You Reap What You Sow: 2021 Kimberley Community Garden Recap

Photo: Corrine Highwood

Written by Chad Kile with Trixie Pacis

With the Kimberley Community Garden resting beneath a thick blanket of snow, it’s time for us to look back at the 2021 growing season. We’re excited to share that we produced a successful yield overall and saw the hard work we put into improving the garden pay off.

The garden got a better start than the previous year thanks to the hard work put in to winterize the garden in the autumn of 2020. We also hit the ground running with the help of our Sustainability Assistant Sierra Cooper and made several improvements early in the season. We increased the total planting area by reconfiguring and widening the ground beds as well as adding a vertical garden. We also tidied up the stone borders of each ground bed, improving the overall appearance. Using lumber donated by Tyee, we also built two thigh-high raised beds. 

A few other improvements were made to garden this year. We built a small cold frame for early season growing and attached gutters onto one side of the garden shed to capture rainwater. At the very end of the season, with the help of our new Sustainability Assistant, Darko Gojsic, and the Youth Climate Corps crew, we built a new brick and concrete composter, and repurposed the old wooden composter as a leaf bin.

With these modifications and regular attention from Wildsight Kimberley Cranbrook contractors and volunteers, the garden flourished with all the usual perennials and garlic planted last fall plus tomatoes, kale, spinach, chard, various squash, beans, potatoes, carrots, beets, and a small “3 sisters” bed consisting of corn, beans, and squash. 

We did face some challenges this year, including invasion by deer that levelled a large portion of the young shoots, but most of the produce bounced back. In the end, the garden yielded a large harvest. Local residents harvested some for themselves and most of what we ended up with was donated to the Kimberley Food Recovery Depot.

In addition to growing produce, the Kimberley Community Garden doubled as a venue for Camp Odyssey, Blue Lake Camp, and a series of gardening workshops on topics that included Indoor Plant Starts, Garden Planning & Building, Vertical Gardens, and Seed Saving. One of our goals for 2022 is to run more workshops with improved attendance and community engagement. Another goal for the new year is to expand the total footprint of the garden in order to grow more produce.

All in all, the season was a great success and we have volunteers like Dina, Daryl, Suzanne, Erin, Tracey, Tom, and Stefan to thank for their hard work and good conversation. Though the Kimberley Community Garden won’t reopen until spring, we are already looking forward to another season!

Sign up to volunteer at the Kimberley Community Garden! No gardening experience required.