It’s potato harvest time at Wildsight’s Open Gate Garden and everyone is invited. To celebrate the first year of the garden, Wildsight is hosting a potato and apple harvest party, with fresh garden potatoes, local sausages, and fresh pressed apple juice.
The event, on Sunday, October 5th, kicks off at noon with apple harvesting from trees in the area, following by the big potato dig at 2 p.m., apple juice pressing at 3 p.m., and finishes with the garden feast at 4PM.
“The harvest party is a celebration to thank everyone who has helped out in the garden this year, from preparing the soil, fencing, planting, watering, to helping construct our new shed,” said Wildsight’s Shannon Duncan, “and a great chance for everyone else to come out and see what we’ve been working on.”
It has been a busy year for Wildsight’s local sustainable food programs, with plenty to celebrate, including the first year of the Kimberley Farmers’ Market, workshops series on preserving local food and edible gardening, the expansion of the apple capture project, and the first year of the Open Gate Garden.
Over the year, the garden has seen plant beds, trellises, and a herb spiral established, fencing constructed to keep out deer, and an old shed refurbished and expanded to house garden equipment and all the apple juicing, drying, saucing and harvesting equipment that Wildsight lends to locals for free.The garden has played host to gardening workshops for locals, school and pre-school groups, and volunteer work bees.
“There was a great showing of support throughout the season as we got things going at the garden. Building the herb spiral we had 30 people out to help!” said Wildsight’s Jessica Windle.
“This fall we are focused on engaging school and other community groups at the garden, collecting ideas for next year and preparing the ground for more growing space,” added Duncan, “ and one more community work bee will be held before the end of October to get some garlic planted and finish this year’s clean-up.
But it hasn’t all been easy for the first year of the Open Gate Garden.
“A big challenge this year was the presence of a large community of ground squirrels that munched on many of the plants,” added Windle. “One of the highlights, especially since the ground squirrels can’t get up them, are the re-purposed freezer raised beds. They keep the plants happy, take a huge waste item out of the landfill, and are the perfect height for wheelchair users.”
Wildsight will also be installing wire fencing in the ground to keep the hungry creatures out of the garden. Luckily, the ground squirrels haven’t been bothering the potato plants.
“The potatoes in the no-dig beds are impressively sized and abundant,” said Duncan, “ so we’ll harvest them all, boil some up and the rest will be sent home with anyone who wants some. It’ll be a perfect toast to the harvest season.”
Local sausages will round out the meal, cooked up on a BBQ generously loaned by Gwinner’s. Harvest season is also apple season in Kimberley, so some of the abundant local apples will be on the menu as well.
“It will also be a great chance to see some of our apple juicing equipment in action and to help us pick some of the local apples before the bears get to them” said Wildsight’s Lars Sander-Green, “and we invite anyone who has their own apples to bring them to the garden after 3PM and we’ll help them juice them on the spot.”
“Wildsight would like to thank Mardis Wood Products for generously donating lumber for the shed and the City of Kimberley for constructing the new fence.” added Sander-Green.
The Open Gate Garden is located on Rotary Drive, just below the aquatic centre. Everyone is invited to drop by for any part of the event from noon to 5PM on Sunday, October 5th.