Guest post by Sarah Murley, Green Team Co-Leader.
Our church has always had congregants who love gardening and planting at home, and two years ago we took the plunge to start gardening at church.
Our vision for Wellspring is to have an abundant food and native plants garden that invites and welcomes our neighbours onto our grounds. We want to make our space inviting and fulfilling for human beings, as well as butterflies, birds and wildlife.
Growing food will feed human stomachs, and growing native plants will feed pollinators and encourage biodiversity within North York. Our property also houses a beehive, which we have enjoyed the past 2 years. Thanks to our TD Friends of the Environment Grant, we were able to expand our existing garden with native plants, and give the bees more to feast on.
With Faith & the Common Good’s (FCG) partnership and our TD FEF grant, we were able to expand our garden from 5-gallon buckets to raised beds!
Since food has always been an important part of the Wellspring congregation, we started with vegetables. We planted five different types of tomatoes as tomatoes are a quick way of getting people on board with a garden!
The tomatoes we planted were: Cherokee Purple (see image on left), Brookpact, Paul Robeson, Big Rainbow and Black Pineapple.
We also planted: Slicer cucumbers, Acorn squash, Zucchini, Parsley, Basil, Swiss chard, Sweet peppers, Hot peppers, Tobacco, Raspberries (see images below).
As the summer progressed and our church met in-person again in August, we were able to give lots of vegetables away to members of our community as they ripened. The basil and zucchini were by far the most popular gifts we gave this summer!
We will harvest the squash and tobacco as they ripen this month. The tobacco we intend to dry and give to a First Nations organization we have ties with, so they can use it for ceremonies.
Our plans for next summer include expanding our native plants area, starting a rain collection system and expanding our raised garden bed area to include vertical gardening and more soil square footage.
As the garden grows we will be able to include more volunteer gardeners in our work and it has grown into a new arm of Wellspring Worship Centre’s Eco Ministry. As our food harvesting grows, we will be able to supply our neighbours as well as congregants with fresh, locally grown vegetables.
Images: Squash, Tobacco, Hot peppers, Sunflowers.