It didn't get a grant from Scott's Canada as it had hoped, but that didn't stop the Magnetawan Horticultural Society from creating seven raised vegetable garden beds. Each year, Scott's announces 25 recipients for $2,500 grants for their respective community gardens and green space projects across Canada. Barbara Stewart, president of the Magnetawan Horticultural Society, applied for the grant on behalf of the gardening group, but it wasn't one of the recipients. However, council told Stewart in February that if its application to Scott's wasn't successful, the municipality would give the local society the $2,500 needed to build the garden beds. Council kept its word when Stewart heard the Magnetawan group didn't win. Stewart says the $2,500 helped buy the building materials for the garden beds. The society also put in $1,000. Several volunteers from the horticultural society built the beds with help from a local high school student collecting community volunteer hours and a member from the Magnetawan Agricultural Society. Stewart says the local group is appreciative of all the help it got. The beds are 10 by three feet and two by three feet in size and located on Albert Street across from the Station 1 Magnetawan Fire Department. The firefighters will keep the rain barrels full of water so society members can water the veggies as needed and tend to the growing plants. Several horticultural society members spent the Victoria Day holiday Monday at the site, planting the various vegetables, herbs and spices. Stewart says a number of tomato, pepper, eggplant, squash and cucumber plants were started indoors a few months ago and transplanted to the raised beds. Peas, beans, radish, carrots, spinach, kale, beets and cantaloupe were also started inside as seeds and were transferred to the beds on Victoria Day. Members also got to plant some onions, chives, rhubarb and horseradish donated to the group. Some space was left empty so more vegetables can be planted to produce ongoing yields of some plants. Sunflower seeds were planted outside the garden beds. The sunflower is the society's official floral emblem. Stewart says pansies and nasturtiums are also on the outside of the raised beds. The food that's grown in the garden will be delivered later this year to people who want them. Next year, the society hopes to build more garden beds and the goal is to rent these new beds in addition to the existing beds to people who want to garden but can't do it at their homes for whatever reason. Stewart says the garden beds are not protected from mischief or vandalism and hopes this won't be an issue. The seven raised beds are the first community garden for Magnetawan. Stewart helped create the horticultural society in 2017. It now has more than 70 members.
She plans to apply to Scott's Canada again next year under its community garden grants program.
Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget