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Community garden could be great family activity: Stephenville woman

Bernice Whalen poses for a photo with some freshly cut kale and seen next to her carrots in her Stephenville community garden plot.
Bernice Whalen poses for a photo with some freshly cut kale and seen next to her carrots in her Stephenville community garden plot. - Frank Gale

In addition to bringing her back to her youth, gardening with her grandmother, Bernice Whalen of Stephenville loves everything about her first year working two community garden plots.

There have been lots of summer salads utilizing items from the garden and now she’s looking forward to harvesting what’s left this fall.

She has two plots and her Newfoundland Power co-worker Ryan Tiller has a double plot next to hers, so they’re sharing crops that aren’t duplicated.

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Whalen said sharing is a good part of what gardening is all about and that for her, it’s kind of sentimental as she’s always had an interest in gardening while growing up,  working the soil and reaping the harvest in the garden with her grandmother Rebecca Durnford.

She said her dad — Clyde Feaver of McCallum on Newfoundland’s southern coast — is a gardener and still today puts his own crops in every year.

“Having fresh garden produce has its health benefits and my fresh crops certainly do taste better,” Whalen said.

She said while there is some manual work involved, it’s not too physical and she really finds it relaxing. She said there’s a bit of extra work in the spring prepping the plots and sowing the seeds but once they’re in, you just have to take care of it and watch it grow.

Whalen said there’s some thinning, weeding and watering during the summer months, but that’s all part of it.

To her, the community garden is a prime spot in a beautiful place and has room for expansion from the more than 50 plots already there. She said it’s just enjoyable to go there.

Whalen said gardening was a great activity to her kids growing up and believes the community garden could be great for families who want to get involved. With more conversation about backyard gardening she thinks it would be a wonderful activity for children, just like it was for hers.

She praised the people that run the community garden for putting something in place that’s so economical, providing the equipment and soil needed and even raising plots for people looking for something smaller and more easily accessible.

She said people who have been around at the garden for years are there to offer their expert advice, which is a great help.

Whalen, who helped in the implementation of the Newfoundland Power Garden of Hope at Sir Thomas Roddick Hospital this summer, said that took up a lot of her time.

“I’ll have more time to dedicate to my own garden next summer, so I’ll absolutely go back at it,” she said.

Crops grown by Bernice Whalen

Potatoes

Beets

Carrots

Beans

Kale

Spinach

Leeks

Lettuce

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