CGGS Newsletter July 2020


Common Ground is a public space. We occasionally have vandalism in our garden. If you see vandalism, report it to

If you find drug paraphernalia in the garden please contact police non-emergency line (403-266-1234) or DOAP team (403-234-7388). The DOAP Team has a trained crew that will come to collect used needles and other items.

Covid-19 continues to require that gardeners observe physical distancing, good hygiene on high touch areas and patience. There are signs posted around the garden with guidelines to follow for everyone’s safety. Due to limitations on group size, garden events are cancelled until further notice.

CalHort and Calgary Police Service – Theft from Community Gardens

On Thursday July 9, the Calgary Horticultural Society and the Calgary Police Service had a live Q&A about theft from community gardens. It was informative and a summary is presented below.

  1. The psychology of theft and vandalism can be one of two things: it’s an adrenaline rush or lack of knowledge that what they are doing is wrong. Both are generally opportunistic and are not planned.
    • In the case of community gardens – theft of produce is often because of lack of knowledge around the rules in the garden. The word ‘community’ implies to some that it is available to everyone to use (pick and eat) despite private rentals of garden beds. 
  2. What to do to deter theft:
    • Keep the garden and area tidy, well cared for and looking good. Evidence of care and ownership deters theft and vandalism.
    • Signage that communicates to those outside the membership the expectations for being in the garden. 
      • Signs should welcome people to the space, set out what they can (eg., sit and enjoy our space) and should not do (eg., please don’t pick the plants) while in the garden and let them know how and where to contact for information on the garden.
      • Individual beds can be labeled if the renter is comfortable with it (eg, Joe’s Garden) and donation beds should be labelled with the recipient organizations name and logo. Personalization is a theft deterrent.
    • Physical barriers create a visual barrier and slow down crimes of opportunity. We can’t enclose our garden with fencing but barriers with roofs/tops around individual beds are possible. An easy to make raised bed enclosure can be found here:
  3. Safety:
    • Have a garden buddy – if going to the garden alone during non-peak hours (eg, evening, night or early morning) have someone who knows where you are, what you are doing and when you expect to be done, use regular check ins with them (eg, every 30  min); or only go to the garden with another person or during busier times of day.
    • Do not confront a thief if you catch them in the act and you are not comfortable with it; 
      • take a photo or video from a safe place, record a description of them and then report it to the police or garden at Sometimes they are taking produce because they don’t know, sometimes it is deliberate. You never know how they will respond to being confronted.
    • Another option is to just say “Hello, I don’t recognize you as I am new (or haven’t seen many other members or haven’t been here in a while), could you tell me your name?”, or otherwise engage them in conversation. If they aren’t meant to be there, they may just leave.
  4. If you spot major vandalism in the act, call 911 to report it. Let the police deal with it.


Members wishing to send information for list-wide distribution can send an email to which will be forwarded to all members. Questions, comments and concerns in and about the garden can also be sent to

In the Garden

Herb Garden 

The herb garden is planted and is growing nicely. Please collect only the quantity of herbs you will use or about 10% of the plant foliage.


Garlic needs even soil moisture during the growing season but no extra moisture during the last few weeks before harvest. Hardneck varietals grow scapes as they mature. At the end of each scape will be a small bud like a flower bud. Scapes should be clipped off as they round their second curve to encourage bulb growth. Harvested scapes are great in any meal you want a garlic flavour for. Garlic scape hummus is a favourite in my house –

Bulbs can be harvested in late July or early to mid-August when the top half of the leaves have turned brown. 

Dead heading and bolted plants 

Lots of early flowering herbs (chives, dill, etc.) and cool weather crops (spinach, lettuce etc.) send up seed heads or bolt in hotter weather. A kind reminder to dead head your seed producing plants so they don’t self seed where they are not wanted. Dead heading also encourages the plant to produce more leaves for you to eat. Seed heads need to be put in the municipal compost at home or in the garbage as the Common Ground compost pile is not hot enough to kill the seeds. 

Bolted plants will no longer produce flavourful leaves and should be pulled and composted. Fear not! As the weather cools in late summer or early fall you can replant these cool weather crops for one more round of growing.


Each gardener is asked to keep their bed as weed free as possible. Pulled weeds go into the municipal compost or the garbage, not the Common Ground compost pile. Do not pull weeds and discard them on the pathway mulch. Feel free to pull the weeds along the outside of your bed when you have time.

We do have a crew to weed the pathways and common areas. If you notice a lot of weeds in your area please contact us to let us know. 

Grow me instead! 

Calgary is home to several species of invasive weeds. Yes, they look lovely and may be related to other plants but they can pose a problem in your garden bed. 

The Alberta Invasive Species Council has a brochure with alternatives to commonly (and often accidentally) planted weedy or invasive species. See the link for the brochure

Happy Gardening!


Growing garlic in Alberta, John Boy Farms:

Gardening at USask: