Victory Garden expresses hope for the future

Farm couple plants their garden as a reminder that someday they will again enjoy social and workplace activities

Surviving the COVID-19 pandemic will be a victory for many Canadians. The co-operation of all levels of society and the collaboration of individuals has been remarkable.

When my partner and I moved back to the farm in Saskatchewan in early April, we were still in the midst of numbers, protocols, and a collective angst regarding our daily lives. I had read about Victory Gardens in a magazine (Canada’s Local Gardener, April 2020), and decided it was time to plant my own Victory Garden at the farm, not as a memory of a difficult time, but as a reminder that someday we will all enjoy social and workplace activities again.

A piece of land (just a few acres) across the road from the farm had not been yielding very much whenever we planted crop there. A row of trees that are about 70 years old take up a lot of the moisture, while a slough and a hollowed-out area make it nearly impossible to get a crop to grow. Also, our favourite weed, narrow-leaf hawksbeard, invaded last year.

We decided to plant a grass/alfalfa mix and about 30 saskatoon trees as an homage to essential services in our area, and also to a woman in town, named Janet, who brought us a loaf of fresh bread every Sunday throughout the pandemic. Thank you, Janet. Your homemade bread was like “manna from heaven.”

Sourcing the saskatoon seedlings was not easy. Some nurseries had cancelled their tree orders thinking they might not be open in the spring. We were finally able to buy the seedlings online and they arrived the next week via Canada Post.

They are lovely, about knee-high with an established root system and a few leaves opening up. When I picked up the parcel of seedlings, it was as if I had ordered new baby chicks. I was so excited to see their new life and smell their earthy aroma.

My partner, Bob, helped me stake out the two rows with room enough to cultivate around the trees and between the rows. We dug 30 holes big enough to hold the roots, covered the seedlings with soil, and tamped them down.

Bob Horne holds a garden stake. | Beverly Biggeman photo

Each tree was watered and fertilized. I am always conscious of the damage the deer have done to almost all of my trees in the yard, so I surrounded the young trees with netting and garden stakes.

The day after planting, I watered them again. They looked a bit bedraggled when I first planted them, but they seemed to take on new life the next day, and were still glad of another drink. The day had turned hot, perfect weather for their new life on our farm to begin.

The garden includes 30 saskatoon trees. | Beverly Biggeman photo

A Victory Garden, of whatever sort, is just the thing to help you spend time in the outdoors, or on the balcony, and gaze upon new life, and the promise of a bountiful harvest in the next few months and years.

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