C Bay community garden ready to grow

CONSTANCE BAY – The good news came down last week, community gardens are ready for your seeds and transplants.

On April 25, the Province of Ontario declared community gardens an essential service.

“Any person who uses allotment gardens or community gardens shall do so in compliance with the advice, recommendations and instructions of public health officials, including any advice, recommendations or instructions on physical distancing, cleaning or disinfecting,” the provincial order stated.

The news was great for green thumbs around the province and in West Carleton, of course.

In Constance Bay there is a very popular community run garden just behind the West Carleton Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 616. There’s about 40 plots made up of raised gardens approximately 12 feet by 12 feet. It’s funded in part by the EnviroCentre’s Ottawa Sustainability Fund and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Branch 616 Volunteer of the Year Lynda Boland manages the garden. It sounds like gardeners are chomping at the bit to get their hands dirty.

“I have two remaining plots,” Boland told West Carleton Online from the garden last Friday (May 8). “And a list this long.”

Boland has spent a little time early this spring getting the community garden ready for visitors – just in case. Boland has been the garden manager for the last six years.

“I was going to plant for people,” Boland said if the gardens were not going to be open in time for the May long weekend. “It has to be done for a certain time.”

Boland says the garden is more than an essential service, it is a community hub.

“Its one family per plot,” she said. “The kids come in and help. It’s guys, it’s girls, it’s different ages. Gardening is for everybody.”

Boland expects the 2020 gardening season is going to be a busy one.

“Everybody is doing it this year because they know food is going to be crazy,” she said.

She said there have been a couple of visitors to the garden, but it’s been quiet, so far.

“We’ve had a few people coming in and cleaning up,” Boland said. “Everyone will be here May long weekend planting. We’ll have to have some physical distancing practices in place.”

Boland says the garden isn’t overly crowded at any other point during the season.

“Usually there’s no more than six people at the same time,” she said. “People come at different times. Some like mornings, some like after work, some just come on weekends.”

Boland says she enjoys her time at the community garden – it’s an oasis.

“In August, it’s just so pretty,” she said. “You get lost in here. There are sunflowers 16-feet tall. It’s perfect. There’s everything here and its awesome. People share their tips. You can grab a tomato on your way home for dinner.”

Boland says at the end of the season you can find hundreds and hundreds of tomatoes, peppers, cucumber. Spinach by the boatload and all kinds of other green treats.

“The weird thing is, I don’t even like vegetables,” she said.