Gleaning Program 2023


Returning Gleaners

All gleaners who have attended an orientation within the past 4 years and wish to join the 2023 season are asked to sign up without attending the full orientation again.

  • Attend a sign-up session in person (dates below). You will need to fill out a membership form and submit payment. The membership fee is $25 and payment can be made with cash, cheque or by credit card (no debit). This will be done in the gazebo at the Pine Street Community Garden. Contact Lee at 250-816-4769 if you have any questions about if you need to attend an orientation this year.


Sign-up sessions for returning gleaners only will be:

  • Wednesday May 24, 2023 between 11am and 3pm (during a garden work party) completed
  • Sunday May 28, 2023 between 11am and 1pm (during a garden work party) completed
  • Wednesday May 31, 2023 between 11am and 3pm (during a garden work party) completed
  • Sunday June 4, 2023 between 11am and 1pm (during a garden work party) completed
  • Wednesday June 7, 2023 between 11am and 1pm (during a garden work party)


New Gleaners

If you haven’t been a gleaner for this program before you will need to attend a mandatory safety orientation. The orientations will be held outdoors in the open-air gazebo in the Pine Street Community Garden, behind the Foodshare Centre parking lot at 271 Pine St.  Please attend one of the orientation dates below to join the program. You do not have to pre-register for a session – just show up! Remember to invite any friends or family that want to glean with you. ad non-registered gleaners are not permitted on picks. Latecomers are disruptive and may miss important information about the program so please be on time. If you cannot be on time, please attend a different session. There will be time to answer all your questions about the program. The orientation session lasts about an hour so dress appropriately to be outdoors for that length of time.


You will need to fill out a membership form and submit payment. The membership fee is $25 and payment can be made with cash, cheque or by credit card (no debit).


The dates for 2023 orientations are:

  • Tuesday May 23, 2023 from 2-3pm completed
  • Sunday May 28, 2023 from 10-11am completed
  • Wednesday May 31, 2023 from 5-6pm completed
  • Friday June 2, 2023 from 6-7pm completed
  • Thursday June 8, 2023 from noon-1pm

Call Lee at 250-816-4769 if you have questions about the program or the orientations.


For more information on the program, see our Gleaning Program page with more detailed information here.


The Gleaning Program is jointly operated by Nanaimo Foodshare Society and Nanaimo Community Gardens Society and funded by the Province of British Columbia.


Thank you Cinnabar Valley Farms!


This year, Cinnabar Valley Farms has gave Nanaimo Community Gardens Society a large donation of starter mix, soil, fish compost and composted steer manure. This will be blended into a mix used to start seedlings at the Beban Learning Gardens. Volunteers were on hand to help unload and move bags of soil and giant totes of material. These will be used throughout the season, mixed up in a precise ratio to provide the best nutrition for young seedlings until they are ready to be planted out into your garden.


When the soil blend is mixed, it is used for transplanting tiny seedlings from flats to individual 4 inch pots.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

This photo shows the  bags of soil under the table and a volunteer seeding into a flat with individual 4″ pots  in the background. See our post about plant sales to see what the seedlings look like close up.

Thank you, Cinnabar Valley Farms!












Pruning Workshops at the Community Gardens

Each year many pruning workshops are held at the Community Garden sites. These workshops focus on fruit tree pruning to demonstrate practices to restore old trees and increase flower and fruit production. While these classes have been popular for over a decade, NCGS has recently been holding these classes at the Beaufort Park Food Forest where volunteers maintain a stand of young fruit trees. The trees provide fruit for local residents and require ongoing maintenance. NCGS and the City of Nanaimo are offering these pruning courses to all residents of Nanaimo. Here is the Activity Guide for more pruning workshops this summer in the Special Interests section. 2023SpringSunnerActivityGuide (


If you are curious about Beaufort Park and want to visit, see the map and listing on the City’s website. Beaufort Park | City of Nanaimo


Here are photos from our latest pruning workshop in November. Amidst rainy fall days, this Saturday was clear and sunny. Beaufort Food Forest volunteers were present to show the group around and suggest trees that needed attention. Attendees came to learn about how to care for young fruit trees in their early years to prevent common problems and maximize both pickability and fruit production.


The tree with orange leaves in the background is the focus for this part of the pruning workshop. It is used to demonstrate general pruning techniques common to young fruit trees.


The instructor, Scott Wiskerke, owner of Roots and Shoots Horticulture gives practical demonstrations of cutting techniques and plant growth. Scott has been running NCGS pruning workshops for many years and before that has given workshops at VIU and Green Thumb Nursery.


Scott gets up in the tree to discuss the pros and cons of specific cuts and the resulting growth next year after pruning. Everyone has opinions about what branches to remove and can see immediately the results of the cuts. The hard part is taking this knowledge back to their own trees when they are the only ones making the decisions. Learning to prune is definitely something that takes practice over many years!


The finished pear tree! Note the pruned branches on the tarp. The reduced crowding of the remaining branches will promote quicker drying in the spring to reduce the spread of fungal diseases. This is a job that will result in better fruit and more natural growth in the years to come.


Thanks Scott! Keep an eye on the City of Nanaimo’s Activity Guide for future pruning workshops. Pruning topics include Basic Fruit Tree Pruning, Advanced Fruit Tree Pruning (for those who have some basic knowledge and need a refresher and information on how to deal with pests and diseases in our climate), Summer Pruning (an excellent time to prune for most stone fruits in our region), Restoring Old Fruit Trees (when you’ve inherited an old, overgrown fruit tree that needs pruning over a few years to bring it back into healthy production) and this course, Pruning Young Fruit Trees. Trees covered in the workshops include apples. pears, figs, plums, grape vines and other fruit trees that attendees are interested in. Classes are $20 and people often attend year after year as they gain knowledge and have new and interesting problems with their trees.

Donation from Coastal Community Credit Union

Nanaimo Community Gardens has received support from the Coastal Community Credit Union Relief and Resiliency Fund. This money is for our organization to re-engage the community in our programs. The pandemic was difficult for many organizations and it forced us to reduce our operations and keep our work parties closed to visitors. Now that safe, outdoor spaces have been created, it’s time to invite new community members to join us. We intend to liaise with other local organizations and groups to identify people who would benefit from engagement in our programs. If you are an individual or part of a group that wants to participate in work parties or otherwise join us in the garden, reach out to us at 250-816-4769.


Thank you Coastal Community Credit Union!

The BLG Covered Workspace is now a reality!

Beban Learning Gardens thanks Nanaimo Community Gardens, the Province of British Columbia, Home Depot, and the City of Nanaimo Parks and Trades Departments for their help in making our Covered Work Space a reality.

Almost exactly four years after officially opening, one of the last items from the original design plan has been built.  Volunteers on the Covered Workspace Committee had almost given up on ever getting this feature built as estimates came in so high.  Then they saw an ad picturing a sturdy, good-looking but inexpensive gazebo, got creative, and decided that four such gazebos (10’ x 10’) placed in a square might just do the trick.

A year and one pandemic later, our covered workspace has been erected and is already being put to good use, enabling volunteers to work in the open-air and yet have some shelter. The need for this facility has become more important during the pandemic to allow normal activities to take place at the Beban Learning Gardens.

Thanks to Home Depot  and the province of  British Columbia for their contribution towards the cost of the gazebos and their ongoing support of our community garden projects.  And, last but not least, to City workers who put it all together.


Work Parties

Do you wanted to volunteer at one of the Nanaimo Community Gardens Society sites? There are no rental plots, instead we garden together doing whatever is needed depending on the site and the time of year.
At the Beban Learning Garden work parties are held Wednesdays between 10am and 12pm. This garden is located beside the golf course at Beban Park. This site includes a greenhouse, fruit trees and bushes and outdoor gardening beds. During the late winter and early spring, the focus is on maintaining the site and growing seedlings for sale and donating to the community. Later in the season, the greenhouse becomes too hot to work in and the focus is growing outdoors.
The Pine St Garden has work parties on Wednesdays from 11am to 3pm. To participate in these work parties, visit the Pine St Garden behind the Foodshare Centre at 271 Pine St. These work parties continue year round but tasks are very weather dependent. Volunteers have lunch together at 1pm so drop by , bring your lunch and join us for a wonderful meal in the garden.
For May and June there will also be Thursday work parties at the Pine St Garden from noon to 3pm. If these are successful, they may continue through the summer. If you have a group that wishes to attend the garden, this time may be ideal as it is less crowded and we will have a teacher leading the work parties. Please call if this is something that interests you at 250-816-4769.

Fruit Trees Donated by Island Savings

Representatives Jenna Sutherland and Tammie Muir from Island Savings were on hand at a recent tree planting work party at the Beban Learning Gardens to present a cheque to Nanaimo Community Gardens Society. The cheque for $1,500 will to go towards the purchase of fruit trees for the site. The planting of young fruit trees, berry bushes and grape vines  has been planned since the site was first occupied. In the years to come, the fruits will supplement the production of vegetables, herbs and edible flowers on the site to be used in programs and event. Island Savings has been focusing on reducing paper use in their branches and wanted to reinvest those savings in the community with the planting of food producing trees. Thank you Island Savings!

Bee Time!

We took some time recently to take out the old tubes of mason bee cocoons and replace them with fresh, new paper tubes. These tubes are where the new female mason bees will lay their eggs, fully provisioned with pollen. These eggs will hatch and the larvae will eat and grow until they are large enough to spin a cocoon and wait out the cold winter all snug and cozy. In the spring the males hatch first and wait for the females. It is at this time that the mason bees provide their renowned pollinating services to flowering fruit trees. As you see in this picture, one of our youngest volunteers is helping to remove the old mason bee tubes and putting them in a special box where the bees can safely hatch out.  

Happy First Day of Spring 2019!

Beban Learning Gardens will begin selling starterplants on Wed., March 20, directly from ourgreenhouse in Beban Park, beside the golf course. Every Wednesday from 10 to noon, from now until June, you can come and buy vegie, herb, and beneficial and edible flower starter plants, grown as organically as we know how, right on our site. In an effort to help our friends the bees, we are also growing and selling plants that are the favourites of our hard-working pollinators. Lots of gardening advice is available, as well.


You are also welcome to browse around our garden and see what we are growing.


Plants we will be selling for the rest of March and into early April include:


Snap peas, broad beans, sweet peas, thyme, rosemary, mustard, mizuna, strawberries, and lots more!