The biggest grow op in Pitt Meadows

A column by Mike Lascelle, who is a nursery manager in Pitt Meadows and gardening author

No, you won’t find any Cannabis growing here, but you will see a lot of people walking around with silly grins pasted on their faces.

They are experiencing the joy of gardening, vegetables to be precise, although if you look hard enough, there are plenty of berries, fruit trees and flowers.

This oasis of contented urban farmers is formally known as the Pitt Meadows Community Garden, an aggregate of 106 plots shared by approximately 150 members. The garden is also wheelchair accessible and includes four raised beds for people with physical limitations.

The crowd here is an eclectic bunch, ranging from two-year-olds playing in the sand box to 83-year-old Gerry, whose beautiful plot belies his age. It is also quite ethnically diverse, with members appreciating the unique plants that arrive with each culture.

The first person I bumped into was Dave Bisset, who was happily harvesting his cabbage and tidying around his already impeccable plot. Dave is one of the original members who moved from the old Harris road site due to the construction of a right of way. There was little at the new site but city water and a lot of hardpan and clay. But thanks to help from the City of Pitt Meadows, the parks department others, they now have a first rate facility. There’s an indoor kitchen, meeting room and washroom facilities, a gazebo to enjoy a little shade, composters for scraps and even a pair of bee hives to provide pollination and a little honey at the end of the season.

We visited Ena d’Ambrumenil’s plot (which she shares with a friend) and found beets, carrots, brussel sprouts, Swiss chard, kale, cabbage, dill, potatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, leeks, peas and tomatoes, all peacefully co-existing.

I also dropped by John Blackman’s garden, where the scarlet runner beans had reached the top of their poles, the gooseberries were in training and the espaliered apples and pears showed their promise with tiny green fruits.

John has been gardening since the Second World War, when he was a Victory Gardener. But life in his nearby townhouse left him little room for the plants he loves, so he decided to rent a plot and just grow his favourites here. Judging by the looks of the manicured gardens, he is not alone, as the love and effort that goes into these 15-by-15 foot plots is evident from the healthy produce and beautiful flowers literally brimming over the edges.

In fact, demand for garden plots here is such that there is an expansion (of roughly 50 per cent) in the works. So if you think that you might be interested in renting one, you can contact them by email at pmcommunitygarden@yahoo.ca. The cost per plot is just $25 a year, but since the garden is run as a cooperative, that also means helping maintain the common areas – which translates into about three hours a year of weeding the paths or cleaning the shared facilities. Everything you could ever need to grow a pesticide-free garden is provided, including tools, manure and topsoil (which you can buy on site by the wheelbarrow), a seed exchange and, of course, free advice from some of the nicest people you will ever find behind a hoe.

Mike Lascelle is a local nursery manager and gardening author. Email him at hebe_acer@hotmail.com.

Blog

• There’s a new story – The United Nations of Gardening – on Mike’s blog at www.soulofagardener.wordpress.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Drive-thru food truck fest comes to Maple Ridge

Cotton candy, tacos, fried chicken, and more at Albion Fairgrounds, Aug 8-9

Maple Ridge hockey player hunting a Stanley Cup

Brad Hunt got into his first NHL playoff game against the Vancouver Canucks

Staff member tests positive for COVID-19 at Maple Ridge Seniors Village

Fraser Health is on site implementing outbreak protocols at the seniors care facility

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

Gangster Jarrod Bacon released from prison for third time

Parole board continues to express concerns about Bacon’s behaviour

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

What exactly is ‘old growth’ B.C. forest, and how much is protected?

Forests minister Doug Donaldson doesn’t support ‘moratorium’

Most Read