Garden & Landscape

January 8th, 2012 by Pieter Vorster Categories: Our Community No Responses

The landscaped areas near our homes, barren in 2007 when we first moved in, are now alive with small birds entertaining us all year at the feeders. The wetland ponds and wild zone grasses have matured and regularly host deer, ducks and ducklings, herons, eagles, a muskrat family and all manner of small creatures, not to mention a chorus of frogs on spring and summer evenings. Out beyond the garden is the compost site, very alive and beautiful in its way too.

Approximately 330 lbs (150 kg) of kitchen waste is processed every week. That’s a whopping 8.6 tons (7.8 tonnes) diverted from the waste stream & turned into “garden gold” in 2010!  The addresses ‘501’ and ‘502’ are the giant worm bins down past the ponds that hold a phenomenal amount of rich compost. Every Monday morning the compost team gathers with the worms, rain, shine…and sometimes even in the snow, to help them process material from the rolling green compost bins stationed around the property. These composters are young and old and there’s a lot of laughter accompanying the sounds of chopping and shoveling. The children from the nearby Saltwater School come with their kitchen scraps to learn about the cycle of growth. They have a lot of fun learning the secret compost handshake and doing the real work of making compost along with the adults…and the worms of course.

Garden Gate

In dealing with the land, the community has developed sustainable guidelines for both owners and contractors working on the decorative landscaping. We water trees only as needed through installed drip irrigation and by hand and shrubs around the common garden beds are watered as needed through spray irrigation. Only newly seeded areas of grass are watered as a conservation principle, other areas left to nature’s browning in late summer. Garden beds are naturalized, using native species of groundcover as much as possible for low maintenance and cost. We do remove invasive plants and weeds periodically, but favor perennial groundcovers to keep weeds in check. Where possible, we’re moving toward xeriscaping, using plants that need no extra water. We use three electric or three push mowers exclusively on our remaining lawns, keeping the grass between 3 and 5 inches long. We use only natural amendments on these decorative spaces, mostly limiting that to fruit trees.

Garden ShedExtensive common vegetable gardens, a raspberry patch and significant orchard areas were planted and fenced soon after we moved onto the land. Natural amendments such as seaweed, leaves and bark mulch are gathered from local beaches and parks or purchased, creating a deep, rich loam from the original clay soils. The organic garden area has both private raised beds and common garden plots planted and cared for by teams. Much of the garden now has micro-irrigation, simplifying the care needed in the growing season. Like the whole of the Creekside Commons land, the gardens are a place of beauty and peace, a place to gather and work with neighbors to the music of the birds and bees.

In 2008 a prefab cedar and glass greenhouse was attached to the workshop off the parking lot, giving space for starting seedlings and wintering over tender plantings. In 2009 a beautiful shed was constructed inside our garden, providing both storage and shade. In 2010, the Creekside garden became a host site for several beehives, which thrive on all the organic materials that flower around the property.

Compost Crew