Because of our short, cool growing season and long, cold, windy winters, greenhouses and other forms of season extension are integral for growing food in our climate. The greenhouse helps us get a head start on seedlings for the community garden and allows us to grow vegetables and herbs such as peppers, ginger, and basil that prefer hotter temperatures.
Three years ago a teacher at Breton Education Centre (BEC) built the greenhouse with his students. The greenhouse sat empty and unused until the spring of 2020 when Wild Town founder Nicole Dixon contacted BEC’s principal, Danielle Aucoin, for permission to use it. Ms. Aucoin handed Nicole the keys and now Wild Town has a greenhouse within sight of the community garden.
The greenhouse has a few challenges. With no water on site, we fill jugs at home, drive them to the site, then carry the 5 gallon jugs into the greenhouse. Those jugs are heavy and awkward! In the heat of summer when the plants need watering a few times each week, this job can be difficult and time consuming.
As well, the structure itself was not built to maximize sun exposure. Wooden shingles on the south side prevent south sun from entering the greenhouse, while corrugated clear plastic on the north side is wasted as sun does not come from the north. Finally, the roof should slope to the south, not north, as it currently does, again to allow for maximum sunlight. But overall, the structure is solid—it has stood up to a few tropical and winter storms since it was built, which is important when you’re located beside the North Atlantic ocean!
As construction of the new New Waterford Community Hub progresses, the greenhouse may eventually be relocated or rebuilt. In the meantime, Wild Town will continue to use it to better learn about greenhouse growing in our region.