Posted by: silverspringsgarden | March 9, 2016

Gardeners See Gardens Differently

July 2015

The Silver Springs Edible Garden Group has 32 4’x 8’ garden boxes available every summer. Every summer since our inception, every garden box has been occupied by a Silver Springs resident and have we seen some gardens!

One of the most interesting things about this concentration of Gardeners is to see how every Gardener perceives a 4’ x 8’ plot.

Some Gardeners see the whole 32 square feet as a single garden and plant rows 8’ long and side by side. Usually 3 or 4 different vegetables are planted in this style. Because the garden is only 8 x 4, usually the rows are a little closer together than in a bigger garden. This usually results in a solid green mass by mid-July.

Other Gardeners see the plot as 8 x 4 with the rows running across the 4’ length. We usually see a greater variety of produce in this configuration. Again the rows tend to be a little closer together but by mid-July solid green.

Some Gardeners go with the Square Foot Garden approach. In this method the box is meticulously laid out, usually with string borders, in 32 squares. Then each square is planted separately, sometimes with the same seed, sometimes every square is planted with something different. The temptation in this method is to plant the same amount of seed in every square and this sometimes leads to the Gardener spending most of the summer thinning plants so there’s room for at least some of the seed to grow. But sometimes the exact right amount is planted in every square and the garden produces huge amounts of exceptional produce that feeds the family all summer. We all cheer when that happens!

This year we are planting more edible produce in the perimeter garden. The perimeter garden is a 3’ wide strip that runs around the garden inside the fence. All of the Gardeners share both the responsibility of maintenance of the portion of that garden, as well as the produce that grows there. We also have several Volunteer Gardeners, usually on the waiting list for a garden box, who also help cultivate this garden and also share in the rewards.

As we all know, Calgary is high and cold and this presents some problems for Gardeners because of the cool nights. The soil heats up during the day and cools off at night so the growth that happens during the day slows down or stops during the night. Combined with our short growing season, cool nights mean that we either limit what we grow, or come up with some innovative way to promote growth despite the cool nights. One of our Gardeners, Svetlana Boronina, has come up with a unique way to get around this problem. Svetlana previously gardened in Medicine Hat where the nights are warm and growth happens continuously. Her first attempt at a Calgary garden, in different Community Garden, didn’t meet with much success. So this year, when she moved to Silver Springs, she was determined to do better.

The sun warms the soil during the day and Svetlana wanted to keep that heat in during the night so she went out to a garden centre and bought what looks like wire borders for flower beds and frost blankets.

She turned the wire barriers on their side and installed them across the garden box and covered the Quonset with a retractable frost blanket cover. So she opens the dome during the day and closes it every night and consequently, her garden is days ahead of everyone else. We’re not competitive but gee, I wish I’d thought of that! Here’s what Svetlana’s garden looks like.

We have a couple of events planned for this summer that we’d like the publics participation.

On Sunday August 9, 2015 we will be car pooling to the Saskatoon Farm, South of Calgary. Residents of Silver Springs are invited to join us for a day of fun, Saskatoon berry picking and shopping.

And on Monday August 24, 2015 ay 7:00 pm we are presenting a talk on “Living Soil Solutions” with Mike Dorion, aka the “compost kid” at the garden. There will be a $10 admission charge and proceeds will go toward enhancing the soil in our community garden

For more information of both of these events, contact Kay at 403-288-7338 or



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