Veggies donated to the Aldergrove Food Bank have so far included reddish small potatoes, curly kale, onions, huge lettuce plants, zucchinis, cucumbers, Swiss chard, broccoli. (Special to The Star)

Aldergrove Community Garden plots available this growing season

Garden committee looking to refurbish plots and add more amenities

Green thumbs of all ages and skill levels bring the sense of community to the Aldergrove Community Garden.

Now the growers need some help from the broader community to keep the gardens growing.

Anyone interested can help with plot replacement. The work is scheduled to take place April 30.

“Our plots are well over 10 years old, the wood is disintegrating and breaking apart causing safety issues,” explained Patsy Homan, one of the garden committee members. “It’s causing concerns as we have children coming with their parents or teachers to learn about planting, growing food and harvesting their produce.”

Last year Country Lumber and Home Hardware offered supplies, a local resident offered a generous donation and the Aldergrove branch of the Royal Canadian Legion made a donation.

“We have 46 plots in total. We have received donations from our community to replace 23 plots this year. We hope to receive funding to replace the rest next year,” she said.

• READ MORE: One Langley City community garden out of commission due to construction on neighbouring lot

The Aldergrove Community Garden is located behind the local Fraser Valley Regional Library Branch on 29th Avenue and beside the bike park at 267B Street. The community garden provides produce to help feed people in need.

“I’m so grateful to the volunteers at the Community Gardens for all the produce they received last year,” said Mary van Zuuk, Aldergrove Food Bank manager.

The plan is to partner again this year and the food couldn’t be fresher. Homan explained that ready produce is picked Tuesday mornings and given out to food bank clients that afternoon.

“Each plot renter can choose to donate some of their produce to the food bank, but it is not mandatory,” Home said. “Some gardeners donate their produce to family, friends and neighbours in need.”

The garden wants to grow.

“Our future plans include fundraising for a gazebo on our patio in the garden,” Homan said.

Once the refurbishing is done and the gazebo added, they can look to broaden what’s offered by having a covered area.

”Then we can have workshops and events for the public as well as meetings and picnics with our gardeners,” she explained. “We could also have a shelter for our rainy registration days and garden meetings. We’d like to get drawings done in near future so we can show what it would look like and perhaps have it costed out at the same time.”

The community garden organizers want to hear from members of the community looking for their own patch.

“This year, we have 10 plots available to the public,” Homan said. “Last year, we had several gardeners apply through the Township as many were not working due to the pandemic so we filled up quite quickly. This year with everyone scrambling to get back to work, we didn’t receive many applications so we now have open plots for the public.”

Gardeners usually sign up in late February, or early March but there’s still time this spring.

The cost of $35 per year (including a $5 yearly garden membership) covers the year from March through March the following year as some gardeners choose to winter garden.

Community garden bylaws do limit what can be grown in a plot. For instance, mint is not allowed as it tends to spread quickly to places it is not wanted.

“Our community garden has a list of bylaws that the gardeners follow. New or experience gardeners can send an email to ask questions. If anyone chooses to apply, they will receive a copy of the bylaws and then have an interview at the community garden. If approved then they will receive their plot,” Homan said.

Learn more by emailing aldergrovecommunitygardens@gmail.com.

READ MORE: PHOTOS: Aldergrove community gardeners grow veggies for food bank

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