City of Oshawa Community Partner – Summer 2020

Author: Life Member Ann Couch, Giving Gardens Project Chair

As a result of Covid-19 the City of Oshawa Parks Service was not able to maintain all their annual garden beds. This provided a unique opportunity to engage the community in adopting garden beds to grow fresh produce to be donated to local food shelves. 

The Oshawa Garden Club along with The City of Oshawa, The Durham Master Gardeners and Feed the Need Durham collaborated on a plan to use nine floral beds at King Street West and Centre Street adjacent to a footpath to City Hall to grow produce. The gardens ranged in size from 15 square metres to 27 square metres. The Durham Master Gardeners adopted 4 gardens and The Oshawa Garden Club adopted 5 gardens. 

Our OGC President Merle Cole met with various stakeholders and plans were set in motion. Legal releases were signed.

Some of the volunteers from the former OGC Therapeutic Gardening Project agreed to donate $195.00 from their former budget for plants and supplies. Two OGC members donated $50.00 each and other volunteers donated plants, seeds, and essentials like hand sanitizer and water. Voila, a new adventure started! 

On June 1, 2020 planting began and as veggies were harvested, we continued with succession planting. We grew cabbage, kohlrabi, yellow and green bush beans, pole beans, white and red onions, hot peppers, eggplant, carrots, cucumbers, bush peas, zucchini/acorn/spaghetti/delicata squash, tomatoes, kale, basil, oregano. The volunteers met twice a week to weed, maintain and harvest the vegetables. 

Some veggies needed to be replanted two and three and four times. Monika Kachel and I made many trips to the gardens to explain the rules to the park critters who eventually let us do our thing with only a few bites taken here and there. We also had the beetle infestation but that too was overcome.

In total we delivered 541 lbs of produce to Feed the Need Durham to be distributed to various agencies, the three main ones were Simcoe Hall Settlement House, St. Andrews, and Cornerstone Community Services. Durham Master Gardeners delivered a similar amount. 

A group of people in garment

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Monika Kachel, Malcolm Brown, Donna Lindsay, Anne Labelle-Johnson, Mary McConkey, Anne Sewell, Margaret Woolsey, Jane Havens.

Thanks to all these awesome dedicated OGC volunteers. We had a lot of positive feedback from this project; not only from those directly involved, but also from people using the park areas and walkways. We look forward with recent Municipal approval, to run this program again in 2021.🍁