Tag Archives: community garden

Haultain Common: The Season in Photos

Photo by Mike Large

As you may know, SLUGS has been partnering with the Haultain Common for 2012 and holding monthly workshops/work parties at the Common.  We’re stoked to have the chance to work with the Commoners because it gives us a chance to put all our gardening learning into practice while helping to build an amazing community food resource.

We’ve been snapping photos when we have a chance throughout the year, and I wanted to put them together in one place so you could see the evolution of what we’ve been working on.  From a dormant winter garden on a drafty February afternoon to a riotous food forest in the August heat, here is the season at the Common! Continue reading

Haultain Common Tour and Work Party, Sunday June 10th, 2-4 pm

A great opportunity to tour this amazing community boulevard garden and food resource and lend a hand with a few tasks here and there.

The Common is happening! Come & see the new Strawberrium, with its sweet winding path, designed with kids in mind. See the paths, with their new wood chips. Marvel at how the perennials have nestled in & sunk their roots. And guess what? There are artichokes!

Plus, while you’re there, you can take a bit of time to lend a hand with pulling weeds here and there as well as doing a bit of mulching.

Cost:  free!

Location:  The Haultain Common, 1420 Haultain (at Asquith)

The Haultain Common: What We’ve Been Up To

I just wanted to give everyone a bit of an update about our work at the Haultain Common this year.  As you may know, SLUGS is partnering with the Haultain Common for 2012 and holding monthly workshops/work parties at the Common.  We’re stoked to have the chance to work with the Commoners because it gives us a chance to put all our gardening learning into practice while helping to build an amazing community food resource.

In case you haven’t heard about the Haultain Common, here’s a bit of background:  It’s a boulevard garden located at the intersection of Haultain and Asquith in Fernwood.  The Common was started by Rainey Hopewell and Margot Johnson, and has always been a collaborative community effort.  There are always neighbourhood folks stopping by to help work or harvest, and lots of curious passers by who stop to ask questions and often stay to help out.  The Common is on public land and is a public food resource.  All are welcome to get their hands dirty working in the garden or to stop and harvest some berries or vegetables to eat.

In the early months of the year, SLUGS and Commoners met to create a plan of action for this year’s food production.  The Common is moving from a more conventional garden to a permaculture food forest model of growing, and we wanted to sit down and hash out how that was going to work.  Not only did we need to figure out how to construct a food forest, but we needed to figure out how to make this method of growing accessible to folks who might not be familiar with permaculture gardening techniques.  The Common is a community food garden, and we wanted to make sure that anyone passing by would be able to recognize what we were growing and feel comfortable harvesting it.  You can check out this older blog post for more details on the planning process and background information about permaculture food forests. 

Once we had the plans in place for this year’s iteration of the Common, we started working on putting them into action.  We’ve been transplanting, planting and weeding like crazy to get the Common ready for the growing season.  We transplanted some gojis, goumis and blueberries, added lots of new blueberries (they work well as part of a permaculture food forest as well as being extremely popular with all the kids in the neighbourhood), and rearranged the epic strawberry patch.

In April we built a pea trellis from willow branches (see photo at left) and planted peas, built four keyhole paths to allow better access for harvesting plants and did a ton of weeding.  There was an overwhelming amount of borage and calendula taking over the garden, and we sadly had to take most of them out.  It’s always a shame to lose plants that are so beautiful and useful (bees absolutely love them!), but we have to maintain balance in the garden as well as hewing to boulevard garden guidelines that stipulate that plants must be fairly low to the ground and clear pathways through the garden must be maintained.

We’re really happy about all the work we’ve gotten done on the Common so far.  The bones of a beautiful and functional garden are in place, and it will be great to watch it fill in and develop as the season progresses.  Thanks to all the folks who’ve helped out so far this year (and thanks also to Mike Large for the use of his photos for this post!).  We can always use more people at the work parties, so if you’re interested in hanging out in the sun, getting rad with fellow gardeners, learning about food gardens or permaculture food forests, or just stopping by to see what it’s all about, please keep an eye on this space for upcoming events!

Resources: 

-Info on gojis and goumis if you’d like to learn more about them
A great blog post by Maarten who attended some of our planning meetings
-Here’s a good starting point if you’re interested in learning more about permaculture food forests
A cool article and video about the Haultain Common
Instructions on how to make a trellis from branches like the one we constructed

Haultain Common Weeding Party, Saturday April 28th, 2-4 pm

Thanks to the folks who attended last Sunday’s work party, we have put almost all the bones of the new Haultain Common design in place!  Our keyhole paths have all been built, the new blueberry plants are in place, and we wove a willow pea fence and planted peas to climb it.

The next step is to tackle the borage and calendula that are trying to take over.  Once we’re done this step, the garden will be spruced up for spring and looking awesome.  If you’re free this Saturday afternoon, stop by and give us a hand with the weeding — it’s really easy work (the plants are tiny), and good opportunity to hang out in good weather and chat it up with other rad gardening folks.

Hope to see you there!

Location:  The Haultain Common, 1420 Haultain at Asquith

Haultain Common Planting Party, Sunday April 22nd, 2-4 pm

The Common is really starting to come together for the season, but we will need your help to get more elements of the permaculture food forest in place!  We will be planting blueberries and strawberries (tasty times ahead!), constructing keyhole paths, and weaving a pea fence out of willow branches (a very cool skill to learn).  This event is a great chance to learn new skills, hang out with rad and community minded gardeners, and help out an important community resource.  Hope to see you there!

Cost:  free!

Location:  The Haultain Common, 1420 Haultain St at Asquith

Haultain Common Transplanting Party, Sunday March 18, 2-4 pm

ImageOur last garden planning session last weekend saw a solid permaculture food forest plan put together for the Common.  The next step is to start digging — we need to transplant some of the delectable perennials to their new locations.  Come on out to lend a shovel, move some artichokes, blueberries, gojis, and other tasty and fascinating plants.  This is a great learning opportunity as well as a chance to support your friendly neighbourhood community food resource.  Thanks for your help, and looking forward to seeing you there!

Location:  1420 Haultain St, Victoria, BC

Haultain Common: Planning a Permaculture Food Forest

Last week’s work party at the Haultain Common saw us learning to repair irrigation systems, checking out the bones of the garden before spring growth explodes, and escaping the cold weather by sitting inside drinking mint tea and starting to work on our garden plan for the year.

The Common is in a transitional stage between what most folks think of as a traditional vegetable garden and a permaculture food forest model of growing.   If you’re new to the food forest model, it can be explained as a garden that “mimics the architecture and beneficial relationships of a natural forest. Food forests are not ‘natural’, but are designed and managed ecosystems that are very rich in biodiversity and productivity.”

It’s exciting to be working on an urban community garden with such a natural structure.  The Common already has a fair number of plants in place that can be fit into such a system (artichokes, goumis, gojis, blackcurrants, blueberries, walking onions, oregano, borage, calendula), so our major challenge is to figure out how to arrange them all in the most mutually beneficial structure.  As well, there are a lot of shady areas in the Common, and we’re trying to figure out what would do best in those conditions.  If you’re interested in helping out, our next planning meeting will be Sunday March 11 at 2:30 pm (see our Upcoming Events page for more details).  We welcome folks with any level of gardening and permaculture experience — we’re all figuring it out as we go, so don’t feel you need to be a pro-star to come contribute!

As I start to do my research for this project, I pulled out my trusty copy of Gaia’s Garden:  A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway.  Hemenway does an amazing job of introducing ecological gardening principles in a way that is thorough but not overwhelming, and his plentiful ideas of how to institute permaculture on a backyard scale are both extremely practical and extremely inspiring.  I recommend giving this book a read if you haven’t already!