Thursday, August 02, 2007

Where are the Labrador Gardeners?

I was fascinated to read a letter from a woman in Labrador City, Newfoundland in my monthly issue of "Canadian Gardening". She gardens in a zone 0b climate (yes, "ZERO b"). They have an extremely short growing season and she complains about being at the mercy of the local Wal*mart for plants. She states that "gardening is one of this community's fastest-growing hobbies" and requests that the magazine include a transCanada correspondant for their particular challenges. [The magazine has a regular columns from garden writers in four areas: Ontario, Prairies, British Columbia, Atlantic.] Well, Ms. Simmons from Labrador City, you are a garden superhero! What the world needs is more northern gardening advocacy!

I am now fascinated with this little mining town near the border with Quebec. They even have a Community Beautification and Enhancement Committee and the town has a simple website to instruct community members on lawn care, suitable trees and shrubs and greenhouse growing. They didn't include any list of hardy perennials for their area, which I would have been really interested to see. Community gardens and composting are encouraged by the province of Newfoundland, which would also be a really smart move in Saskatchewan's northern towns. For goodness sakes, gardening would provide some useful physical activity and healthy food to combat the diabetes and obesity that is devastating the local aboriginal population. Maybe the local deepfried chicken joint could sponsor a nice new greenhouse (it would be non-smoking, of course)!

Hurrah to the Newfoundland and Labrador gardeners! May your gardens flourish atop the permafrost.


the Red Scot said...

Really interesting stuff!

Anonymous said...

We live in St. Lewis, Labrador, a small community on the southeast coast where we have been gardening for over 30 years now. We grow potatoes, cabbage, carrot, turnip, lettuces, spinach, kale, onion, peas, beets, chard, radish, strawberries, red and black currants, summer savory, dill, sage, cilantro, parsley. We have some gardens "on the ground" but we use mostly old fish tote boxes discarded by the fish plant, we put those on raised platforms so we don't have to bend too much to weed and plant. There are several gardeners in St. Lewis and we make use of peat and seaweed along with kitchen scraps for our gardens. I don't keep flowers but my friends do and they have a wonderful garden.
Eva Luther

Jan Morrison said...

I'm pretty new to Labrador but my husband's family is from here. One of the biggest obstacles (besides the short season) is the flies. Pretty brutal out there! I'm helping to plant a garden at the treatment centre where I work in the Lake Melville area (central Lab near Happy Valley/Goose Bay). My husband's aunt is a big time gardener and does quite well. There are a couple of very small farms here and a fledgling market. I'm used to gardening in Nova Scotia and not sure I even want to get into it here - our property would be out of the question, being covered in huge trees. Ah well. Good to find you!