spring 2021 pilot garden survey results

We want to thank everyone who responded to our survey on plans for this year’s Pilot Garden Layout. The survey was posted from February 16 to March 3, 2021. We received a total of 102 unique visits to our Blue Quill Community Garden Project webpage during this period, and 15 respondents completed the survey. Eighty percent of respondents indicated that they did not have any concerns with the location or size of the pilot garden. The graph below shows the distribution of respondents by neighbourhood.

Here is a response to all the comments and questions we received:

1. We need more than 15 containers – there are a lot of people who are interested!

We are so delighted by the interest we have received in response to our community garden plans. This spring’s temporary pilot garden is aimed at providing residents continued access to gardening space while we begin construction on a permanent garden.

We are working with limited funds, but we are looking into options to provide a few more temporary garden plots this year.  

2. Is this considered the same garden that was setup last year?

Last year’s temporary gardens in Skyrattler Park and Blue Quill were part of the City of Edmonton Pop Up Garden program in response to the COVID crisis. The Blue Quill Community League hosted and organized both sites – but the City of Edmonton picked up all the costs.

It is unclear whether the City will continue their Pop Up Garden program this summer. If they do, the League definitely will apply for a temporary garden site at Skyrattler Park.  (That means, potentially more garden spaces being available to residents this year.)

3. Can we install something in Skyrattler, or divide the plots between Skyrattler and Blue Quill?

Locating this year’s pilot garden adjacent to the Blue Quill Community League allows us to access the hall’s water supply. That means, we can operate the temporary pilot garden with available funds, and within budgeted costs, while we continue our work to construct a permanent garden.

As noted above, if the City of Edmonton offers a Pop Up Garden program this summer, and provides water hauling services as part of that program, we will apply for a temporary garden site in Skyrattler.

4. Can you install plastic garden containers (like the planters used at Skyrattler Park last year) rather than felt garden bags?

We received a lot of positive feedback about the plastic garden containers (with water reservoirs) that were used at the Skyrattler Pop Up garden last year!

While these plastic containers have many positive attributes, these containers are expensive given that we only plan to use the felt garden bags for one growing season. Our goal is to begin permanent garden construction in September 2021 and these garden bags will be replaced by wood raised garden beds for next year’s growing season.

Also, the League does not have available storage space for the plastic garden containers (see our March 2021 Blue Grass Rattler and website posting: We need more Storage Space!)

5. Will the Pilot Garden be installed on a level surface?

Yes. We will be installing this year’s temporary garden site at Blue Quill where the land is level. Compared to last year’s Pop Up garden site, it will be located slightly closer to the parking lot and more west of the Community League Hall.

6. Can you place one water tank on each side of the garden for easier access by all gardeners?

Yes, we will look into this option.

7. Can you put a fence around the garden?

Fencing around garden plots is a feature that we are working towards and it is included in our permanent garden plans. We do not yet have the funding in place, or the necessary building permits, to install a fence this spring.

8. What measures are being taken to prevent garden theft?

Our efforts to deter theft of produce from garden plots will be aimed at continuing to improve public awareness through various means. We will be increasing the number and visibility of signs throughout the garden, and will distribute garden plot identifiers for our gardeners to individualize their plots so that people understand the produce belongs to someone and is not for public consumption.

Permanent construction will help. With each year, we anticipate that more residents will get involved in the garden and frequent the site, reducing the incidence of garden theft.