Phoenix Foundation Funding, volunteers accelerate progress at the Learning Garden

By Contributor
June 13th, 2018

Thanks to a $4500 grant from the Phoenix Foundation of the Boundary Communities, the Learning Garden behind the Grand Forks Aquatic Centre is growing up this year.

Over the last three years, the Garden has focused on the basic infrastructure, including fencing, water service, soil building, garden beds and the first trees and shrubs of the future food forest. Worms and micro-organisms are assisting gardeners in turning all of the mulch, compost, flowers and even weeds into fertile soil on the once-barren gravel lot.

In 2018, with the support of this grant and many community contributions, the Garden Team will build on this foundation with several exciting projects.

One of the biggest projects is the completion of the ‘watershed’, a green-roofed building holding the water system and tools. The shed is made from recycled tires, slag, used silviculture planting blocks, and other reclaimed materials. The remaining task is to complete and plant the roof and face the structure with earthen plaster. We are also designing a small attached greenhouse for starting seedlings and cuttings.

The days of watering by hand and overhead sprinkler will soon be over with installation of the water system. Each area will have an adaptable drip and micro-spray irrigation system that can grow and change in capacity as the garden is planted out. YnR Water will assist with a drip irrigation design and installation workshop – date to be announced soon.

We are already well underway with completing laying out the main garden beds and paths and have spread much of the hemp and wheat straw bales. We are looking forward to the delivery of many loads of wood chips to complete the paths to define the garden. Jo White is inspiring and leading installation of a Medicine Wheel near the entrance by the Aquatic Centre.

The forest garden will take shape through the purchase and planting of 15 more overstory (tree canopy) fruit and nut trees. We are planning to purchase crabapples, walnut, goumi, fig, hardy kiwis, goji, quince, almond, and stone pine to supplement the maple, cherry and plum trees and raspberries already growing in the food forest. If you have any heritage apple trees, nut trees or mulberries please get in touch!

Finally, we are working with local graphic designer Jon Worth to create signs to share information about the garden and food forest and to thank sponsors including the Phoenix Foundation, Grand Forks Recreation Commission, School District 51 / Outdoor Leadership, RDKB Area ‘D’ / Rural Grand Forks, the Grand Forks Credit Union, the City of Grand Forks and YNR Water.

We currently hold a work party every Saturday morning from 8:30 to 10 a.m. – although this subject to change.  For more information please see the Grand Forks Learning Garden page on Facebook or contact Christy Luke at gflearninggarden@gmail.com.

Categories: General

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