Close up of a green bean plant

Progress on 2 acres given to ICAN’s Growing Together Project

After COVID arrived in the Spring of 2020, someone gave the Quadra ICAN ‘Squash The Curve Project’ the use of 2 acres of land for a year. Local residents were provided with squash starts, or seedlings, and supportive tips from more experienced gardeners. The food they did not use was freely distributed to the wider community.  

This year ICAN was offered use of the property again, to be used by its Garden Share Program

Ramona Boyle – submitted photo

“It’s two acres  located at the very south of the island in quite a beautiful, idyllic setting. That land was not utilized for a couple of years, but  the caretaker came back to us again this year and said, ‘would you like to do something with it this year?’ We got the approval from the property owner.  It’s part of a strata title, so we had to get approval from all of the neighbouring properties that it would be okay to have increased traffic on the road, et cetera. Once all of that was in place, then we were able to initiate a first meeting with the people that were interested,” explained Ramona Boyle, Coordinator of Quadra ICAN. 

She continued, “This past week about 10 people that came out to the property, walked it, decided what we needed to do to get it in shape for planting, what we were going to plant and how we were going to do it.”

“This property is flat. It is fertile. It used to be a market garden. It’s completely fenced, which is a huge benefit and there are already some perennial plants on the property. There is water and hydro as well.” 

“There are three parts of the property that are ready to plant right away. We had two volunteers, one who offered to repair the irrigation system. And a second who offered to repair a rotor tiller that somebody had donated so that we could loosen up the soil where a chicken tractor had been previously. So it’s well fertilized, but a little compacted.” 

“A good part of the property is going to have to wait until the fall to be prepared for next year’s crops, but we’re very excited about being able to grow potatoes, salad greens, corn, squash, tomatoes and beans right away. We’ve got a very keen group that are ready to get their rakes and the shovels in the ground.”

“ICAN’s plan is to use it as an educational experience so that farmers or gardeners  that don’t have as much experience can learn from more experienced gardeners in a community setting.” 

“The plan is to have four workday slash workshops throughout the season. The first time they would plant together, and see different ways of planting. The second session might be about pest control – how do we manage pests and weeds? The third might be How do you prune for better production? Then the last one would be how do you harvest? And what can you do with the harvest?” 

“Each one of those events will be a kind of community picnic and a work team where the community get together to see how their food is grown and to learn different ways.” 

“This will be a little bit of an experimental garden, so side by side methods of potato planting, for example, to see which one works best  in these conditions. Is it putting the potatoes in the ground, or is it Ruth Stout with the potatoes on top and hay mounded over top.” 

CC: Is there anything else you wanted to say?

“We’re just very excited about being able to get started very quickly, because all of this happened really late in the season that the land was offered. We want to make sure that we can get certain crops  that can go in a little bit later, so that they can produce this year.”

Top image credit: Green Beans from the Garden by Rob Bertholf via 500Px (Creative Commons Photos from Humboldt County, Northern California of Green Beans from Connie’s Garden)

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