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Hello Acadia! – January 2021

Whew! 2020 is finally in hindsight!  I know, I know – I can hear the groaning. I just couldn’t resist saying that. 

This past year has definitely been a time of growth. And I’m not just talking about our plants and kids. At the Garden, as in our daily life, we needed to acquire new ways of operating. We learned about sanitizing, social distancing, face masking, and man, we got good at video conferencing! A year ago, most of these terms were not even in our vocabulary. 

One of the ways many of us are coping with being cooped up at home is going back to some simple pleasures. As much as going to the theatre, shopping, hanging out with friends, etc. is missed, there is joy to be found in a lot of low or no cost homebound activities. Still, even these can offer some level of frustration and leave one looking for more satisfaction. Many years ago, I read a great book, that I believe is still relevant today. “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson is a parable about some mice and little people who live in a maze and are searching for the cheese. It’s living in a life of change.

As many gardeners and artists have experienced, often our greatest creativity emerges out of challenges, changes, and obstacles. When I plant something new, I research what amount of light, water, soil type, and space is required. I consider the existing colours and shapes nearby and how it will look all together. Other times, someone may have gifted me a plant or maybe I got an amazing deal but don’t have extra time in my schedule, so I just toss it in the ground and see how it goes. The funny thing is even when I’ve done all the right things, my well thought out plant may still wither from winter kill and amazingly, the tossed in surprise plant flourishes. Who knew? These varying results sharpen our interest and keeps us gardeners planting and experimenting.

I also enjoy card making. This usually involves long hours surfing Pinterest for ideas, looking at all my paper, stamps, embellishments, and thinking about the person who will receive this card. (Speedy card making is not my forte.) Rarely do my cards turn out the same as the example I’ve followed or how I envisioned them. Plus, I quite regularly make boo boos.  The cool thing is that, lots of times, my fixes end up really improving the results.

Then, there’s reading a good book. I will look through the library (currently, that would be the website) reading the summaries to find just what interests me. Recently, I joined a book club. Some of the monthly book choices are ones I would never have chosen on my own. Yet, there has always been something to enjoy in each book I read.

My point in these examples is that my expectations and reality seldom match up. However, through each experience, I have learned or observed something new. I’m using that growth mindset to see the positives in this upside-down time. We are going to grow stronger, brighter, and even more creative.  Look out 2021.

Wishing everyone wonderful wings to carry you through the year! 

Laurie Vanderwal
Vice President

Acadia Community Garden and Art Society
332 – 94th Avenue SE
Calgary, AB T2J 0E8
www.growingacadia.ca 
Email: info@growingacadia.ca
Phone: 403 800 8365

Acadia Community Garden & Art Society is committed to providing an environment free of discrimination and harassment, where all individuals are treated with respect and dignity, can contribute fully and have equal opportunities.  If you experience any discrimination or harassment, please contact us on our phone or media sites.


Hello Acadia! – December 2020

I would like to thank Lindsay Struthers for the following article. Lindsay is our Registrar, an ardent gardener, and an amazing volunteer. She and her family have done so much for our little community!

Why does everyone’s Christmas cactus flower but mine?

The Christmas cactus has a reputation of being challenging to get to re-bloom than an orchid, so how come everyone else has buds on their cactus but me?

Schlumbergera bridgesii blooming in November. Photo taken by Lindsay Struthers

The Schlumbergera bridgesii is commonly referred to as the Christmas cactus or holiday cactus because it blooms around American Thanksgiving through to Christmas.  Calling this plant, a cactus is misleading because even though it is called a cactus it doesn’t like the growing conditions of an average cactus.  It prefers humid conditions and does not like direct sunlight when grown outside, it also prefers more watering than most cacti.   So, if I give my cactus all those things it most desires, why the heck don’t I get beautiful blooms at Christmas? 

Well you, like me, might need to check how many hours of daylight your Christmas cactus is getting.  While it is tempting to put these plants under a plant light with the rest of your high maintenance plants this might be the worst thing you can do for it.  For a Christmas cactus to produce and set its blooms it needs 14 hours of undisturbed dark.  A plant measures the amount of time spent in darkness with a chemical reaction that happens under the “skin”. Phytochrome is a plant pigment that takes red wavelengths produced by daylight and does a rapid conversion from its dark form to its light form.  At night that process is reversed but the conversion from light form to dark form is done at a much slower rate.  Your plant knows what time it is by comparing the amounts of light and dark form phytochrome.  Because the conversion from light form to dark form occurs so quickly your 5-minute loo trip might be enough to convert more dark form phytochrome to light form phytochrome than your plant will be able to convert back before daylight comes in the morning.  Now here is the interesting part, that internal watch your plant wears not only does the time, but it tells your plant the date as well… at least what month it is.  As our seasons change from summer to winter the number of daylight hours decreases and those nighttime hours increase.  Your plant knows that because as it has more dark form phytochrome available on a regular basis it must be closer to winter and therefore Christmas and that means time to get blooming.  So, when summer is over, do yourself a favor and move that cactus to a less glamourous spot where it can have a good night’s sleep and you too will be rewarded with flowers at Christmas.

Laurie Vanderwal
Vice President

Acadia Community Garden and Art Society
332 – 94th Avenue SE
Calgary, AB T2J 0E8
www.growingacadia.ca 
Email: info@growingacadia.ca
Phone: 403 800 8365

Acadia Community Garden & Art Society is committed to providing an environment free of discrimination and harassment, where all individuals are treated with respect and dignity, can contribute fully and have equal opportunities.  If you experience any discrimination or harassment, please contact us on our phone or media sites.


Hello Acadia! – November 2020

The Acadia Community Garden & Art Society was created to provide neighbours with a place to practice their gardening, to find & celebrate art within the community, and to enjoy the beauty the Garden offers.

We provide affordable raised bed rentals as well as a wide variety of free u-pick options in our Community Food Forest as well as in our Community Vegetable Beds.

The Society regularly holds community events including festivals and picnics, while offering a connection to like-minded individuals in the greater area.

Currently in our 7th year of operation, the Acadia Community Garden & Art Society is dedicated to contributing to increasing the standard of living for the people in our neighbourhood.

Our mission is to create & nurture community within Acadia through gardening and the arts. Our vision is to create a welcoming space that fosters an appreciation of nature, art, and the interconnection of our community.

2020 PROJECTS

Despite recruiting the largest Board of Directors we’d ever enjoyed, the onset of COVID-19 meant we had to throw out our plans and draw new ones up on the fly.

We knocked it out of the park. ????

Here are a few things we accomplished this season:

  • We developed a COVID safety & awareness campaign including digital messaging, signage, a professionally produced video, and a sanitizing routine that allowed us to open as an Essential Service to our community.
  • Thanks to an SNI Grant, we installed multilingual signage throughout the Food Forest to better engage our diverse community.
  • We planted new trees and shrubs into our Food Forest, including a 3-variety grafted pear, goji berries, and 2 types of saskatoon bushes.
  • We installed a decorative shrub bed in the SW corner of our lot made from entirely donated materials.
  • We painted the long bench with phrases about our community and little houses with messages of hope.
  • We grew & donated 175 pounds of food to the Calgary Food Bank.

2021 PROJECTS

Over the next 3 months, our Board of Directors will get together to identify our 2021 project objectives. 

Here are a few ideas we’re considering for next season:

  • building and installing wheelchair accessible raised beds
  • building and installing a wheelchair accessible shed
  • building and installing wheelchair accessible pathways
  • building and installing no-kneel raised beds
  • starting Phase 2 of our Food Forest which could include removing turf, digging swales, and installing base layer plants
  • building and installing a more user-friendly compost system
  • sprucing up the existing artwork & adding clear coat to protect it from the elements
  • adding new art pieces, including a central sculpture
  • revamping our website
  • revitalizing the soil in all the garden beds
  • increasing the size of the pollinator garden
  • increasing the number of mason bees
  • working with community stakeholders on the creation and installation of a sensory pathway
  • working with schools to create a ‘Learn to Garden’ course

But of course, we’re open to suggestions. If you have questions or concerns about any of our upcoming ideas, we look forward to hearing from you.  

Should you wish to participate, why not volunteer?

Reach out to Volunteer@GrowingAcadia.ca and join a team of passionate, community-building people.

Laurie Vanderwal
Vice President

Acadia Community Garden and Art Society
332 – 94th Avenue SE
Calgary, AB T2J 0E8
www.growingacadia.ca 
Email: info@growingacadia.ca
Phone: 403 800 8365

Acadia Community Garden & Art Society is committed to providing an environment free of discrimination and harassment, where all individuals are treated with respect and dignity, can contribute fully and have equal opportunities.  If you experience any discrimination or harassment, please contact us on our phone or media sites.


Hello Acadia! – October 2020

At our Community Garden, we have three types of raised garden beds. First, we have raised beds that people can rent for the season. (Just a heads up – We were sold out by February this year, with quite a waitlist. If you’re interested in a bed for next season, look for our contact info at the end of this article.) We also have beds that we have planted for anyone to pick. We talked about those in last month’s issue. They are labeled “Community Bed – Yes!”.

Our third type of beds are dedicated for donations to the Food Bank. These were harvested by our many volunteers at the beginning of September. Psst – We love to welcome new volunteers, regardless of your interests, we will find something fun for you to do. You don’t need to rent a raised bed to get involved!

We were excited to share 175 pounds of produce to the Calgary Food Bank! Thank you to all you hard-working volunteers and board members! In case you’re wondering, we gave carrots, parsnips, beets, beet greens, zucchini, squash and swiss chard. And…157 pounds of potatoes!!!


Signed, sealed and delivered

We experimented with some different growing methods for growing our potatoes. Pictured is a straw tower. In addition to the raised beds, we also planted potatoes in some of our home gardens. The raised beds produced the biggest and largest quantity.

Thank you all our wonderful volunteers. These are just some of them!

Laurie Vanderwal
Vice President

Acadia Community Garden and Art Society
332 – 94th Avenue SE
Calgary, AB T2J 0E8
www.growingacadia.ca 
Email: info@growingacadia.ca
Phone: 403 800 8365

Acadia Community Garden & Art Society is committed to providing an environment free of discrimination and harassment, where all individuals are treated with respect and dignity, can contribute fully and have equal opportunities.  If you experience any discrimination or harassment, please contact us on our phone or media sites.


Hello Acadia! -September 2020

How Does Our Garden Grow?Perhaps you’re new to the concept of a Community Garden? The basic idea is that people collectively use a plot of land to garden, usually growing vegetables, herbs or fruits. At our Acadia Community Garden, we have raised beds, which people can rent and other spots that are available for harvesting by the public.

I’m sure you can imagine that our renters are none too happy when they have worked hard all season, only to come out and discover someone has plucked their reward away! To help make things clearer, there is signage, so ya’ll know what is up for grabs.

Hint: No Picking means – DO NOT TOUCH!! But…. Community Bed “YES!” = HELP YOURSELF!!!


Hello Acadia! – August 2020

Last month we talked about painting our benches and picnic tables.  I asked what kind of welcoming messages we could use on the benches. Let’s explore that a little bit more.

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Hello Acadia! – July 2020

As I walk around our neighborhood, I notice people have moved their chairs and patio sets to their front yards. Many of us are either not working or working from home. Some are retired, but group activities have halted. Kids are home all day. We are missing our work, social, recreational, and scholastic relationships. There are those amongst us who are lonely.

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Update Acadia Community Garden & Art Society June 16, 2020

Good morning friends,

Sunny skies and Cherry news. 

Aren’t we glad we cleared stage one of the Covid-19 Calgary city reopening schedule ahead of the timetable? We can expect some more return to normalcy in the next few days.

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Hello Acadia! – June 2020

Are you interested in adopting some cute little fluffy pets, but don’t have the space or time necessary? Perhaps you would like a little family project with a great learning opportunity? Or maybe you just want to help mother nature out a bit?

Introducing

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Update: Acadia Community Garden & Art Society April 2020

Morning Everyone,

Uplifting news has been rare in this season. Thankfully, Spring is officially and physically here and gardening season is upon us.

Hope you have had a chance to bask in the good weather these past few days?

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