Monday, April 11, 2011

Northern Gardening: Pinehouse

Seeing gardening spread is an exciting thing, especially in the Canadian north. The medical clinic at the northern community of Pinehouse has decided to do another vegetable garden this year, despite rumors of minimal success last year. The community is located northwest of La Ronge, in a similar climate zone (1b) in the northern boreal forest. It has a small grocery store, but of course, access to fresh fruits and vegetables is quite limited, as is the case for most northern communities. Consequently, the residents can get quite accustomed to diets lacking in healthy foods.
Pinehouse medical clinic:

Aerial view of Pinehouse. The large building on the right is the new rink:

A plot of private land is also said to be planned for community gardens and Grade 4 students will be growing vegetables this year as well. Harnessing the enthusiasm of kids is a great way to garden, with the benefit of having the kids experience the taste of fresh-grown vegetables. I know that one of our junior gardeners loves to eat onions straight from the garden, but never would touch them otherwise.
Boats on the shore of the lake - fishing is a big activity here:

There are already some purchased tomato plants ready to go in the clinic garden, soaking in light from the windowsill. I hope these tomatoes make it until they are ready to plant out in June, as they may need re-potting before then. I find that peppers and tomatoes have very large root systems and need relatively large pots.
Supplies - notice the bag of Fritos behind the peat pots on the left:

They also have some seeds for carrots, cucumbers, beans, and lettuce, as well as some onion sets. Those seeds should be planted outside in May, though the cucumbers could be started indoors over the next few weeks in order to get cucumbers earlier in the season. I will be anxious to see how this garden grows and inspires the community to grow their own food. Perhaps we will find some new crunchy fresh green snacks as alternatives to chips and colas!
The weather was great today, so people were outside walking and biking:

Houses along the shore in Pinehouse:

Hopefully I get to see some northern commmunity vegetable gardening in action this summer!


Grey.and.Vis.Mom said...

that's awesome! kids always like eating what they grow! and starting young is the only way to engrain it in them. I'm surprised how little gardening is done up here... At least save some money on vegetables in the summer, they're so expensive the rest of the year.

Kandace said...

Wow.....that looks like every northern community I've ever been to!!!
Here's hoping they have a great green bounty!!!!