Get growing in Yellowknife – here’s how to find a garden

Yellowknife landshare program participants
Rosanna Nicol, right, with some produce last summer.
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As temperatures warm up in Yellowknife, here’s one way to start your own garden.

The Yellowknife Landshare Program matches up people looking for somewhere to grow vegetables with anyone who has spare land.

The program is back for a second year and has a new website.

“We connect people who want to grow vegetables with people who have gardens they aren’t using, or they’d like help with,” said coordinator Rosanna Nicol.

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“The aim is to increase local food production in Yellowknife and see more vegetables at the farmers’ market.”

More info: Landshare program details and interactive map

The idea is that the grower and the landowner are paired up, then reach their own “mutually beneficial” agreement about how to use the land and what happens to the produce.

Nicol came to Yellowknife last year and took part in the program’s first year before taking over as coordinator.

She has previous experience as an urban farmer in Quebec, the Maritimes and the UK, alongside a formal farming apprenticeship on Vancouver Island.

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“Last year, we grew on five plots in the downtown and sold every week at the farmers’ market and had a great season,” she told Moose FM.

“The demand for healthy local vegetables is really high in Yellowknife and the growing season is fun – things grow extremely fast in June and many crops grow very well.

“I love growing greens. You can pick them again and again. Things like spinach, arugula, kale, baby kale. Last year we had really good success with cauliflower, beans, peas, beets, carrots, potatoes grew really nicely, tomatoes.

“Each little garden is often in a different area of town or a different side of the house, so you get all these microclimates to play with. You can have a lot of fun thinking about what crops will grow best in each location.”

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On Facebook: Yellowknife Farmers Market

Funding is available to help with composting and irrigation, which can be two expensive necessities for growers in the North.

“One of the barriers is there’s not a lot of soil here, and the soil we do have is quite nutrient-deficient. You need to add a lot of compost and manure to get good crops and that can be quite expensive,” said Nicol.

“The farmers’ market has accessed funding to help with that. There is money to help offset some of those costs and to help with irrigation if necessary.”

Beginners are welcome. To get started, contact yellowknifelandshare@gmail.com or (867) 445-3355, or visit the Yellowknife Farmers Market online.

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