Andrea Ashton and Dylan smile as Scarlet and her mom Zipporah Hantke plant a seed potato at the new Cloverdale Community Garden.

A garden of promise in Cloverdale

There's a new gardening venture in Cloverdale, where a new community garden is taking shape.

Volunteer green thumbs are invited to join Cloverdale’s newest gardening venture, the Cloverdale Community Garden.

There’s no experience necessary – just a desire to get more involved with your community, from the ground up.

“Come and learn to garden if you don’t know how,” says coordinator Zipporah Hantke.

The just-launched project will grow organic veggies, fruits, berries and herbs for the Cloverdale Community Kitchen and community cooking classes. The programs are based out of Pacific Community Church, located at 5337 180 St., where a neglected corner of the back parking lot is being transformed into a productive agricultural space.

“It’s for the community,” Hantke says. “We want the community in here.”

A work party on March 28 saw the installation of 12, 4-by-8-foot raised garden beds plus six herb boxes.

Andrea Ashton – part of the core group of volunteers involved so far – says the garden will grow spinach, chard, beans, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, squash and herbs. Cherry and apple trees will be planted, along with bee-friendly flowers and berry bushes.

Planting will begin in earnest later this spring. Volunteer work sessions will start mid-June. Workers will be required http://webpapersadmin.bcnewsgroup.com/portals/uploads/cloverdale/.DIR288/wComGarden-signvert.jpgthroughout the summer, with work bees on Saturday mornings.

“We’re hoping to have a harvest celebration in the fall, with a meal,” Hantke smiles, her mind already filled with images of the garden reaching its full potential.

There’s easy access to a water supply, thanks to the City of Surrey, which built a watering station for its landscaping fleet at the foot of 180 St. The city agreed to let the gardeners use the water for free. A regular garden hose can be connected to it using an inexpensive adapter. West Coast Gardens, J. DeWitt Enterprises, Country Lumber, and Fields Tree Service have also provided support.

The commercial-grade kitchen inside the church is home to three existing programs assisting Cloverdale’s less fortunate, and is working to expand programs and the facility’s reach within the community.

Cooking classes held over spring break were a hit – especially with kids, Hantke said. “They loved it.”

Kids Can Cook classes will be starting up July 15. Classes for ages 5 to 12 will be offered Wednesday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon. The cost will be $3-$5. Registration will open two weeks before each class.

Meantime, there’s a community cooking class this Saturday, April 25 (from 10 a.m. to noon). Register online at pacificcommunity.ca/events or for more information, contact cloverdalecommunitygarden@gmail.com.

Follow the Cloverdale Reporter on Twitter and Facebook. View our print edition online.