Winter Veg Sales 2020 Starting Soon

Please return pots to reduce plastic use!

Here at Beban Learning Gardens we will be taking a short rest from plant sales as the last of our tomatoes, squash, peppers, etc. have gone.  But we have already started seeding winter veggies!  By the second half of July we should be starting to sell starter plants for Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbages, kale, endives, radicchio, mustard, winter lettuce, snap peas, and….maybe a few new surprises!

But, meanwhile, you can help us greatly by returning the one gallon and 4” pots and our plant labels (if you don’t need them for identification). These can be dropped off in the gazebo at Pine St. Garden or at Beban Learning Gardens on the table in our open lean-to shed.  Reusing pots is a good way of reducing our consumption of plastic and reducing our costs.

If you are considering building a tunnel/hoop-house to extend your growing season, we may have just what you need…a limited supply of reasonably-priced lengths of sturdy PVC tubing.  Come and have a look, Wed. or Sat. from 10 to noon.

Thanks to all you keen and supportive gardeners out there!

Happy Gardening!!!

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 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

COVID-19 Precautions and Plant Sales Update March 24, 2020

This is a difficult time for everyone. Many of us are isolated in our homes, worried about friends and family, contemplating the repercussions of this ever-changing situation on our lives. It can seem too large to understand and we may find it overwhelming. Please be aware of stress and make sure to look after yourselves during this crisis.

Things you can do to support yourself

Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

As gardeners, there is something else we can do – get outside and garden. Caring for ourselves by nurturing plants may help us to keep busy, provide exercise and stress relief and may even allow some over-the fence contact with neighbours. Many of us are looking forward to raising food for ourselves as a way to give us a sense that we are providing for ourselves during this time.

Because we feel so strongly about this, volunteers are continuing to raise seedlings for sale to the public. Volunteers are using social distancing, staggered work times and other precautions while caring for these plants. Plant sales will be every Wednesday and Saturday at the Beban Learning Garden from 10am to noon. Here is what you need to know before attending a plant sale.

There will be a limited number of volunteers on-site, all wearing gloves, if possible.
– Signs will not be placed out on road – you will have to find the site by yourself
– Sale plants will be sold outside ONLY – we ask you not to enter the greenhouse at all
– Please bring exact change only please (small pots are $2.50, gallon pots $5, flat of 18 @$40) or be prepared to tap your credit or debit card
– The 2 metre rule will be strictly followed
– There is a wash stand with soap (no towels) provided for everyone and we encourage its use
– Frequently touched objects will be regularly wiped with bleach solution by volunteers

Also, please do not attend if you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or a cold or flu. These include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, aches, tiredness, sore throat and runny nose.

Thank you for respecting these guidelines to keep yourself and everyone else safe at this time.

Happy gardening in hard times.

Plant Sales 2020

We received our seed order and volunteers began starting seeds for plant sales in 2020.


Our first official plant sales of 2020 were at Seedy Sunday March 1, 2020.


Plant Sales will begin at Beban Learning Gardens on Wed., March 11 and will continue every Wednesday and Saturday 10am to noon through to mid-June.
Organically-grown Starter Plants for Veggies, Herbs, and Edible & Beneficial Flowers will be available as they are ready to plant outdoors.

Please read our Covid-19 update post to learn about our infectious disease precautions at our site and during plant sales.

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 or email

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.