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How does your garden grow?

Garden enthusiasts expect great crop

Thorunn Howatt
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 01/01) - Green thumbs will soon be able to enjoy the fruits and vegetables of their labours, thanks to the Yellowknife Community Garden Collective.

Lisette Self, one of two volunteer managers at the Yellowknife Community Garden, thins out some vegetables on her plot. - Thorunn Howatt/NNSL photo

Their gardens, which delighted participants of this year's Loved Gardens tour, were started seven years ago to provide new gardeners or those with a space shortage a chance to grow vegetables and flowers.

It's the first full year for the new site that holds a waiting list for gardening hopefuls.

"We opened up the new year with 45 people on a waiting list. Some people have been waiting over two years," said Lisette Self who is one of two volunteer site managers.

The program has been in place since 1995 when the federal government gave $15,000 of funding that paid for fencing and soil trucked in from Hay River.

Thanks to a donation of land from the city, the new site is able to accommodate more gardeners. A donation of $4,000 from the Gordon Howard Society of Toronto further helped the project along.

The new site is located next to the original one on Kam Lake Road. Some of the plots grow vegetables for Yellowknife organizations such as the Salvation Army, the women's shelter and the Abe Miller Centre.

Despite the addition, there are still 15 people on the waiting list.

"They should be able to garden next year," Self said. With more rainfall than average, she added that this year's season has been a bountiful one.

A 10 by 18 foot plot at the collective costs $20 and each plot has two gardeners looking after it. Members are expected to weed and maintain their plots as well as attend meetings. Membership to the society is $5.

Self said the plots can take as much as 60 hours of weeding in a season.

One of the problems faced by Northern gardeners is the short growing season.

"Also, the vegetables tend to bolt," said Self, explaining that the extended June and July daylight hours cause plants to climb at an alarming rate.