West Shore community gardens looking for green thumbs

Three Colwood community gardens are looking for people who want to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.

Three community gardens in Colwood are looking for people who want to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.

Between the Westshore Teaching gardens, Pilgrim community garden and the Coast Collective gardens, about 40 plots are ripe for the picking.

The Pilgrim community garden, off Painter Road in Colwood, is run solely by its gardeners.

“We are a volunteer group, we don’t advertise it because we are busy gardening,” said Pilgrim plot co-ordinator Maureen Cue. “This is a garden that a lot of people in the community started up. Now it runs on its own and doesn’t require support.”

The Pilgrim community garden has about 10 plots for newcomers. The garden has 40 plots, five of which are communal plots containing items such as raspberries and rhubarb. There are 17 families who are members of the garden.

The Pilgrim garden is the oldest community garden on the West Shore. The land for the garden is donated by the Pilgrim United Church.

“It’s a gift to the community for people who don’t have land to garden at their homes,” said Elaine Hooper, chair of the church council. “We all love to know the land is being used this way.”

The church considers the land to be a gift to the community. Gardeners are responsible for covering the water bill.

“If places don’t give land, then there are no community gardens,” Cue said, expressing gratitude to the church. “What a garden needs is land, labour and water.”

Capital Families Association started the Pilgrim garden in 1997. With the grant money the agency was able to bring in 80 tonnes of composted soil.

“At the time it was used as an occasional parking lot,” said David Stott, former project co-ordinator of Capital Families.

“We basically built the beds on top of the gravel. We started adding mulch a couple years later.

“I think it is a wonderful garden and I am so pleased it is doing so well.”

All of the gardens ask gardeners to pitch in additional time to help with communal areas. The Pilgrim community and Coast Collective gardens don’t have specific guidelines, but the teaching garden, off Sooke Road, asks its gardeners to donate about two hours per week for various tasks.

Westshore teaching garden

The Westshore teaching garden is run by the Westshore Learning Centre. While the numbers haven’t been tallied for this year, there is speculation about 20 plots will be open at its Sooke Road location.

“Every summer the garden is busy and active,” said Candace Thompson, Westshore Training and Learning Centre agricultural consultant.

“The plots are super fertile but small, so although they grow a lot of food they don’t easily support many people working in them at a time.”

Coast Collective garden

The Coast Collective garden at the Havenwood property in Colwood has four individual plots but the majority of the garden is communal and runs on the honour system.

“We share what people plant, it’s a free, shared experience,” said co-ordinator Annabelle Baxter. “This place is about community and teaching.”



Pilgrim community garden

Contact Maureen Cue at 250-479-1156

10 plots available

3319 Painter Rd.


Westshore teaching garden

Call Candace Thompson at 250-642-2595

About 20 plots available

2139 Sooke Rd.


Coast Collective garden

Contact Annabelle Baxter at annabellebaxter73@gmail.com

Four plots and communal areas

3221 Heatherbell Rd.




























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