CGGS Newsletter June 2021

Welcome to the 2021 garden season 

A warm welcome to our new members this year! Welcome Jayne M., Deborah V., Kendra W., Justine P., Amelia M., and Darci G.. 

The 2021 edition of the Common Ground Garden Society (CGGS) executive is: President – Stephanie N. 

Vice President – Diana B. 

Treasurer – Jenny H. 

Secretary – Jayne M. 

Members at large – Nancy B., Dave W., and Jean W-K. 

Team Leads for 2021 are 

Garden Angel – Sharon W. 

Maintenance – Nancy B. 

Compost – Lesley P. 

Herb Garden – Stephanie N. 

Pathway Clean-up – Jean W-K 

Communication – Christel L. 

Registration – Kerry D. 

Thank You 

A big thank you to the members who helped with the compost application to the garden beds this spring! Thank you to Jenny H, Ed, Louise, Nancy and Jim with trailer, Jan, Dave, Joyce and Lev. 

Upcoming Events 

Calgary Horticulture – CalHort has ongoing information and education sessions. You can find them here at their Events Calendar 

Common Ground in part of Garden On a coalition of South Central Community Gardens. The next installment is at our garden (in-person if permitted; virtually if not) 

On Tuesday July 20, 2021 from 7-9pm join Janet Melrose for “How’s the Garden Growing” Q&A. More information and tickets can be found here: 

Did You Know 

Compost and Fertilizer 

Usually every year we supplement the beds with compost that does a couple things: 

  • provides low levels of nutrients; nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium as well as other micronutrients to replace what is used up each year. 
  • amends the soil by adding organic matter to keep our naturally heavy clay soil friable (easy to crumble) and to allow water and air to reach the roots. 

The compost only needs to be lightly mixed into the top layer. Turning over the soil is not recommended as it disturbs the beneficial web of bacteria, microbes, bugs and earthworms. 

Last year we did not add compost due to unknowns around Covid and so depending on the type of vegetables being grown in the past and this year in your bed you may need to add some fertilizer. 

In the shed are three fertilizers: 

  • Gaia 4-4-4 is an organic, nutrient balanced, slow release fertilizer with micronutrients that can be added when transplanting or after seedlings have grown to a substantial size. Lightly sprinkle around plants, scratch into the soil and water well. If the Gaia bucket is empty it can be refilled from the 10kg paper bag in the bin. Wear a mask to avoid breathing in the dust. 
  • Bone meal and blood meal shakers, previously donated, can be used to add extra nitrogen (blood meal) or phosphorus (bone meal). They are generally slow release but use in moderation as too much of one nutrient can cause problems. 

It may be tempting to use nitrogen heavy fertilizers that promote fast green growth however this can produce weak growth that attracts aphids and other pests, result in poorer nutrient content in your vegetables, slow root growth and delay or decrease flowering. 

Switching up what you grow each year (crop rotation) can ensure you are not depleting single nutrients and in the case of peas and beans can add back nitrogen. 

As a reminder any fertilizers used must be organic (OMRI stamp) as per the garden contract and balanced, slow release types are recommended. Highly concentrated water soluble fertilizers (20-20-20) are almost always chemically produced (not organic) and can cause many soil imbalances. 

Submitted by Jenny H. 

The Three Sisters 

I first heard about “The Three Sisters” during a book study of Braiding Sweetgrass, written by Robin Wall Kimmerer. 

Before settlers arrived in North America, Indigenous Peoples came up with a unique, reciprocal way of growing corn, beans, and squash, aptly named “The Three Sisters.” These plants are grown on a raised plot of land. The corn is planted first in the middle. Once the corn has grown to a height of about 10 centimetres, you plant beans around each corn stalk. A week later, you plant squash around the perimeter. When the corn grows, it provides a natural ladder on which the bean tendrils can grow up and wrap around. The broad and bristly squash leaves help keep moisture in and provide protection from insects and other plants. 

Once the settlers did arrive and first laid eyes on a “Three Sisters” garden, they commented on how backward their culture was because their method of growing was so far outside of their perceived correct way of utilizing only straight rows of vegetables. 

Even though I have not been near a vegetable garden since I was ten years old, this “Three Sisters” method of gardening sparked my interest. I was drawn both to its simplicity and purposefulness. Colleen Maier asks me every year if I would like to garden with her and Gerhard, and every year until now, I have kindly declined her requests. I am sure she was pretty shocked when this year I finally agreed. Since my gardening skills are very rusty, Colleen has taken me under her wing in giving both my corn and bean seeds head starts inside her house in adorable repurposed yogurt containers. My garden will genuinely be a cooperative effort. If you would like to track my progress, my plot number is 37. Now, you will have a better idea of what on earth I am attempting to do and the reason behind my labour of love. Happy gardening! 

Submitted by Jayne M. 

Safety 

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

If you find drug paraphernalia in the garden please contact the police non-emergency line (403-266-1234) or DOAP Needle Response Team (403-796-7388). The DOAP Needle Response Team has a trained crew that will come to collect used needles and other items on public and private property. 

Covid-19 continues to require that gardeners observe physical distancing, good hand 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. 

Communication 

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

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