Urban gardening is a cheer-giver not a money saver

In the Sandy Hill Community Garden by the Robinson playing field, Hélène Lacelle turns the soil with compost/manure preppin’ it for planting. Each participant is given a free 10’ x 12’ plot to care for and raise plants. Photo Peter Evanchuck

By Peter Evanchuck

Urban gardening isn’t a money saver but it is a cheer-giver. Believe me when the first sprouts sprout, the gardener feels a joyful reaction to the modest work put into helping them grow.

Most of us urbanites seldom have seen the fruits or veggies of our personal labour grow into tasty dinner portions. Certainly Hélène and I hadn’t. The Sandy Hill Community Garden offers this remarkable opportunity. Located near the Rideau River at the bottom of Robinson soccer field, it provides easy access to gardeners of all shapes and sizes to experience being “on the farm” with a small ten by twelve foot plot.

Hélène and I applied for a plot in 2016 and were granted one this spring. We quickly prepared it for planting with sheep manure and mulching material; then onto the computer for some YouTube info on planting from seeds.

Herbs, cucumbers, beans, tomatoes, and zucchini seemed a good start. Little did we know that the zucchini would take over 1/3 of the garden, that the squirrels would eat the cucumbers and that the weather conditions would prevent proper growth of the tomatoes; but, live and learn is a good motto to follow.

However, what we had at harvest time we ate with gusto. In August on my daily walks, I’d drop over to see which herbs I could take or which veggie was ripe enough. I felt like Farm Boy in a mini version.

A plot costs only $20 annually to cover the cost of tools that are free to use. Each member is required to put in a few hours to upkeep the garden such as filling the water barrels, or cutting back the surrounding overgrowth.

This is the time of year to contact the garden to request a plot for next spring. (sandyhillcommunitygarden@gmail.com)