Gardening in Almonte (and Pakenham): In the Can!

David

While the expression has been used historically (and perhaps is now anachronistic) to describe a program or movie that is on tape or film that is ready to be broadcast or released, I think that it is a great expression to describe a gardening experiment currently underway in Pakenham.

Six livestock water tanks have been purchased, placed at three visible sites in Pakenham, filled with soil, and planted with vegetables. Signs have been affixed promoting the Pakenham Satellite operation of the Food Bank. While these tanks will not produce a huge volume of food, it is a fascinating experiment to see how well the plants produce. These tanks are having a fair amount of interest from gardeners with very small growing areas or those who find bending to garden is no longer feasible.

The water tanks measure approximately six feet in length, two feet in width and two feet in height. The tanks were placed on four by four-inch pieces of cedar so that they can be readily moved. The tanks have a drainage hole near the bottom of one side – the plug was removed so excess water can drain off. A few inches of crushed stone was spread in the bottom of the tanks and then covered with heavy duty landscape fabric. A mixture of black earth and composted manure was then added on top. In light of the relatively small size of the tanks, bagged material was used. Seedlings that had been started under lights at the Mississippi Mills Youth Centre were then planted in the mixture. Regular watering will be undertaken by volunteers. A huge vote of thanks goes out to the three venues that made this experiment happen.

Vic at Scoops agreed to two tanks in his side yard in a great spot with lots of sun and high visibility. I like to stop periodically to check on the plants (and enjoy a fabulous ice-cream cone).

The Pakenham Library agreed to two tanks in a side parking area and has already installed a soaker hose.

Five Span Seed and Feed agreed to two tanks over by the hamburger stand and have ‘voluntold’ the students to water them. A great deal of thanks is due to Murray, Barbara and Christine at Five Span who gave very generously of their time and got me some great deals on the soil and the tanks.

The funding for this project comes from Food Banks Canada’s +Fresh Gardens & Growing Fund. This is a program that supports the gardening initiatives of the food bank network. Many food banks across the country are taking the lead in their communities in the development and support of local garden and growing. These initiatives support the growth and increased consumption of fresh food amongst participants, help to build a sense of community, offer participants an opportunity to gain confidence and skills through gardening, supply food banks and other food programs with fresh produce, and help educate participants about food, nutrition, gardening, and local food systems.

The Hunger Stop (Lanark County Food Bank) serves Beckwith, Carleton Place and Mississippi Mills – the town of Pakenham is at the northern edge of the territory. The Hunger Stop has long been concerned that it is invisible in this town and is not reaching those in need, such as isolated seniors. One of the important reasons for this garden development in Pakenham is to raise the profile of the Hunger Stop to ensure that no one in the community goes hungry.

While the Hunger Stop storefront is in Carleton Place, satellite operations are in place in Almonte and Pakenham. If you find that you are going hungry or know of someone that is or wish to make a donation please call the Hunger Stop at 613-257-8546.