If you are interested in joining our community garden, we’d love to meet you. We have a dedicated core of veteran gardeners, but every year a small number of our 58 beds become available for new gardeners too. You can add your name to our reserve list at any time.
Each of our gardeners rents one of our 4 x 8-foot organic beds in which they can grow and tend their choice of edible vegetables and flowers. We are a chemical-free garden so the beds have only ever been fertilized with natural products and compost. We also have a few smaller, more accessible beds for folks with physical limitations.
Our garden is always open to visitors and we encourage everyone to come and see its many unique features. We have a large Saskatoon patch, fruit trees, and a Little Free Library. There are seating areas, an accessible pathway and bee and butterfly houses to attract pollinators. While the produce grown in the individual beds belongs to the gardener who planted and tended to it, we do have assigned tasting and sharing beds where our guests can try whatever is in season. And guests are always welcome to harvest some of our gargantuan rhubarb or snip some herbs from the herb spiral. The tarragon does tend to take off if it’s not clipped often. Some of our flowering plants in the garden were transplanted from Midfield Mobile Home Park before it closed, so we also have a living connection to our neighbourhood history. The Indigenous medicinal bed also connects us to our prairie roots.
As you can imagine, it takes a village to maintain our garden. Each of our gardeners makes a commitment of 6 hours of service when they register to rent their bed. Throughout the summer, we work in teams to keep the perimeter plantings and structures looking their best. We also have several community members who don’t rent beds, but who like to get their hands dirty. The time and enthusiasm that they contribute to the garden is invaluable to us. We call them Friends of the Garden. Anyone can join this group of volunteers simply by sending us an email.
Here’s what you need to know to become a community gardener:
Bed rental fees are $50 annually ($25 for a wheelchair accessible or standing tabletop bed) plus a six-hour service commitment to the garden per season.
Gardeners must have a valid WHM community membership (Membership details can be found here).
There is no charge to put your name on our waitlist for the year ahead but we do request a $20 deposit to reserve a bed. Available beds will be offered to those on the waitlist at the beginning of February and any remaining will be offered to the public until our March 31 rental deadline.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of our gardeners have personalized signs for their beds…here’s a peek at just a few!
WHAT IS PROVIDED TO YOU:
- Garden beds are 4’ X 8’ cedar and rent for $50 per season. We also have a few wheelchair and special access beds that are 4’ X 4’ and rent for $25. The garden is home to 58 beds in all.
- This is an organic garden. The soil is provided and soil amendments are done every third year.
- We have a wonderful composting system which provides enough compost for all the gardeners.
- We have a secure shed with all the gardening tools, hoses and supplies you’ll need, as well as an irrigation system throughout the garden that provides easy access to the water supply.
- There is a communal tasting bed, a medicinal bed, an herb spiral and an array of fruit-bearing trees and shrubs that are available to all.
- Our donation bed(s) give us the opportunity to grow food for the Veterans’ Food Bank and feel pride for our contribution to this important local need.
- We have our own Little Free Library located in the garden supplied with adult and children’s books as well as garden reference material. We also have a well-stocked reference library in the shed.
- We provide educational material through the Community newsletters and monthly member emails.
- We host a variety of workshops and/or events to gardeners to provide further education and an opportunity to socialize with each other. We have a dedicated web page on the Community Association website www.winstonheights.ca and a public group on Facebook with regular updates and valuable resource information.
- The Garden Committee provides regular communications to keep you updated on all matters and is always available for questions or concerns. New committee members are always welcome and needed.
WHAT IS EXPECTED OF YOU:
- Gardeners must have a valid WHM community membership (Membership details can be found here).
- You will be responsible for the care of your own bed.
- There is a minimum 6-hour support commitment per bed throughout the season for the maintenance of communal areas and general operations of the Garden. The Participation Program provides the framework for that support. Exceptions may apply at the Committee’s discretion.
- There will be a mandatory orientation for new members. This takes place in the garden and will be offered twice either in April or May. The orientation will inform you of everything you need to know …watering system, composting, etc. Existing members are also welcome to attend.
- Members in good standing have the option to automatically renew their beds for the following season. Failure to meet agreed commitments will result in no automatic renewal, with placement on the waitlist at the Committee’s discretion.
- There is an Annual Garden Meeting (AGM) prior to the season and a Fall Wind-up meeting at which we conduct important, necessary and fun business with the group. Gardeners are expected and encouraged to attend both meetings if at all possible.
Community Garden History & Overview
A ‘work of heart’, this Community Garden offers a place for people to work and play together while growing healthy, organic food. Its inclusive vision welcomes visitors from the immediate community as well as others city-wide. It has a well-planned infrastructure with 58 garden beds, an array of fruit-bearing trees, a Saskatoon berry patch, an Herb Spiral, and a Little Free Library. There are two donation beds for the Veterans’ Food Bank as well as several other programs, events and workshops. Operations are governed by the Garden Committee, however, the organizational structure supports input and participation from all gardeners.
- 2011–2013 Research, project planning, fundraising
- 2014 Phase 1 build and first year of operation
- 2015 Phase 2 build and ongoing operations
- 2016 – present Fully operational
- Design by Sue Fulkerth, landscape designer, a previous community resident
- Infrastructure (pathways, bed placement, berms, tree planting) by Artemis Landscaping
- Cedar beds, pergola, arches, shed built by volunteers who also planted perimeter shrubs and flowers
- Irrigation system with 7 hose bibs throughout garden site provided and installed by the City of Calgary
- Total project value $170,000
- $90,000 raised through grants; $45,000 donated services and materials
- $35,000 raised within the Community through personal and corporate donations, a contribution from the Community Association and committee fund-raising initiatives
- 3500 volunteer hours in planning, research, design, budgeting, grant applications, fund-raising
- 1200 volunteer hours over two building phases spanning two years
- Bed rentals at full capacity since garden opened…there is an active waitlist
49 rented (4 X 8): $50 2 donation beds
2 tabletop (4 X 4): $25 1 communal tasting bed
3 wheelchair-accessible: $25 1 communal medicinal bed
- Little Free Library, herb spiral, fruit trees, rhubarb plants, Saskatoon patch, and tasting bed available to gardeners as well as all community residents
- Effective 3-bin compost system produces enough compost for all members
- Minimum 400 hours of volunteer time required over season to maintain Garden and its operations
- Gardeners commit to a minimum 6 hours of time during the season to support the garden
- Maintenance program uses a team model which allows gardeners to work together on a weekly basis
- Pre-Season Clean-Up, Spring Fling, Family Summer Social, Fall Wind-up; Workshops
- Veterans’ Food Bank Donation Beds
- Communal Tasting Bed
- Village Brewery Hops (Village Gardener Beer)
- Indigenous Medicinal Bed
- Saskatoon Patch
- Communal Herb Spiral
- Little Free Library
- Butterfly Puddles
- Solitary Bee House
We welcome everyone’s opinion – don’t miss our stunning suggestion box!
Winston Heights-Mountview Community Garden Operations Policies
Mission: To feed our bodies and our souls through gardening.
Vision: In our vision, our garden is a beautiful landmark and accessible meeting place where we can grow healthy food in a cooperative learning environment.
Values: We are dedicated to operating our community garden in an atmosphere that is friendly, respectful, inclusive and cooperative. We are mindful of the trust placed in us by the community and promise to be good stewards of the land and resources placed in our care.
- The Winston Heights-Mountview (WHM) Community Garden (‘the Garden’) is governed by the WHM Garden Committee (‘the Committee’). The Committee is comprised of volunteers and is responsible for garden oversight, budgeting, member and volunteer coordination, garden policies, special programs, membership records and addressing non-compliance issues. Outside of the growing season (November through May) the Committee will meet bi-monthly in order to complete projects, review memberships, plan upcoming events and explore improvements for the coming year.
- The Garden is located on land leased by WHMCA from the City of Calgary. While Garden Members are entitled to garden at this site, other users are permitted to walk through and enjoy the space. All City of Calgary Parks by-laws are applicable.
Membership Eligibility & Fees
- To be eligible to participate as a member gardener in the Garden, you must be a member of the WHM Community Association. Members in good standing (meaning they have abided by the Rental Agreement and Policies) will have the option of renewing their membership for the same garden bed the following season and must register and pay a $20 deposit for that bed during the renewal period, after which beds will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Each household is eligible for one garden bed per growing season. If there are unrented beds available after the Annual Garden Meeting in the spring, they may be offered as a second rental for one season to existing garden members.
- A wait list for open beds will be kept by the Committee. If a renter is not returning, that bed will be made available to the wait list on a first-come, first-served basis.
- The rental fee per growing season/year is $50 dollars for a 4’ X 8’ bed; $25 for the 4’ X 4’ tabletop and wheelchair beds. This will be reviewed annually and may be adjusted.
- Unpaid balances are collected at the Garden Annual Growers’ Meeting (AGM) or can be paid prior to the AGM by cheque or cash dropped at the hall or by email transfer to email@example.com . (Please contact us for security questions.) Attendance at this meeting or one of two orientation sessions is required in order to obtain a garden bed assignment and sign your membership agreement.
- Deadline for cancellation and refund of bed rental is April 30. Rental fee for bed cancellation after that date will be forfeited.
Garden Members’ Rights
- To plant and harvest a rented bed alone or with family members/friends according to the Garden Policies
- To receive communications from the Committee regarding garden news, events, etc.
- To have full access to water, shared tools, tool shed and composting bins
- To have unlimited access to the garden
- To harvest from fruit-bearing trees and shrubs
- To freely communicate with the Committee on any matter (firstname.lastname@example.org) and expect a response in a timely fashion
- To participate in garden social and workshop events
- To receive verbal and/or written notification for non-compliance with policies
Garden Members’ Obligations
- To abide by the Operations Policies of the Garden
- To attend the Garden AGM and/or one orientation session and pay rental fees due at that time
- To support Garden maintenance and/or Operations for a minimum of 6 hours per season as part of an assigned team
- To make every effort to participate in cooperative work events such as communal and/or building projects or the Spring and Fall Clean-ups…in order to maximize regular weekly team maintenance, participation in these projects does not qualify as part of the 6 hour commitment
- To plant by June 15, clear out by October 31 and remove perennials if not renewing
- To strictly adhere to organic gardening principles and only use approved list of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or insecticides and to ensure that soil and compost brought into the garden is organic
- To plant only non-invasive species (as per list provided) and to restrict plant height and support structures to 4 feet from top of soil to prevent shading of neighbouring bed
- To respect other members’ rights and not engage in actions that are detrimental to other members or visitors
- To direct any concerns regarding non-compliance issues by other gardeners, vandalism, or any matter that affects the Garden or its Members to the Committee by email to (email@example.com)
- Every member will act as a ‘Garden Ambassador’ by greeting & welcoming visitors, providing them with appropriate contact information, answering their questions and by promoting the Garden’s Mission, Vision, & Values.
Individual Bed Maintenance
- Items of a permanent nature are not permitted on the members’ garden beds; e.g. nails, screws, wood staples or permanent decorations.
- Each member must ensure their garden is weeded and watered regularly; members must not rely on fellow gardeners to do this.
- Support structures must be stable in all weather conditions.
- Composting and mulching guidelines must be followed, as provided by the Garden Committee.
- Garden bed maintenance will be monitored during the season by select members of the Garden Committee. If it is noted that a bed has been neglected (i.e. overgrown weeds, stressed plants, plants going to seed), the Garden Committee will notify the member. If there is no response from the member:
- After three (3) days, the WHM Garden Committee will harvest any abandoned produce or plants ready to go to seed.
- After seven (7) days, the WHM Garden Committee will revoke that member’s garden bed rental and take over responsibility of the bed.
- Members will deal immediately with insect infestations using manual and organic removal to prevent any spreading to other gardens.
- Hoses are provided for watering. Members may not leave their beds unattended while watering and must turn off water when finished. A watering tutorial is available on our Facebook page.
- During watering restrictions, City of Calgary water restriction bylaws must be followed.
- All watering equipment is to be properly stored in shed when not in use.
- Water reservoirs must be re-filled when down to indicated levels.
- Members will conserve water where possible.
- Garden beds must be maintained throughout the growing season:
- During a member’s short-term absence (i.e. illness, vacation, work), that member must ensure their garden is maintained. There are flags in the shed for this purpose:
- One (1) flag indicates request to water.
- Two (2) flags indicates request to water and harvest, if necessary.
- During a member’s long-term absence (more than two (2) weeks), that member must ensure they have designated someone (within or outside the community) to maintain their garden.
General Policies & Information
- Each garden bed is clearly numbered by the Committee.
- Members may not trade or sub-let their garden and may not register ‘in name only’ while another person actually plants and maintains the garden bed.
- Captains/Team Leads are responsible for recording hours of their team members.
- Composting bins are available but the correct process must be followed as indicated on bins and signage.
- Disposal of garbage and recycling must be done in on-site containers.
- Lost & Found bin (green) can be found on the shed counter.
- First-aid kit can be found hanging to the left of the shed counter.
- Walkways and areas around the garden beds must be kept tidy so everyone can move around easily. No personal items are to be left in the garden.
- Shared tools and equipment provided by the Committee are to be cleaned after each use and stored in the shed. No tools, soil or compost are to be removed from the garden site.
- The last member to leave the garden, regardless of time of day, is responsible for locking the shed.
- Members are to only pick produce or flowers from their own garden bed or from the communal beds, unless invited to do so by fellow gardeners. Invitations may be posted on our Facebook page.
- Members will ensure that they take responsibility for their children and/or friends or relatives accompanying them to the garden and ensure that children are always supervised.
- Members will be respectful of the neighbours living near the garden by parking vehicles in the WHMCA parking lot and keeping noise levels to a minimum.
- The Garden is an on-leash area governed by the City of Calgary by-laws. A leash cannot exceed two (2) metres in length and dogs cannot be left unattended and tethered in a public place. Well-behaved, socialized dogs are welcome in the garden.
- Members are encouraged to hand out Garden business cards to interested visitors (on shed counter).
We are proud to work together in keeping our ‘work of heart’ productive and beautiful. We love to share this realized vision with visitors and welcome all to enjoy this beautiful space and its bounty.