Spring is springing at Rossland’s Community Garden

Allyson Kenning
By Allyson Kenning
May 4th, 2011

Has spring really arrived? I am carefully optimistic that it has, and judging by the recession of my twin front yard glaciers, whose melting I monitor many times during the day, it seems like my optimism might not be misplaced this time. This means that gardening season is fast approaching, and one sure sign that there are other spring optimists out there around town is the commencement of the second season of Rossland’s one and only community garden.


This time last year, the garden was still being constructed in the back section of Jubilee Park, so this is actually the first official spring the garden has seen, and the organizers of this community project are excited about the future. This Saturday, the 7th, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, the garden will be having it’s first work party of 2011. There are some exciting additions in the works, too.


Rachel Roussin of Rossland Real Food explains: “We’re going to be building miniature hoop houses on top of each garden bed. This is to provide an example to the community of Rossland of how you can extend the season in this mountain town. A lot of people in Rossland struggle with the short growing season, so by erecting this little hoop house – which is essentially just hoops with a plastic covering–you basically create a mini greenhouse, and this enables people to plant about a month earlier. And then later on in the season they can be taken down.”


Putting up hoop houses serves a couple of purposes. For one thing, it helps the bed owners and their plants become more successful, but it also demonstrates to others in the community that there are ways of working around Rossland’s typically short growing season with a device that is fairly simple to put up and work with. “It’s going to be great for growing peppers, basil, tomatoes–absolutely everything,” enthuses Roussin.


Another addition to this year’s community garden is a whole truckload of composted cow manure for all the beds. “Last year we discovered, like any organic farmer, that building the soil is a little bit of a learning experience…our soil wasn’t super fertile. So we have brought in basically a dump truck full of composted cow manure from Creston,” says Roussin. Working that manure into the beds will be on the to-do list for Saturday’s work party.


Sitting areas where community members can come and enjoy the garden (and perhaps have a picnic) are also in the works. Roussin stresses that although people do rent beds in the garden, the garden isn’t an exclusive place for the gardeners, it’s a place intended for all the community to use and enjoy as they would a park.


“You don’t have to be a member of the community garden to go in there! It’s open to absolutely everybody. We want it to be a learning and demonstration garden for the community, but, yes, there are privately-owned beds but that doesn’t mean to say that you can’t go in and see what other people are doing. We like to say ‘Growing gardens, growing community’.”


Another opportunity that Roussin says is on the horizon is a potential partnership with Omineca Solar Designs, who have a product that utilizes solar power to run a water pump for rain water run-off. If it goes ahead, Omineca, a local company, would set up a demonstration at the garden of this water pump system.

The Rossland Community Garden has a modest wish list. Having lots of visitors at the garden is one of the items. Another is more plants, and the organization is accepting donations of perennials, shrubs, and bulbs to fill out the communal areas in the garden enclosure.


Bed rental in the garden is $15 this year. If you’re interested in having a bed this growing season, the person to contact is Ami Haworth, the garden’s co-ordinator at 362-7193 or journey_outside@yahoo.ca. The garden is a completely volunteer-run endeavour, and they hope to see many budding green thumbs out at the work party on Saturday!


And what, pray tell, is the tell-tale sign that summer is fast approaching (other than, hopefully, the complete disappearance of my twin front yard glaciers)? That would be the commencement of the Rossland Farmer’s Market, which starts up on June 30th. But that is a story for a future edition! Stay tuned.



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