26 June 2012

A not-so-secret garden in Quebec City

Thanks to long hours of hard labor, and a grand vision, the gardens of Domaine Cataraqui will soon be restored to their former productivity.

I just found out about a really neat urban agriculture project here in Quebec City.  Interestingly enough, it is the only publicly accessible urban ag (aside from community gardens) in the city, according to the project director.
That is in sharp contrast with the efforts of organizations like Garden City Harvest, MUD, and the Missoula Community Food Co-op, back in Missoula.  Coincidentally, this garden just so happens to be located at the same place that the Cultural Interlude was held, about a month ago.

Domaine Cataraqui’s restoration is nearing completion, and the garden is the next step in that process.

Even better, I think this will be a fantastic location to do some sketching!  Every corner I turned, every building I saw, looked like great material for the sketching binge I'm on.  But, it will have to wait until I get back from Montana...it's raining here right now, and I leave Thursday for two weeks of family fun in the Wild West.

Here's the scoop, and some photos.  For complete details, check out the QCT article I wrote about this neat garden project (page 3).

The Les Urbainculteurs crew hard at work, transplanting fennel, planting carrots, and installing trellis for pole beans. 

  • An historic estate which is now a public park
  • Soil cultivated from 1850s-1970s, then left "feral" for four decades
  • Partnership between heritage site and local nonprofit (Les Urbainculteurs)
  • Heirloom varieties of vegetables from France, the U.S.A., Canada, Spain and Mexico; over 30 varieties of tomatoes alone
  • 0.32 acres of public organic garden in a public park
  • Two century-old greenhouses and concrete cold frames that still work
  • ...it's just splendid!

**NOTE: Later in the summer, I came back here with some local sketching buddies, and we had a great time.  See for yourself: Sketching the harvest at Domaine Cataraqui


Guest said...

This is pretty cool.  I wonder if the soil is in better or worse shape after 40 years of not much going on?

Bethann said...

Good question!  I didn't ask that specific question, but I did ask what it took, generally, to get the soil in shape for this season.  It sounds like they did a lot of work, and added a LOT of compost.

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