goldenrodgarden.org. Put “Pollinator Garden” in the subject line.


And

The Events Committee is looking for volunteers to help plan and put on events for next year. If you would like to assist in planning and organizing learning, social and community events please email inbox@goldenrodgarden.org to let us know! No experience in event management necessary. Put “Events” in the subject line.


Committee name change:

Please note that the Build Committee is now called Properties and will include both Build and Maintenance volunteers going forward.

Garden sharing initiative in Kitchissippi

Westboro Beach Community Association has launched a "garden sharing" initiative in Westboro Beach Community. It's a different concept than a community garden but the spirit is still there. Essentially, two private individuals come to an agreement on sharing a yard / garden for the purposes of vegetable gardening or other kinds of gardening. For more information, please click the link is below.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/898912077563505

Helpful Links


Our website is goldenrodgarden.org


Follow Goldenrod Community Garden on Twitter! And Instagram !

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