Ingredients:

2,000 linear feet 4″ x4″ white cedar

Nuts & bolts

Pine tar & raw linseed oil [make sure they’re creosote-free!]

Soil mix

Time

Pallet shelves

Partner agencies to bring garden program participants

Secret ingredient: Fabulous Volunteers!

Directions:

1. Seek out a Mennonite sawmill for a good deal on 4″ x 4″  local white cedar [our last pieces were actually delivered by horse and cart!].

2. Cut the cedar into 4 foot lengths [we used a chainsaw], then coat the insides and butt ends with pine tar that has been mixed with raw linseed oil [an ancient method of waterproofing].

3. Get a group of talented and committed volunteers together to grade the land and to drill and bolt together the cedar into 4′ by 4′ beds.

4. Arrange pallet shelves [nifty metal warehouse racks we scored from the ReStore] and place empty beds on them [we wanted to ensure no contact between the beds and the ground].

5. Fill the beds with a mix of soil, compost, and sand.

6. Plant starters of corn, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, squash, onions, leeks, beans, arugula, radicchio, kale, Swiss chard, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, ground cherries, zucchini, cucumber, basil, thyme, dill, rosemary, oregano, sage, chives, parsley, fennel (herb and bulb); and plant seeds of romaine lettuce, mizuna, mesclun mix, beets, carrots, radishes, onion sets, sprouted potatoes, celery root.

7. Add water.

8. Weed regularly with help from program participants, student volunteers, and garden-loving community members.

9. A few weeks later… bring in a group of enthusiastic participants from Canadian Mental Health Association to thin cabbages, arugula, dill and kale to prepare a fresh, healthy, organic, and local vinaigrette-based coleslaw. Serve alongside grilled pork chops and applesauce made by the group from scratch.  Our first “Shovel to Spoon” session was a huge success, a real party!

10. Express sincere gratitude to the folks who funded the community garden construction: Massive thanks to The Rotary Club of Stratford Charitable Foundation for supporting this important venue for our programs!