Rossland REAL Food organized a tour of some of the alpine city’s most successful fruit and vegetable gardens. Saturday saw aspiring green thumbs visit four unique venues to learn what works and what doesn’t at 1000 meter elevations. With the notion of the 100-mile diet growing in popularity, more and more people are using backyard gardens and farmers markets as the first choice source for their greens. The gardeners on this tour certainly knew what they were doing, and eagerly passed their techniques on to tour-goers.
The tour began at the community garden at the far end of the RSS field. Councillor Hanne Smith informed the gathered about the history, failures and successes of the garden, and proudly showed off her robust squash plants. The garden features separated parcels where locals grow everything from potatoes to strawberries, a “herb spiral” that takes advantage of varying levels and the sun’s movement, as well as elevated planter boxes for those with mobility issues.
Other gardens on the tour included Sarah Golings’ residence, Rachel Roussin’s “Happy Valley Greens”, and the Doell chinese gardens, which were also a stop on last weekend’s garden tour. Maintaining a successful garden in Rossland can be challenging, due to such factors as a shortened growing season, cool evenings and marauding deer; tour-goers learned about everything from composting to fencing to water-capture techniques in order to give them a fighting chance. Much discussion also centred on which plants thrived locally (potatoes, leafy greens, strawberries) and which took an extra bit of patience and dedication (blueberries, squash).
This Edible Garden Tour was the fourth in the series; winter and spring sessions had focused on seed growing, indoor gardens and the move from growing shelf to greenhouse. The final 2011 session is coming up in September, check the Rossland REAL Food site for updated times and venues: www.rosslandfood.com.