Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Update on the Garden Design

Here is some more information and a plan for the garden design. The plan is a work in process; the commons area will include a more specific map of plants and their planned location.

The Design
The main design of the gardens will incorporate a food forest style commons adjacent to an allotment garden, a design that allows community members to access the public space in an active and engaging manner. The gardens will link the values of accessible garden space with those of educational opportunities and local food resilience. The allotment sites will border the commons and be clearly demarcated. The allotments will comprise eight 4-by


• The garden would be located in Robert Porter Park, in the area between the upper field leased by Sir James Douglas Elementary School and the playground area at the far end of the park. This area was originally used for the FGCA bonfire, and is otherwise mainly used by dog walkers and pedestrians.
• The commons would largely border Thurlow Rd. The allotments will be in the naturally enclosed area adjacent to the Garry Oak meadow.
• Wide and open paths will allow for the flow of pedestrians and dog walkers, as well as allowing for continued use of space by community members. Smaller paths will cut through the commons, allowing community members to access food-bearing plants from varying directions.

Park Entrance
The entrance to the commons would be an existing set of steps leading from Thurlow Rd. Pathways from all directions will provide access to the gardens from other parts of the park.

The gardens would include a seating area, including a cob bench crafted by community members and volunteers. The cob bench would be covered to provide shelter and ensure longevity of the structure. It would also include a map and community garden bulletin board.

Plants in the commons area are being selected with community consultation for their resiliency, diversity, and ability to produce high yields with minimal maintenance. The commons design would incorporate chestnut trees into the existing treeline along Thurlow St. as well as smaller fruit varieties such as 'Desert King' fig, Goumi and Gogi berry bushes, as well as native Saskatoon berries, and an undergrowth of herbaceous perennials such as artichoke and culinary and medicinal herbs.

Herbaceous Perennials
Globe Artichoke

• Comfrey
• Calendula
• Lavender
• Mint
• Oregano
• Thyme


• Goumi berry
• Clove current
• Saskatoon berry
• Huckleberry
• Gogi berry

Chinese chestnut
'Desert King' Fig

Planting Strategy
The positioning and spacing of the plants is designed for the mature plants to yield to their full capacity. Smaller trees will be protected from deer and dogs until they are mature enough to withstand animals. The first task is to build the allotment beds and prepare the soil for spring planting. Some varieties may be planted in the fall while the spring of will see the full installation of the gardens. Any further planting will largely depend on success of the previous plantings as well as any ongoing food security needs.

Additional plantings will occur in the first few years to maximize food yield. This will include annual vegetables such as squash as well as smaller perennials that will yield more quickly then the chestnut trees and figs. After five years the fig trees are expected to begin their yield, while the chestnuts are designed to provide long term food security to the area.

Education & Outreach

The gardens will include educational signage for individuals to recognize the various plants and trees in the garden.

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