Pemberton community garden May 1 

Local seed potato stock on sale this Saturday

The Village of Pemberton’s Community Garden will be up and running by May 1, according to Mayor Jordan Sturdy.

The committee has been set up. Now all that needs to happen is that the terms of reference have to be adopted before the seeds hit the soil.

"The statement of purpose is still outstanding," said Mayor Sturdy.

The garden, located at One Mile Park on a section of land behind the community’s recycling facility, will feature 15 x15 foot plots available for $50. This fee will help offset water, staff administration time and volunteer honorariums.

Gardeners will commit to maintaining an organic environment free of insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and other types of pesticides. Fertilizers must also be organic. Additionally, only legal plants will be allowed, shrubs and trees will also be on the hot list.

One of the issues the community garden committee will be reviewing is the subject of whether or not potatoes will be allowed to be grown. Because of Pemberton’s seed potato industry, introducing foreign species is problematic; the disease potential could have devastating consequences for the longstanding agricultural industry.

The current draft of the community garden criteria makes spuds verboten, but Sturdy would like to see them allowed and proper education attached to their growing.

Sturdy pointed out that it is legal to plant non-commercial potato crops in the valley, but they have to be Pemberton seed potatoes.

"There are pest issues to consider and you can’t just grow potatoes and let them stay in the ground without doing anything," said the mayor.

Councillor Jennie Helmer, a self-described third-generation potato grower, pointed out that there’s a simple way to get acceptable seed stock. On Saturday, April 29 the Pemberton Women’s Institute in conjunction with the Farmer’s Institute will be selling local seed potatoes, as well as other seedlings, in the Legion parking lot starting at 9 a.m.

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