Spring Plant Sales Begin at Beban Learning Gardens

The news you have been waiting for!  Plant sales will begin on Monday, March 29, 2021!

Sales every Monday, Wednesday, & Friday from 10 to noon into early June.

If all goes well, there will also be three Saturday sales from 10 to noon:

April 10                     May 1                       May 22

Customers in sales area will be limited to 3 at a time and will be required to wear masks. Ordinarily we love to have customers browse all over our garden and in the greenhouse but will not be able to permit that this year.  If you do wish to browse in the yard, the gate is never locked and you are welcome to come in when sales and workparties are not in session.

See particulars concerning plants and pricing in the article below (2021 Seedlings List).

Plants will be available around the time appropriate to plant them out. Payments may be made in cash, by cheque, or with credit card (tap).

There will also be small packages of slightly aged seeds on offer, by donation or free.

Beer flats will be available but if you have your own container, so much the better.


Seedlings  For 2021, the Beban Learning Garden is planning to have over 100 varieties of vegetable and pollinator seedlings and more mature plants for sale. More varieties may yet be added. Sale of plants is adjusted to the season. For instance, early crops like peas are ready late March, tomatoes are ready in May. Plants for fall planting/winter gardens are generally ready in July.

Prices are $2.50 for each 4″ pot and $5.00 for gallon pots.

Click here to see the seedlings list:




Cancelation of our Annual Volunteer Appreciation Event

The annual Volunteer Appreciation Event normally held in November each year has been cancelled. Although we have maintained operations this year as an essential service in British Columbia, we are unable to hold indoor events in the usual fashion. We will miss the opportunity to share food and chat with fellow volunteers this fall. However, we do have some photos we can share that show our wonderful volunteers working in the garden instead. Enjoy a slice of 2020:

Outdoor pruning workshop

Outdoor pruning workshop with Scott Wiskerke from Roots and Shoots.


Selling plants at Seedy Sunday 2020


Seed Exchange Table at Seedy Sunday


Beban Learning Garden in Spring


Climbing the Douglas Fir at Pine St

Climbing the Douglas Fir at Pine St


Measure twice, cut once.


One way to social distance.


Outdoor movie night for Pine St volunteers


Cute visitors


Such a bounty!


Moving a new garden box


Everyone helps to fill the new garden box


Mmmm. Fresh melon from the garden.


Getting chicken manure for composting


Another thing that normally happens at the Volunteer Appreciation is the presentation of the society budget for the following year. For those of you interested in the 2021 Budget, please review it below. If you have any questions please contact us at info@ngcs.ca

2021 NCGS Budget to be presented to membership

Gleaning Program 2020

Gleaning Program 2020
The Gleaning Program will go ahead this year but in an altered fashion to accommodate physical distancing.

Returning Gleaners for 2020
All gleaners who have attended an orientation within the past 4 years and wish to join the 2020 season are asked to sign up without attending the full orientation again. There are two ways you can sign up.
• Attend a sign-up session in person (dates below). You will need to fill out a membership form and submit payment. Please bring exact change for your fee as we will not be making change (the fee is a sliding scale between $15-$25) or have a cheque made out to Nanaimo Community Gardens Society. This will be done in the gazebo at the Pine St Community Garden and everyone will be asked to follow physical distancing guidelines. To reduce the need to sanitize surfaces, please bring your own pen and hard surface (book or clipboard) for filling in your form.
• Print and mail in a membership form (contact the coordinator at gleaning@ncgs.ca for a pdf of the form) and payment. This will take longer and you may miss out on some early picks. Be sure to include your cheque for payment. Mail in information is contained on the membership form
A hard or digital copy of our latest orientation will be provided to you so that you can see what new protocols are in place for gleaning in 2020.
Sign-up sessions for returning gleaners will be:
• Saturday June 13, 10am-11am
• Monday June 15, 1pm-2pm
• Wednesday June 17, 11am-2pm (drop in anytime)
• Friday June 19, 5pm-6pm
• Sunday June 21, 10am-11am
• Wednesday June 24, 11am-3pm (drop in anytime)

New Gleaners for 2020
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 in the Pine St Community Garden behind the Foodshare Centre at 271 Pine St. While the open-air gazebo in the garden can accommodate a few people, larger numbers cannot be sufficiently distanced so rain may limit the number of gleaners who can attend. 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. Non-registered gleaners are not permitted on picks. Latecomers are disruptive and may miss important information about the program so please be on time. There will be time to answer all your questions about the program.
You will need to fill out a membership form and submit payment. Please bring exact change for your fee as we will not be making change (the fee is a sliding scale between $15-$25) or have a cheque made out to Nanaimo Community Gardens Society. To reduce the need to sanitize surfaces, please bring your own pen and hard surface (book or clipboard) for filling in your form.
• Saturday June 13, 11am-noon
• Monday June 15, 2pm-3pm
• Friday June 19, 6pm-7pm
• Sunday June 21, 11am-noon
Protocols for 2020 will be explained and a hard or digital copy of our latest orientation will be provided to you for review at any time.


If you have any further questions about the Gleaning Program 2020, please call Lee at 250-816-4769 or email gleaning@ncgs.ca

Lead Well donation from Island Savings

Island Savings, a division of First West Credit Union recognizes employees for their leadership in the community through the Lead Well program. Employees receive a $500 donation to a charity of their choice. The donation we received represented the award given to Lindsay Grill for her outstanding contributions to the community. Lindsay attended one of our work parties to present the donation of $500 to Nanaimo Community Gardens Society. Here, Lindsay presents her award to Lee Sanmiya and some young volunteers at the Wednesday work party at the Pine St Community Garden.

The donation will be used to continue our educational programming. This includes offering work parties, workshops, hands-on learning, tours and field trips at our two garden sites. Thanks Lindsay and the Island Savings Lead Well program.

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.

Growing Food Course

Do you want to grow your own food? Improve your food security? Or make your garden more productive? Then the Growing Organic Food course is for you!
Canadian Organic Growers is offering the Growing Organic Food course. In this 11 week in-class and hands-on course students will learn about soil health, water management, propagating plants, food preservation and more!
Dates: May 30 to July 4
Location: Beban Learning Garden, Beban Park 2300 Bowen Rd. Nanaimo
Registration fee: $845 +tax – COG Members save $50!
To learn more visit https://www.cog.ca/growing-organic-food/ or email education@cog.ca

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.