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New gardener grows reams of greens in small 4x8 community plot
"That's the first carrot I've pulled out ever!" said Dave Thoss, excitedly waving a fat, firm carrot sparkling with good, clean dirt. "Looks okay, hey?"
Thoss had never gardened before this season, but friends convinced him to give it a try at the community garden in Jubilee Park north of Rossland Secondary School. He went full bore in early spring, packing his four-by-eight foot raised bed with a wide variety of seeds.
"There's a lot going on," he said. "I'm kind of surprised, actually, what can grow in this small little plot—being 'green' at the whole thing, so to speak. I'd do one more bed [next season], but to be honest, for one person, there's enough here to feed and keep me going in terms of salads and eating greens. There's a fair bit here, it's a real mix."
Indeed the garden, described by prominent Rossland foodie Rachael Roussin as "most abundant," has a profusion of Asian greens, a number of tomato varieties, hot peppers, corn, mint, potatoes, strawberries, beans, beets, lettuce, carrots, and cauliflower.
Thoss said, "I went with randomness to get a bunch in there. It's been working, and it's been fun, but I've realized that rearranging things a little might have it's advantages. I kind of didn't really realize how everything would explode, and the cauliflower isn't getting the best sun right now. But you know, it's okay, it's a learning curve how to plant things. And there's always next year!"
The cauliflower sported a head, but was admittedly a bit cramped between the corn and the beans. The lettuce, tightly stuffed under the beans, was lush and enormous. The corn was packed in a group and had good ears on the way. Two full rows of carrots bulged out of the soil.
Reflecting on his experience this year, Thoss said, "The other thing that surprised me is that I kind of enjoy it. It's a completely new thing for me. I wouldn't say I was forced into it, but I was pushed in this direction. And I've enjoyed it for sure."
"This community garden thing has been good for me, it's been a bit of a social thing," he said about the garden's spirit of cooperation.
"Pretty much everyone knows more than I do!" he laughed. "Ami [Haworth] has been the best, for sure, right from the very start when I didn't know what was a weed and what I'd planted. Now it's coming along well."
"Cynthia [Anonuevo] helped out a lot too," he said. "That's her bed over there. And Kristin [Moore] came here and she did some planting and watering too.”
Haworth is away at the moment, as is Anonuevo, so Thoss has been helping water their plots, just as others have watered his when he's been away, for example during his recent adventures in southern Thailand.
"It's worked out really well," Thoss said.
Admitting that he'd rather spend his time on a mountain bike, he added, "[The garden] doesn't take that much time, and for the time that I spend here, I enjoy it. It's a new experience and it's been fun."