Gardens Grow With a Little Help From Friends

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House of Friendship Gardeners Get Ready for the 2015 Growing Season

In a sunny room at Charles Village, members of the Supportive Housing garden team gather amongst seed packets and pots of soil. They are getting their hands dirty starting seedlings and going over last year’s efforts in the gardens that have sprouted up around the Supportive Housing buildings: Eby Village, Charles Village and Cramer House, as well as at the Charles Street Men’s Hostel.

“I learned a lot about myself last year in the garden,” says one resident. “I’m excited to be a part of it again.”

Scenes like this are common for the garden team, as they work together to plan, plant, nurture and harvest garden beds and perennial flowers throughout the season.

Would you like to help out this season?

Today marks the beginning of the garden season at the House of Friendship and on our blog and social media! Our Supportive Housing programs, Community Centres and the Emergency Food Hamper Program need your help and your green thumbs now that we have cast off the cold and the ice of winter and are looking ahead to the growing season. Each day this week we will share a little bit about our past efforts and hopes for the coming season.

Why is it important to support these creative gardening efforts?

Gardens Grow Great Communities

House of Friendship Has Great Community Gardens

Deb is a resident of Eby Village.  Her experience in the garden last year was a great social experience, as well as a great opportunity to learn some new things.  She shared with us that:

“Working in the garden was hard sometimes but made me feel good. My favourite part about it all was learning about kale: growing it, learning new recipes and cooking it up. I learned how to make kale chips and also ‘green eggs and ham’ for my breakfast. I also loved planting the different flowers. I learned about a few new vegetables and hope to learn more this year too.”

Humour and Community are just one part of House of Friendship's Garden Efforts

“I think my favourite day in the garden was during a tomato harvest. Tomatoes were hard for us to grow well last year with the weather, so hopefully we can try again this year. But I remember Deb K. sticking her face in the tomato plant and surprising us all- I laughed so hard. There is lots of laughing in the garden!”

Hello Spring time!

Rudbekia Seeds Starting to Sprout

Even while the snow was melting, residents and volunteers were busy in sunny community rooms preparing for the spring and planning, planting and dreaming of the upcoming gardening season.

At Food Hampers, little pots of dirt line exterior windows, working to sprout.  Plans have been drawn up and volunteers are being rallied, but more are needed!

These gardens are an important part of the lives of the residents of our supportive housing programs and a key aspect of the assistance we aim to provide to the countless households who turn to us for help.

The good news is that you can be a part of it!

How you can get involved

Supportive Housing would appreciate extra watering cans, work gloves, stakes, twine, mulch, gardening ‘foam’ mats (to assist with kneeling in the garden), and is always happy to have extra potting or top soil.

We are also seeking volunteer support, in many different forms: enthusiastic gardeners willing to spend time in the gardens working alongside residents, skilled green thumbs who could share a workshop or an information session, or even driving to the Region landfill to pick up some compost and help us load it onto the garden beds. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just a community minded individual with a few extra hours to spare, we could use your support!

Community Gardens As a participant from our community gardens, Andrea, recently shared: “We absolutely enjoyed the community garden, the fresh food and being able to do it ourselves.” They would welcome assistance with tomato cages, a fan rake, a shovel, a hose caddy on wheels, mulch, chicken wire, perennials, fruit bushes, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs like basil or dill.

The Emergency Food Hamper Program would benefit from shovels, watering cans, clippers, twine and a garden fork.  We could also make use of  raspberry canes, wildflowers, herbs like mint, oregano, basil, lemon balm, dill, parsley and thyme.  All of these things will help us get some demonstration projects off the ground.  Stay tuned for more details about how these will help the many families that turn to us for help.

“I think that if we come together as a community, we can do good things. Especially right now with all this Ion construction, we all need to get outside together and walk around! I think that if people have gardening tricks that they could share with us, that would be awesome. Then we could celebrate with the neighbourhood with a big garden party. Celebrate the garden and all the growing things.” Deb W, Eby Village resident

How to get in touch

If you have gardening expertise to share (or an interest in getting some) or have something to donate, please contact Matt at 519-570-3976 or  mattc@houseoffriendship.org. You can also send us a tweet @HOF_housing

Not sure how you would like to help, or interested in learning more? Stay tuned to this space each day this week as we shed some sunlight on different ways you can make a difference and make this region a little greener and more inclusive!

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3 Responses to “Gardens Grow With a Little Help From Friends”

  1. Gardens Grow Healthy Food! | Hofemergencyfoodassistance's Blog Says:

    […] Extending the hand of friendship to our neighbours in need since 1939 « Gardens Grow With a Little Help From Friends […]

  2. guelphstreetgarden Says:

    Reblogged this on Guelph Street Garden and commented:
    This is a great series of blogs about community gardens from the House of Friendship Emergency Food Hamper Assistance program. Every community garden can learn something about how these dedicated gardeners work together!

  3. A Green Community Is Growing At Supportive Housing | Hofemergencyfoodassistance's Blog Says:

    […] This summer Chloe and Khadija had the opportunity to visit the gardens of the House of Friendship’s Supportive Housing Programs. You may remember in the spring we shared a lot about gardens at House of Friendship. […]

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