CGGS Newsletter – March 2023

President’s Message:

Hello fellow gardeners! Allow me to introduce myself as I have recently taken on the role of President for the Common Ground Garden Society. I have been a member for about 4 seasons (currently at bed #20) and I’ve been the compost lead for the last two years. I live in Braeside and you may sometimes see me pulling up to the garden on my bike. I grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan with a massive garden that I probably took for granted as a kid…but that definitely gave me an appreciation for growing your own food. I’ve been learning a lot in the last few years and I think my favourite crops to grow are garlic, kale, and tomatoes. In my day job, I work as a fisheries biologist for a conservation organization. I have quite a bit of experience writing grants and I hope to apply some of my experience to our garden society and explore funding opportunities to support our wonderful space and community.

Lesley Peterson

Free Garden Classes with Deborah VanDeventer:

Tips for the Beginning of the Season, General Guidelines & Milk Jug Planting

Please RSVP at Registration is free but seating is also limited. There is still room. Join us on Saturday, April 1 at 10:00 a.m. in the Southwood Library Meeting Room where our very own Deborah VanDeventer will be sharing some tips, and guidelines, and sending us home with our own milk jug gardens.

Interested participants should bring any type of semitransparent container: vinegar jug, juice container, 2-litre soda bottle, or plastic milk jug. The tops will be cut off the containers, so anything will work which has enough head room to support growing seedlings.

You may bring your own seeds suitable for cool weather planting or else Debbie will have multiple varieties of broccoli and cauliflower seeds on hand. If you want to bring your own seeds, then greens like lettuce and kale would be fine and as far as flowers go, pansies would be a good choice but you will need to keep your jug covered because they need darkness. Debbie advised that root vegetables, and warm weather produce like melons, cucumbers, and tomatoes would not be good choices.  

Debbie will provide the potting soil, blades to cut your containers, and the expertise.

Square-foot Planting for Small Spaces

Please RSVP at Registration is free but seating is also limited. Join us on Saturday, April 22 at 10:00 a.m. in the Southwood Library Meeting Room. Deborah VanDeventer will be sharing how to plan a small space vegetable garden using square foot principles. This gardening plan efficiently produces more plants in small spaces and offers the advantages of better moisture retention and less weed germination. Plan the garden to utilize space to grow early and midseason crops in the same space.

Companion Planting

Please RSVP at Registration is free but seating is also limited. Join us Saturday, June 3 at 10:00 a.m. in the Southwood Library Meeting Room. Deborah VanDeventer will enlighten us as to how we can let nature do some of the work for us. Companion plants can bolster a plant’s performance and at the same time assist in preventing insect colonization and damage. There are many options besides marigolds that are easy to grow and known by gardeners everywhere to attract beneficial insects, deter nuisance insects, and even enhance flavour of specific crops. Deborah encourages us to try something different this year. 


Monday, April 3 Zoom Meeting Open to all Gardeners

On Monday, April 3 at 7:00 p.m., we will be holding a Zoom meeting to welcome our new and seasoned gardeners alike and to plan our “Compost & Leads Day” scheduled for Saturday, April 29 from 10:00 a.m. until noon. A Zoom link will be emailed the day before. Hope you can join us!

Saturday, April 29 Compost & Leads Day

Join us in the garden on Saturday, April 29,where from 10:00 a.m. until noon we will be holding our Compost & Leads Day.

Bags of Seasoil compost will be dropped off at each garden plot. You are then encouraged to work in two to three scoops of the Gaia Green Organic 4-4-4 fertilizer in the shed prior to adding your compost. When your compost is added to your garden it is best to just work it into the top few inches of your soil so as to not disturb the microbes hard at work deep within your soil.

This will also be your opportunity to meet with the Lead for which you have signed up to volunteer, so that you can learn more about your volunteer role and meet your team.

Free Hemp Amendment

Jenny received free Hemp Pak for the garden courtesy of Hempalta. It is an amendment which gardeners could try with their Seasoil this year. 
It is not composted like Seasoil so it will definitely take a while to break down and should be well worked in. For more information:   

Soil Enrichment – D Vandeventer

I have recently been reading a lot about the various things we are needing to do to rebuild our soils. Of course there’s all sorts of information available about adding organic matter to our soils. But nowhere do we hear about the importance of adding lost essential minerals to it.

I’m not referring to the NPK formulations we see in fertilizers. No, I’m referring to minerals that are rarely mentioned. Essential minerals that our fruits and vegetables are lacking from our depleted soils are also now lacking in our daily diets.

It has been evident for quite some time that the colourful fruit and vegetable baskets we display, though looking colourful and nutritious, are only supplying us with a fraction of what we would have consumed in the days of our grandparents. The minerals in the soils are the backbone of the chain of nutrients in our food. Whether it is grass and grain our livestock and poultry are consuming, or crops our fields are growing, it all begins in the soil. Brazil is now amending soils with minerals as a staple part of their agricultural practices. Glacial or rock dust added to the soils is an available way to replenish those lost minerals and rebalance them.

It’s time we looked deeper into our soils to see what we have taken out and haven’t replenished. That bowl of apples and plate of salad isn’t as full of nutrients as we think it is.

Written by Deborah VanDeventer

Enviro-Diana’s Corner

How to do a Plastic Waste Assessment/Audit

A quart jar of garbage is the total amount author and “Zero Waste” activist Bea Johnson and her family of four generate in one year! One jar in one year! You can read her book Zero Waste Home (available at the library) or hear her story on YouTube.

Most of us will never achieve her low level, but doing a garbage and plastic waste assessment/audit can show us where to improve. To do an audit, simply empty the contents of your inside garbage or recycling receptacles onto the kitchen counter. Take a look at what’s there. It can be very revealing about what and how you buy. In the picture below, for example, most of the plastic recycling comes from bread, fruits and local lettuce. Two items: the Lara bar wrapper and the tofu package are garbage. Could some of these items be acquired with less or no packaging? Maybe unbagged fresh fruit could be put in mesh bags at the supermarket or some bread and treats made from scratch at home.

Changing our habits takes time. An audit can help us see where we routinely waste and give us direction for the future.  It’s not always easy or convenient to find alternatives, but it’s so satisfying to source what we need without plastic.

Plastic recycling and waste audit: works in progress and bulk fill successes

Written by Diana Badenduck


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

2023 Garden Calendar

  • April 1             New and returning gardeners–Jumpstarting the season 10 am
  • April 3             Zoom meeting for all to welcome new gardeners & plan 7 pm
  • April 22           Square foot planting for small spaces at 10:00 am
  • April 29           Compost and Leads Day 10:00 am
  • May 22            Planting Day 10:00 am
  • June 3              Companion Planting 10:00 a.m.
  • August 26        Garden Party 10:00 a.m.
  • October 7         Garden Clean-up and Garlic Planting 


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 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.