The itch to garden strikes many of us while the cool winter months delay the delight of growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers. The winter, however, is the perfect time of year to start planning how, where, and what you desire to grow.
When you do not have the space or land to grow a garden then a community garden may be the right answer for you. In Vancouver, there are several community gardens to choose from. Each has a general guideline from when to prepare your plot to when you should harvest. The space allowed per person/family is limited and carries a fee per space ranging from fifteen dollars to twenty dollars depending on size, and if you request a raised bed. The gardens which are sanctioned by the city include:
1. Marshall Community Park
2. Haagen Community Park
4. Ellsworth Road
5. Fruit Valley Park
Registering for a space in one of the community gardens means you must apply in person at the Marshall Community Center. If you are a returning gardener, you may reserve your area by phone.
Feed those in need
Having fresh fruits and vegetables is a happy alternative to processed and canned food for the less fortunate in the Vancouver community. The Clark County Food Bank has a farm dedicated to providing nutritious food for families in need and gives the public a chance to volunteer with prepping the land, planting seeds, maintaining plant health, and finally harvesting.
Fort Vancouver has a similar program of giving back with their organic garden. Volunteers get a bonus for donating time and energy to this patch by receiving any surplus that the county does not or cannot use.
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It does not take a lot of space to grow a garden if you are clever about how you use what you have. It is possible to grow herbs, berries, and small vegetables even if you live in an apartment. Maximize space by using hanging pots and plant stands, which hold more than one container. Choose plants according to how much or how little sunlight exposure your patio receives. If your space does not allow for large plants, it is possible to use a window sill to grow herbs.
The season for growing starts in February, and This is when to prepare the soil and removing any weeds, which have grown in your garden space during the winter season. This is also the time to make sure bushes, fruit trees, and ornamental trees are properly trimmed and pruned. Laying mulch or bark chips are good ways to keep weeds from growing back during the warmer spring months. Once the area is prepared it is time to decide what kind of garden you want to have. There are plants, which draw birds and nature to your yard, or you can choose the typical plot of vegetables and berries.
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There is not much time left until the growing season starts. Use this time wisely to prepare where you want to grow, how can help local hunger, or what you want to cultivate in your own back yard.