community gardens

Adding Garden Plots in Strathcona Centre Community

Strathcona Rail Garden, located at 105 Street and 86th Avenue, is a very successful community garden that was established in 2009. 46 families currently grow and harvest fresh produce from the garden, and it acts as a benefit to the entire community as a beautiful green space in which all are welcome.

"Informal" Road
The gravel roadway to the west of the garden is actually not supposed to be there. At some point along the way, motorists started using it as a short cut, and then the city put gravel on it (probably at the request of those using it). A picture of the roadway is attached to this message.
The city is now undergoing a process to transform this informal roadway. This presents a major opportunity for gardeners to further beautify and enhance the area by creating additional plots to our community garden.
The garden wait list for plots was capped at 25 families last year. Since we decided to limit the size of the list, we have turned away 25-50 more potential gardening households. Clearly there is a huge, unmet demand for garden space in this area of the city. 
The problem is, in September 2012 the Parks department brought the issue of removing the informal road to council. Two residents who live near the garden presented concerns to council. One resident complained about a lack of parking in the area due to nearby bike lanes, and the other stated that he needed the road in order to pull his trailer (that he uses for business purposes) onto his property.
To address concerns like these, the city initially proposed to have a paved key shaped area allowing for parking and for average sized vehicles to turn around. this area would be north of the two houses located west of the gravel road. Anyway, city council postponed the decision about what to do until more consultation was done (see "public meeting", below).

It is very important that the garden be respectful of its neighbours, and we will continue our efforts to foster good relations with them. However, it is also okay for us to respectfully disagree with them. The garden allocation committee estimates that we could create up to 16 more plots (depending on final design specifications) from the space that the road currently occupies. The creation of the new plots would not only help to alleviate the high demand for gardening space, it would also improve neighbourhood security and ambiance by getting more people outside, and it would create a beautiful space out of a gravel flat-top.

It is the opinion of the garden and the Strathcona Community League that the best use for the space occupied by the road is to convert it back to a garden.
Public Meeting

The Sustainable Development Department is holding a public meeting about the road closure on April 17, 2013. It is very important that supporters of the road closure attend the meeting to have their voices heard. Please consider attending the meeting so that we can create more garden plots for nearby families and make the Strathcona community a more beautiful, livable place.
Date: April 17, 2013
Time: 7pm-9pm
Where: Strathcona Community League Building, 10139 - 87 Avenue



I used to think that garlic was an exotic food. I thought it was like the mango - something so full of flavour couldn't possibly come from nearby, could it?

I couldn't have been more wrong. Garlic is in fact easy to grow in Edmonton and impossible to grow in the tropics. Ha! Suck on that year-round-luscious-food-having tropical countries!

Since it also stores very well, Edmonton could be self-sufficient in the stinking herb if it wanted to be.

It's time to plant your garlic for next year. Here's how:  read more... »

Local Organic Tomatoes - Not Just for the Rich and Famous Anymore

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An Edmontonian's backyard tomato crop, 2010

The term elitist has been popping up more and more in the media when describing local organic food. I think that using the term displays a lack of imagination and out-of-the-box thinking (to use a tired term).

We just hauled in this year’s tomato crop (I described starting the tomatoes from seed earlier in the year). We transplanted them in late May in 30-40 square feet of garden space. I picked a few weeds along the way (like, 50), but we hardly paid them any mind until today.

With fewer hot days in late summer than usual, it was a bad year for tomatoes in Edmonton. Late blight took all of a neighbour’s tomatoes, and we lost most of our crop at the community garden to blight as well (seems that the cool wet weather is what causes it). Also, usually by this time at least half of our tomatoes are red, but we've only picked three red ones to date. No matter - covering them with newspaper will enable them to ripen on their own, and I for one can’t tell the difference between on ripened inside and one ripened outside.

So in a bad year we grew 10 gallons of local organic tomatoes with minimal effort, for $5-10 worth of seed. And, for those without a yard there are a plethora of community gardens in this city.

What exactly is elitist about local organic food again?