Kamloops Garden Box Project

Joel Dyck

Joel Dyck and one of his garden boxes. Each box is unique. Photo from Joel Dyck.

About a week ago Joel Dyck contacted me about his project to build box planters in Kamloops for FREE. If you are interested in having someone give you a box planter for your deck or patio please read the following outline for the Kamloops Garden Box Project. If you are interested in participating in this project, Joel’s contact information is below:

This project will be called Kamloops Garden Boxes. The purpose of this project is to get more people interested in small-scale urban gardening.

PHASE 1 Building the Garden Boxes The core of the project will be building garden boxes and giving them to a diverse group of people. I will start with a group of 11 families/participants and possibly have additional groups of eleven. To begin with I will need to build four different demonstration boxes and have at least eleven extras to get the first group started. I will aim to build the boxes out of recycled and reusable materials. I will learn to use an Alaskan Mill to make lumber out of waste wood primarily from trees killed by the Mountain Pine Beetle and the Tussock Moth. I have some designs drawn out already and hope to build boxes that will look somewhat natural out of mainly pine and fir. I will also weave a trellis of smaller boughs from wood that is recycled as yard waste when people prune their trees in the spring. I will ask for community support for wood, dirt, and compost. Kamloops has an excellent composting facility and a plethora of available compost.

PHASE 2 Gathering the Garden Box Community As previously mentioned, I will gather an initial group of eleven families/individuals. The idea is that they will be diverse in age, gardening experience, and in their homes. I specifically want to include people who are renters and live in small dwellings to promote gardening in smaller urban spaces. I will start by picking people I know and then ask them to refer other people who might be interested. I already have an extensive list of people who are interested in learning how to garden and others with a lifetime of experience, who want to learn new things. I want to set up this community with a wide range of experience so that they can help each other and work together. My job will be to set people up for gardening success in a community minded environment. I will be responsible for the following aspects of the project:
1.?I will build the garden box and deliver it to the person/family.
2. I will provide guidance for setting up a small and realistic garden in their location with personal and email support.
3. I will give each participant a package that will include some basic advice as well as an overview of the project.
4. I will set up a feedback blog and monitor it until I can find a community member to follow through with this. The blog will be a place for all participants to communicate their successes.
5. I will provide some technical support for participants who might have some issues with using a blog and posting photos on the Internet.
6. I will share a positive spirit of kindness and have an open mind to whatever unique situations might arise. I want to provide the same kind of leadership that I would appreciate receiving.

Kamloops Garden Box Participants will be expected to:
1. Plant something edible in their box e.g. lettuce, squash, chives, etc.
2. Take pictures twice a month to measure progress or lack of it.
3. Post a picture and a small write up (perhaps asking for advice) on the blog at least once a month.
4. Take a final picture of produce when it is ready to eat.
5. Share at least one meal using produce with a friend/neighbor and post the recipe.
6. Share some produce with a person that they don’t know very well.
7. Send a thank you email to any sponsors and cc it to me so I know all the sponsors have received recognition.
8. Have an open-minded attitude towards small-scale gardening!

PHASE 3 BC Sustainable Energy Association Kamloops Energy Fair The third part of this project will be attending the BCSEA Kamloops Energy Fair as a presenter. I will build a wide array of boxes for the energy fair. Some of these boxes will be used as props and others as door prizes. I will use my existing documentation and presentation material to educate energy fair attendees about the project and how to build their own box or pursue a project that fits their lifestyle and living space. This would be the media capstone of the project and the time to share it with as many people as possible. This will be an opportunity to show some simple ways to make sustainable lifestyle choices and show evidence of the BCSEA?s mission in the community: “Our mission is to facilitate the transition to a sustainable energy future in British Columbia through education, advocacy and tangible community projects.”

PHASE 4 Education The fourth and final part of this project would be to document it and turn it in to a collective of lesson plans and presentation material. There will be opportunities to share it before, during and after the BCSEA Energy Fair. I will present the design and construction aspect to home school students prior to the Kamloops BCSEA Energy Fair. I hope to bring the project into the public school system as well. If I can get enough students interested it would be great to have a community of teenage gardeners bring the project to completion. Watching students combine building, gardening, and technology would be an excellent learning opportunity for me. Having this material and presenting it will give me invaluable teaching practice prior to my career as a shop teacher.

Project Director: Joel Dyck
Email: joelfish(a)hotmail.com
Sponsored by Garfield Weston Award and the Kamloops Chapter of BC Sustainable Energy Association

Updated July 8, 2010: I received an email update from Joel Dyck. The Kamloops (& Kelowna) Garden Boxes is now on Facebook.

4 thoughts on “Kamloops Garden Box Project

  1. Sounds like a wonderful idea. I am interested as a senior living in small house on the North Shore with my husband. Due to physical problems I cannot garden as well as I used to. I have a small space where I could use a box if it raised the soil up so I don’t have to bend so much. I am thinking of using the Lasagne Gardening method as it is is ecologically friendly. All the best in your endeavors.

  2. I am very interested in having more than just planter boxes. Another friend and myself have been given a small 8X20 space in the back of our apartment complex, which needs soil an quite a bit of work. Would you be interested in working with us to build a tiered garden space, that would be must like your garden boxes? We both already have potted gardens on our deck, but the budget is very small and we need help building this. If you could even point us in a better direction, that would be great.

  3. Hi Natalie,

    That is wonderful you have an area for gardening. Your idea of tiered or raised beds sounds like a good idea. If your budget is limited, I would recommend doing raised beds this year and see how the garden goes. With raised beds you do not have to buy lumber, just pile up soil into raised beds. Have a compost area and get vegetable matter from some of the people in the apartment complex. A cheap compost system is a round of chicken wire. Call a local horse stable and ask if they will give you free manure. Sometimes this means doing some free labor like mucking out a stall.

    I am not personally involved with the Kamloops Garden Box Project. You will have to contact Joel Dyck at joelfish@hotmail.com and find out if he can give you some suggestions about starting a garden.

    I think you should just go for it. Don’t wait for extra advice. You will loose this season and the opportunity to learn. Start where you are. If seeds are an issue, I can give you some.

  4. Nice read. I have my own garden, and I was looking for this. Thank you!

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