Garden Chairperson: Linda Wall
Communications: Linda Rudachek
M.H.A. Area Rep: Linda Wall
Past President: Brenda Lucas
VERY IMPORTANT GARDEN UPDATE!
Hello fellow gardeners
The Garden Committee is very excited to provide you with a short review of changes over this past summer, and planned changes for this coming year. Activities this Spring and Summer. First, this summer you may have noticed all the garden grounds activities. It takes a huge volunteer effort and lots of money each year to run and maintain the gardens so that each one of us can enjoy gardening at the St James Horticultural Society gardens. We extend a big thank you to the volunteers who helped by staking all the plots, cutting the grass, planting flowers, setting up and maintaining composting sites, and planting trees. All this work contributed to beautifying the gardens and the community within which we are located.
Currently, the garden fees do not cover the expenses for maintaining the plots, especially since this year the City of Winnipeg has turned responsibility for the management of the grounds and garden organics over to the St James Horticultural Society. We wish to recognize the hard work of a few people who took the initiative this spring to write, submit and successfully secure grants to help pay for the operating costs for the gardens including the purchase of materials, equipment, and hiring a student to help take care of the garden grounds. We wish to extend a big thank you to Matthew Podolsky, who worked tirelessly over the summer.
Finally, we’d like to thank those gardeners who contributed financially through donations of money, and donations of materials such as straw and compost for garden plots, gas to pick up the straw bales and run the garden tractor, rental of rototillers, use of lawn mowers and weed trimmers, trees to establish a shelterbelt, an outdoor toilet, material for compost sites, and much more.
Now we like to turn to changes for this coming year that the Garden Committee recommended and that the SJHS Board has approved.
Spring or Fall Garden Cultivation. For the past few years, increasing numbers of gardeners have been advocating to the Garden Committee and to the SJHS Board to implement more sustainable garden management practices, such as no-till gardening and increased use of organics on the plots. To provide gardeners with the flexibility to use either no-till or traditional garden plot management practices, the Garden Committee will no longer be arranged in the fall or spring. This means that gardeners who wish to implement no-till practices, will actively manage their garden organics on their plots, and gardeners who wish to continue with traditional practices can arrange to till their plots, for example, rototilling. There may be some gardeners who don’t have access to a rototiller, so if you are a gardener who would like to help these people, please contact the Garden Committee at email@example.com.
There are several benefits to this change. You will recall that over the past three years there was a significant loss of topsoil due to erosion. This spring water removed soil off plots and caused large channels through some plots. The previous two springs were dry, and two to three inches of topsoil was blown off the plots. Increased garden residue on the plots will help prevent soil erosion and improve soil health and fertility. Secondly, gardeners who wish to seed certain vegetables such as garlic in the fall will be able to do so, and gardeners will normally be able to start gardening earlier in the spring because they won’t have to wait until the plots have been staked. Thirdly, cultivating costs have almost doubled over this past year, so funds allocated for cultivating and staking can be redirected towards other garden priorities. It should be noted that for gardeners implementing no-till, it does require different garden plot practices. In recognition of this, the Garden Committee will arrange for learning sessions and send out information sheets over the next year. Several workshops were already organized this past spring and summer, and we’d like to thank the organizers of those sessions.
Garden Plot Numbers, Fees, and Water Surcharge. The numbering of garden plots will be simplified. Currently, full plots are approximately 30’x60’ and labeled as 31 or 41. However, many of the full plots are divided into half plots approximately 30‘x30’ and labeled as east/west or north/south, for example, 34W and 34E or 67N and 67S. Many gardeners only wanted half plots because full plots were too large for them to manage. Consequently, we are changing standard plot sizes to approximately 30’x30’, which is the size of the current half plots. The total number of standard garden plots will change to 226 from 113. There will no longer be east/west or north/south plots.
Secondly, the garden fee for the new garden standard plot size will be $30 per plot. The water surcharge will no longer be charged. For those gardening half plots this year, the new $30 plot fee is a $10 increase over last year’s fee of $15 and the $5 water surcharge. For gardeners who have full plots this year, the new garden fee represents a total of a $30 increase. It should be noted that up until now, those gardeners with half plots were paying more per unit than those gardening full plots. Now everyone will be paying the same amount. The garden fees have remained stable over the last few years, however, the current garden fees do not cover the operating costs of the gardens. In addition, the City has devolved grounds and garden organics management to the Society. We cannot rely on obtaining grants each year as it is highly risky. This situation is not sustainable, consequently the rationale for the garden fee increase. We recognize these increases can be challenging for some families, so stay tuned for more information from the Garden Committee regarding programs to support those who have an expressed need.
Volunteers. We need volunteers for next year. The St James Horticultural Society and Garden Committee are operated by volunteers, people who tirelessly volunteer their time, materials, and money to ensure the gardens are successfully operated and to provide gardeners with an enjoyable and fun gardening experience. Volunteers are needed for this coming year to lead or help with the various opportunities related to maintaining the garden. The Garden Committee will be sending out more details on the volunteer program for next year. In the meantime, the Garden Committee is looking for someone who would be interested in taking on the role of Garden Volunteer Coordinator for this coming year. If you are interested, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We trust you had an enjoyable gardening year, and with your help, we look forward to continuing to manage the gardens for the benefit of all gardeners and the community within which we are situated.