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Sunday, September 24, 2023
Community garden bountiful this summer — despite theft of produce from private plots
Shylah Suriam lost some cabbage and beets to sticky fingers. Despite the theft, her garden is still thriving. (JULIA SACCO)

In spite of the pilfering of some prime vegetables early last week, Niagara-on-the-Lake’s community garden is thriving this summer. 

During an open house Saturday for the Newark Park Community Garden, NOTL green thumbs showed off the fruits – and vegetables – of their labour.

“This year has been phenomenal. I think everyone is in a good mood when they come,” said gardener Shylah Suriam.

This growing season wasn’t without some struggles, though.

Suriam told The Lake Report that someone came into the garden off Lakeshore Road and stole produce from her plot and a few others.

“I knew that it was a professional from the way the cabbage was taken,” Suriam said. 

Both her cabbage and beets were harvested clean from the ground.

“I had a big thing of lettuce here. They just sliced it and I’ve never even done that,” she said. 

The community garden group isn’t sure who may have taken the vegetables and members are not actively searching for the potential culprit.

Suriam joked that perhaps a gang of super grannies paid the garden a visit. 

Still, the band of gardeners still had plenty of reason to celebrate at the open house, hosting visitors with homemade baked goods and tours of all the impressive species. 

Julian Traschel, the park’s co-ordinator, said he believes the garden has transformed the area.

“It’s brought life to the park. If you go look at the pollinator flowers there’s so much activity over there,” he said.

Traschel emphasized this season’s focus on pollinators and maintaining a healthy park ecosystem with the help of native bees. 

And if you’re new to gardening – not to worry, new gardener Suriam said the garden is open to people of all horticultural levels.

“If you’re a newbie, you’ll do really well,” she said, adding that her neighbours on both sides help with things like bug control and maintenance. 

As for theft, Traschel is hopeful that it won’t happen again. 

“It’s a fact of life,” he said.

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