This was the third year of our community back alley garden. We grew 50 buckets of vegetables in our co-op’s alley. It is a true community garden in that the community is invited to eat the harvest. We grew tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, peppers and eggplant.
This year we expanded from a small working group of three to twelve co-op members helping to create and maintain this alley food source. We expanded our crop this year by 20 buckets and increased the size of most buckets to improve crop yield. We also improved our signage, making a large multi-lingual sign that makes clear that the vegetables are for everyone to eat.
Unfortunately, this year our yields were considerable lower than the last two years. This is due to to two main problems: 1. We chose poor potting soil this year, which clumped, became like cement and made poor yields. Next year we will go back with our original company. 2. The weather did not get warm enough until the second week of July. As a result, the hot-loving plants had a poor start. Next year, we will not put out the seedlings until it is consistently over 10 C at night. Another problem was that we chose a round cucumber variety which was not easily recognized by people. Next year, we will only choose easily recognized vegetables.
On the plus side, we got lots of feed back from neighbours about our crops and plenty of ideas for next year. Clearly our neighbours, all of whom live in multi-family dwellings with no yard, keep an eye on the crops and look forward to our tomato bounty!