CAN GROW Community Gardens
Please do your part to keep our community safe, and to keep our gardens open during this time. We appreciate each person and their contribution to keeping our gardeners, staff and volunteers safe!
As we are now entering into Phase 2 (starting on May 14) of COVID-19 recommendations in the province, we have made the decision to adjust the community garden protocols as follows:
1. Sheds and shared tools are now open and available! Please wash your hands or disinfect before and after use!
2. Social distancing is still absolutely mandatory, which means 2 meters between you and others.
3. Do not visit the gardens in groups larger than 2, and only with people who are within your bubble.
4. If you or someone in your house are exhibiting signs of sickness, or have traveled outside of Canada in the past 14 days, do NOT visit the gardens.
5. You must bring soap and/ or hand sanitizer with you. Wash your hands before and after using shared tools and water system.
Respect other gardeners while sharing the space. This is a strange time, and not everyone will be as comfortable with public/shared spaces as you may be.
Be friendly, and be patient as we all navigate Phase 2 at different comfort levels.
If you're unwell and unable to make it to the gardens, please contact us. Do your part to protect yourself & the community.
Reach out to Jessica, our community garden manager, if you have any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
What are Community Gardens?
Community gardens help us connect to nature, create food security, meet new people, and get involved with growing our own food.
We hope to inspire the community with the potential of ‘urban farming’, as well as the importance of locally grown food for staying healthy and supporting sustainability.
Along with the edible benefits, we foster a nurturing and open community space. Our gardens are free of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, focused entirely on organic gardening practices.
We encourage our members to donate a portion of their abundant harvest to those in need through local community organizations.
Curious? Why not visit our gardens to see what is growing this season? You’ll find a variety of veggies and herbs as well as companion flowers.
Squamish CAN Grow manages 2 community gardens in Squamish:
Downtown & Junior Gardens at Cleveland Ave. & Main St.
Garibaldi Gardens at the corner of Hwy 99 & Mamquam Rd
Garden plots are adopted by gardeners on an annual basis, with renewal each new year. The yearly fees help cover the costs of managing the gardens, including administration, maintenance, and free educational workshops held throughout the year.
A New Community Garden for Squamish:
The local non-profit Squamish CAN (Climate Action Network) built the main CAN Grow Community Garden downtown in the spring of 2012, followed by the jr. garden in 2014. We’ve had over 75+ volunteers and have been able to provide space for hundreds of gardeners to grow vegetables and herbs over the eight years. We are thankful for the ongoing support from August Jack to lease the two plots of land to us on a year-to-year basis and to our many funders and supporters over the years to build and sustain the operations. We knew that it wasn’t going to be forever home and we have been looking for a new one over the past two years. Thanks to Barb Hinde, our previous Community Garden Manager, she was able to help secure a five-year lease with the District of Squamish. The new space will be on the north side of the tennis courts downtown Squamish and will have over 100 garden beds.
1, Where is the new community garden space and how big is this space?
The new community garden will be located downtown at 1170 Bailey St, right beside the tennis courts. The space is 9000 sqft and will house around 130 garden plots - so more than our current two downtown plots have at the moment.
2, When will the new community garden be operational?
The goal is to invite our gardeners to plant garlic this fall and grow as per usual spring 2021. While we hope to achieve our goal, the phases of building this project is pending funding. We have been applying for grants and will be launching a fundraising campaign, but we recognize that it is a difficult time for fundraising due to Covid-19. We will build as soon as we have the funds to do so.
3, Is the Garibaldi garden still operational? Are there any other community gardens Squamish CAN operates, and are they still operational at this time?
The current Squamish CAN Grow Gardens are still operational as well as the Garibaldi Garden on Mamquam road. We have seen more interest than ever in growing food locally! In fact, because of this increased interest, we have launched a new program called Let’s Grow Food, in efforts to support and inspire residents to grow their own food, to save seeds, and to celebrate the harvest together but apart.
3, Who has supported this garden, in terms of funding, etc.
To date, we have received support from the District of Squamish, and Vancouver Coastal Health. Current pending grants include a special one time only grant with Vancouver Coastal Health and Squamish Community Foundation. This project (and the majority of our projects), are dependent on grants and fundraising efforts. We will also be seeking in kind donations for garden-build items like soil, and lumber.
Please get in touch with Gaby: email@example.com if your organization is interested in helping us reach our goal!
Straw Bale Garden Shed
The downtown community garden boasts a beautiful straw bale garden shed! Fantastic volunteers, including Deb McQueen and Patty Heintzman, helped pull this project together. The straw bale shed is an excellent example of possible eco-friendly building techniques, and we are proud to have it as a part of the garden landscape.
Apply for a Garden Plot
Join the Squamish CAN Community Gardens!
To apply for a garden plot, download the application and code of conduct below.
Note: Applications are due annually on February 1st, and gardeners are assigned plots by February 15th. Current gardeners are given priority, but a waiting list is available for new applications.
Full instructions are available on the application form. Garden guidelines are sent once the application has been accepted and plot assigned.
Squamish CAN Community Garden Application Form
and Code of Conduct:
Got a Question?
Community Garden Manager: Jessica McKeil
Getting Seeds: The Squamish Seed Library and Seedy Sunday
Annual Community Event Held in March (see Event Calendar for dates)
A fun, educational, and family-focused event held as the gardening season starts to kick off.
Get ready for spring by browsing the offerings from seed, and plant vendors from all over BC
Learn more about gardening with a full day of info-packed educational talks.
Grab or donate free seeds at the swap table
Sign up for the Seed Library (plus membership renewals)
Learn more about Seedy Sunday HERE!
The Seed Library launched on March 12, 2017. The Seed Library is hosted at the Squamish Library and helps support local gardeners by sharing vegetable, flower, and herb seeds.
It's simple to join! The annual membership is $5, which gives you access to the generously donated selection of seeds. A BIG THANKS to Salt Spring Seeds, West Coast Seeds, Dragonfly Seeds, and the Victoria Seed Library for our initial donations!
Do you need to return the seeds you 'borrow'? As long as you plant them, your membership has been a success! By planting your seeds, you are promoting food security, learning about gardening, and getting out in nature.
But, we also encourage our members to donate unneeded seeds or seed-save to give back to the library. Not sure about how to save seeds? Why not attend one of our Gardening workshops this year?
Learn more about our Seed Library HERE!
We hope to make the CAN Grow Garden a supportive and educational space for new gardeners.
Here are some basic guidelines to help you get started on your gardening adventure!
Start with the Soil:
Before planting, ensure that the soil is well mixed and healthy.
Soil needs to be able to drain, so water does not ‘drown’ your plants, while simultaneously maintaining appropriate moisture for the plants. If it’s too ‘wet’, add some sand. If it’s too dry, add some compost and/or peat.
Soil amendments are used to enhance and maintain the health of the soil. Amendments include compost, organic fertilizer, manure, eggshells and seaweed. The timing of the application is key to its success. Know the amendment and the appropriate time and method to apply it to the garden. Cover crops can also be used during the off-season (or grown alongside you summer veggies!) to enrich the soil and reduce nutrient and soil loss.
A key indicator of soil health is the presence of worms. Worms are a fantastic attribute for mixing the soil and further decomposing nutrients.
What to plant?
As a beginning gardener, it is essential that you set yourself up for success.
Know what is best to plant from seed, and what is best to plant from starts or tubers.
Seed starts include: salad, kale, squash, cucumbers, peas, radish, beans, beets, carrots, spinach, parsnips, and Swiss chard
Plant starts include: broccoli, tomatoes, cabbage, fennel, leek, squash, cucumbers, bok choi, basil and parsley
Tuber starts include potatoes and sunchokes
Choose plants that grow well in this region. Our season is quite long but lacks the intense heat that allows certain plants to thrive. Melon, for example, will grow well, but maybe challenged ripening. On the other hand, kale can be planted throughout the season, and may even continue to grow through the winter.
Timing is everything. Spinach grows well in the early spring and fall but doesn’t like the hot summer. Use garden charts for guidance in planning and planting. Many plants, including lettuce and radish, require re-seeding throughout the season to allow for continuous harvest.
Plant starts on a cloudy day or later in the day so the intense sun doesn’t shock them.
Many plants, such as peppers and eggplant require great attention and are best grown in a greenhouse. Tomatoes grow well if started early and experience a hot and sunny season to ripen.
Plant ‘em right the first time
Give plants room to grow. Look on the package for distance recommendations.
Rule of thumb for seed planting depth: Plant a seed 3x deeper than the width of the seed. Cover with a loose layer of a healthy soil- no heavy lumps on top. Water immediately, and maintain moisture while seeds germinate.
Label plants and include the specific variety. This allows us to remember what grows well, and learn from the gardens around us.
Ideas for a delicious and successful garden include: Peas, kale, arugula, baby greens, zucchini and radish
Taking care of the plants:
Water them as needed. More thorough watering less often encourages healthy root development
Thin them to allow for root health
Keep weeds under control
Provide plant supports as needed
Observe your plants on a regular basis and pay close attention to their growth. They have much to offer — from tips to care for them, to a delicious meal!!
Where to Find Amendments in Squamish
Soil and Amendments
We buy our compost and soil from Net Zero Waste through Coast Aggregates. The garden blend is enriched with organic compost and is a great soil to start your gardens with. We use straight amender after the first year to boost the fertility of the garden.
Straw can be difficult to find locally. Fallen leaves can be raked up in the fall and used as a wonderful free mulch. Grass clippings also work well (if no herbicides or pesticides are used on the grass)