Submitted by Barbara Thrasher

From thrift to thriving plants, Groundswell’s Community Garden saves water thanks to a grant from the Invermere Health Care Auxiliary (IHCA) and its incredible thrift store.

They know the value of every drop of water in the midst of this drought.

The grant enabled volunteer Doug Woolman, new community garden member, to team up with Stephan and Dona Krause, also new to the gardens, to convert several of the Groundswell Mt. Nelson community garden beds to water-saving wicking beds. A wicking bed uses half as much water as regular exterior watering. It eliminates evaporation which depletes this precious resource.

It really takes a community to save water.

Max Helmer Construction donated the gravel for the beds, Winderberry provided deluxe rich soil, and Barrett Cowles delivered it free of charge. Pond liner, a gravel base and piping allows the gardener to put the water directly down into the bottom of the bed. 

A drain inserted three-quarters of the way down shows when the water has reached the right level. Once that bed is prepped, top it up with a good soil and compost mixture, then plant your bed and cover it with grass clippings, straw or bark to help keep the moisture in and protect the surface soil from sun damage. This is permaculture and it imitates the no waste, closed loop systems seen in diverse natural systems.

Jake Jacobson, head of district public works, extended the environmental sensitivity with an electric truck which provided power for the tools. It sure beat hand sawing.

It is not too late to build a wicking bed for your own fresh produce. Even seeds will play catch up, and by the end of June you won’t know the difference between a bed planted in May and one in June. You will save water, you will save transportation costs and impacts by growing more of your own food.

It takes a whole village. 

You can do your part to conserve the most precious commodity on earth — water.