Gardening is About Community

”Gardening is about community” is part of a phrase that caught my eye in an e-mail I received today.

And I agree.

I didn’t learn to garden without someone teaching me pruning methods for tomatoes or what a weed looked like in its early stages.

My mother was a huge influence in my gardening and still is. But so were my grandmothers, aunts and even a dear neighbour lady in her 90s who asked why we didn’t grow garlic. (The answer was that I had never grown it and didn’t know how. But she soon taught me and it is actually quite easy.)

On the prairies, almost every back yard has a small vegetable garden. Gardening methods were shared between neighbours talking over the back fence about everything from the lateness of the spring to how productive the vegetables were.

Learning to garden from more-experienced neighbours can happen without any extra effort.

But in the Yukon, gardening seems to be an invisible art. When I first moved up to Whitehorse, I didn’t know anyone who gardened vegetables. There were plenty of people who had flowers and shrubs, but vegetables didn’t seem to make the grade.

They probably were there, but they weren’t visible to me. Once I joined the Fireweed Community Market, however, I found gardeners in just about everyone. It was like coming home.

Some of these gardeners have been dealing with the challenges of our Yukon weather for decades. And when something stumps me, I ask questions, just like I did with those experienced gardening neighbours in Saskatchewan.

Recently, I have learnt of a “Seedy Saturday” happening here in Whitehorse. It will be a place that those experienced gardeners can get together and share knowledge with those just starting out.

It is also a place to share any saved seeds, or extra seedlings. Even the new methods that are happening in other places of Canada, like permaculture and urban gardening could be shared.

To be able to sit and visit with old friends and new, chatting in “gardener speak”, is a wonderful way to spend a Saturday. Especially with the snow still on the ground.

This year, I haven’t been able to start any seedlings due to extenuating circumstances. So gardening for me won’t start until the soil can be worked. And the waiting hasn’t been easy.

Thankfully, my husband understands me. About a month ago he plowed the snow off the garden to allow the soil to warm up as quickly as possible. When he told me what he had done, I wasn’t so pleased. The snow does provide early moisture to seedlings. But now, with his promise to add water after the garden is seeded, I can’t wait until the frost is out and I can get started.

Until then, I am going to have to content myself with a good visit with other gardeners at a Seedy Saturday. Maybe I’ll see you there on April 17, from 1 to 5 p.m., upstairs at Alpine Bakery.

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