To kick things off, Roger — one of our summer volunteers — and I worked with the students to help dig up and transplant two of the three nursery beds of trees (about 35 white spruce) into the berms around the edge of the wetland.
Once complete, the next step was to weed and double-dig the vacant beds in preparation for their conversion to a vegetable garden.
In order to make most use of our limited growing space, we adopted Mel Bartholomew's square foot gardening technique. An overview of the approach is provided in the video, below.
As our beds are a little too large to allow one to comfortably reach into their centres, a wooden plank (along with some rocks) was positioned through the middle of each bed, allowing for easy access to either half.
We divided our planting area into squares and marked out a grid using jute twine. Then, following Mel's advice for planting density along with generally accepted guidelines for companion planting, we planned out our beds as shown in the diagram below.
[Numbers refer to plant density, i.e. the desired number of plants per square. Brown areas indicate the eventual location of trellises for climbing plants.]
Then, it was time to plant!
[All of our seed is from organically-grown sources, except for our onion and flower species.]
We finished off the week by transplanting a dozen cattails and other wetland marginal plants within and along the edges of the wetland. These we sourced from one of the City of Fredericton's attenuation ponds: Over time, these ponds are colonized by wetland plants which the city removes in order to keep the ponds functioning optimally; by transplanting some of these plants we're giving them a chance to thrive and contribute to a habitat elsewhere, rather than become compost or landfill.
We'll monitor the progress of these plants over the next few weeks, with the intention of transplanting more later in the summer.