David

As an experiment to see how early vegetables could be started in an outdoor raised box, I planted a small bed on March 18 this year – three six-foot rows, one of arugula, one of peas and one of spinach. Nearly three weeks later I checked the bed carefully and was rewarded with a row of little arugula seedlings; nothing yet with the peas and spinach.

The box is in an exposed location and the soil was only thawed to a depth of about 2 inches – just about the most extreme conditions one could imagine for vegetable seedlings. But these seedlings are tough and will thrive until summer heat tells them to produce seed and the growing cycle is complete.

Like many of us, I am concerned about how secure our food lifelines are. Globalization has led to prosperity but I am concerned that we are very vulnerable to developments in our trading partners.

It seems to me that it is prudent to grow as much of our fresh produce as we can. The arugula tells us that seeds just want to grow and that there are plants that will thrive if we listen to what conditions they need.

The Lanark County Food Bank (the Hunger Stop) is facing dual challenges of more clients and a reduced capacity of the community to give. Hopefully we can fill some of that gap with fresh garden produce.

The Hunger Stop serves Carleton Place, Beckwith, Mississippi Mills and surrounding area –our volunteers have been growing garden produce in a dozen or more locations and we have been the beneficiaries of produce from many growers in our area.

We invite you to help us meet the challenge. If you have available land, can spare some time, or can grow more produce in your own garden please let us know – email me at hinks.david@rogers.com – I am undertaking this as the Vice-Chair of the Food Bank and the garden coordinator.

We will try to match resources to make this work – our goal is to exceed government safety rules – with many small projects allowing individual efforts.

If you are not an accomplished gardener, we will try to make sure that we keep it simple and point you at relevant resources.