The Seniors Association, up on College Drive, not only has a fabulous greenhouse going, they have a complete gardening management system all set up and the project has plans to expand.

Not only is there the wonderful, productive greenhouse I wrote about last week, but there is also an extensive outdoor garden. There is a recycling–composting component that involves all the tenants and is modelled after the city’s composting practices.

The College Drive Seniors Association, as they are presently known, are composting their personal food wastes, plant debris, etc., to use in their own gardening endeavours.

Each tenant has a little bucket in which the vegetable food waste can be collected and it all goes into the compost pile. The compost gets worked into the outdoor garden beds, enriching the soil.

With 18 to 20 members of the Horticultural Club plus other tenants participating, that can be a lot of compost. I saw one compost pile that should be ready by this next spring and another that must have been started last year and will be ready by this fall.

There is also a community component in which herbs are grown for the Yukon College Culinary Program. Future chefs in the fall will have access to fresh, Yukon organically grown herbs, giving them a chance to learn to cook using fresh ingredients.

And that’s not all: an important aspect of this project is that of giving back to the community in the form of extra produce earmarked for the food bank.

The outdoor beds include numerous 16-foot beds, divided into four-foot plots, and are waist-high, making it easy and delightful for gardening. Again, the plots are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The diverse membership becomes quickly evident as you find crops such as bok choy. An Asian red leaf lettuce also grows profusely along with the usual cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, cabbages, etc.

This year, raspberries and rhubarb have been added around the perimeter of the garden area, and more plans are under way.

Speaking with members Doug Tufford and Marge Post, there are plans to add cherry trees. Yes, cherry trees!

It seems that the University of Saskatoon has developed a cherry tree that survives Zone 2 climate conditions, which is the zone that most of the Yukon falls under. Plans are underway to try a few trees here in exchange for keeping detailed records of growing conditions, local temperature, snow depth and so on.

The seniors have set up a wonderful gardening operation providing not only healthy and fresh local vegetables for themselves and the community, but also embracing the joy of gardening, sharing past gardening know-how and enjoying the health benefits of fresh air, exercise and the camaraderie of gardening-club members.

Ingrid Wilcox operates Lubbock Garden and Floral Consultant and offers gardening, greenhouse and flower-arranging workshops. Contact her at ingrid@northwestel.net.