COVID-19 Action Plan

At the behest of the City of Calgary Parks Department and the Renfrew Community Association, the Renfrew Community Garden is providing this COVID-19 Action Plan:

While the Renfrew Community Garden is open for business and while the COVID-19 restrictions are in place, gardening members and visitors are expected to follow these requirements:

  • DO NOT attend the garden if you are feeling any symptoms of cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat.
  • Bring your own gardening gloves to wear on site.  You may wear your own personal protective equipment (PPE) although it is not a requirement.
  • Bring your own gardening tools.  Multiple touch items such as garden tools have been removed from the storage bin.
  • Respect the physical distancing requirement; maintain a minimum distance of 2m between members and visitors.
  • Respect the (current) maximum mass gathering size of 15 people.
  • Practice good hygiene: wash hands for at least 20 seconds before and after visiting the garden, cover coughs and sneezes, and avoid touching face at the garden.
  • The water tap, hoses, spray wands and the hose reel are available for use.  Members will be required to bring your own disinfectant to the site to clean these items before and after use.  Avoid passing the hose back and forth between other members.  Wear gardening gloves while watering.  We will continue to store the hose on the hose reel in the storage bins when not in use.
  • The Renfrew Community Garden will rely on gardening members to socially monitor themselves and others while visiting the site.  There will be no additional supervision or monitoring of the garden.  If you notice that members or visitors are not respecting these rules, please approach them, welcome them to the garden, and remind them that the rules must be respected.
  • Members and visitors must be aware of their children’s touching and activity at the garden and take measures to avoid touching surfaces including garden beds.

The Renfrew Community Garden is an open site, there are no fences or barriers to limit access to the garden.  However, the garden is very small (only 27 beds) and in a remote corner of the community and regular traffic levels are normally very low.  The open concept of the garden design easily allows people to maintain physical distancing.  For these reasons, we will not impose additional measures to restrict access to the garden site.

All of the above restrictions apply to the use of benches.  For that reason, the Renfrew Community Garden will not close down the benches and picnic table.

The Renfrew Community Garden is located in a remote corner of our neighbourhood and there are no buildings, washrooms or hot water within accessible distance.  Therefore, hand washing stations will be provided during organized Work Bees only.

Work Bees will be limited to 5 people which is organized with a sign-up sheet.

Composting Plan for 2020

The composting plan for 2020 is as follows:

Bin 1: Fill with a 3:1 ratio of brown (carbon) material, and green (nitrogen) material. When this reduces in size by half, or the temperature gets above 160°F, the material will be turned, or moved into the second bin.

Bin 2: This bin will be locked and only used when material from Bin 1 needs to be turned/moved and left to compost further.

Bin 3: This bin will be locked and only used when material from Bin 2 needs to be turned/moved. This will be the final stage and usable compost will come from here.

YES material to add to Bin 1:

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps/leaves
  • Weeds/flowers that have not gone to seed
  • Grass clippings, leaves, straw, shredded newspaper, paper or cardboard

NO material to add to Bin 1, please add these to the city’s green compost bins instead:

  • Weeds/flowers that have gone to seed
  • Large, fibrous material like sunflower stalks and corn cobs
  • Animal waste
  • Household green material including meat, dairy, fat, grease or oil

Compost Managers, Jon and Rebecca, are responsible for monitoring the bin temperatures and moisture level and will add water, turn, and move compost as needed. Materials they need to complete this are a thermometer, pitchfork, rake and shovel.

There is a RCG Compost log that will be updated by the Compost Managers, available for anyone to view here:

There may be a need to collect additional brown material, like leaves and dried grass clippings, to ensure the 3:1 carbon to nitrogen ratio is maintained. This will be addressed as the growing season continues.

Meeting Minutes & Garden Orientation – April 16, 2020

Location: Online ZOOM Meeting
Starting Time: 7:01 PM
Ending Time: 8:20 PM

In attendance:  Kelly, Borden, Christine, Corianne, Crystal, Heike, Jon, Laura, Lindsey, Lesley, Mikki, Rebecca, Tamara, Amber, Darren, Luiza, Tyler, Lisa
Quorum: Yes

Last meeting minutes approved: Yes

Meeting Proceedings

The Garden Orientation began with introductions.  The bylaws were reviewed with a focus on safety, bed maintenance, keeping the isles between the garden beds clear and clean, composting and the volunteer commitment.  Garden roles were reviewed and all members were asked to keep in touch with these managers throughout the season as issues/problems arise.  Managers are not personally responsible to do the work under their purview but to bring the necessary tasks forward to be done at the Work Bees.

Compost Managers – Jon & Rebecca

Rebecca & Jon are going to put together a more detailed compost policy for this season including what can go into the compost, what the rules are for each of the compost bins (1 through 3), and the watering plan/schedule.  We will post the plan on the blog, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Tyler volunteered to add the LID SUPPORTS to the compost bins 2 & 3 to match bin 1.

Compost bins will need to be watered as per Jon & Rebecca’s plan  –>  this is critical to the success of composting this summer.

Lindsey suggested we buy a compost thermometer.  A compost thermometer has an extremely long probe that reaches into the depths of a compost pile.  The temperature range indicates how active the compost pile is… the target temperature is 120-170F and at that temperature, in perfect conditions, usable compost an be generated in as little as 4 weeks!  Knowing the temperature of your compost heap can help decide what treatments are necessary to improve the conditions for composting.  I

Site & Grounds Managers – Leslie & Corianne

Edible Tree Forest Manager – Lisa

Garden Correspondent – Rebecca

Membership Coordinator – Amber

Chair – Lisa

I want to thank each of these managers for taking on the extra responsibilities!

Because of COVID-19 we can’t meet in large groups… so we can’t meet for a plant & seed exchange.  However, members are welcome to use our social media to safely exchange plants & seeds this spring.

Donation Bed:  Lisa will take on donation bed #1.  Potatoes, carrots and onions are in the plan for food donation.

Historical Bed:  Mikki will take on planting the Historical Bed which will be used for public picking.  Any extra seeds/seedlings would be welcome!

“Heike’s” Sign:  Heike’s sign is the barnwood sign hanging on the north side of the garden.  It needs to be re-sealed.  Any volunteers?  Heike has the sealant you will need.

Rebecca mentioned the “Alberta Native Plant Council” grant for $1000 which I found at  Applications for the 2021 Small Grants Program can be submitted from January 1 to February 28, 2021.

Mini Projects:  Please have a budget and a plan submitted to Lisa before May 1, 2020 if you would like to manage a mini-project at the RCG in the 2020/2021 year.

WORK BEES:  Work Bees are limited to 5 volunteers in order to respect the COVID-19 imperatives.  Please check your email for the link to the sign-up.

No old business.
No new business.


Firstly, we hope all of you, your family and friends are well at this time and wish you all the best in the weeks and months ahead as we navigate our way through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently, the Renfrew Community Garden is open.  We encourage and trust our members to respect the COVID-19 guidelines set out for us.  As of today, these requirements are to:

  • respect the physical distancing requirement; maintain a distance of 2m or more between members and visitors
  • respect the (current) maximum gathering size of 15 people (exceeding this limit could result in fines)
  • practice good hygiene: wash hands often for at least 20 seconds, cover coughs and sneezes, and avoid touching face
  • DO NOT attend the garden if you are feeling any symptoms of cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat.

In addition, I will ask members to do a little extra each time you visit the garden to keep things looking good, especially if we are unable to hold our scheduled events as planned (any changes to the event calendar will be announced).  Please report any issues requiring maintenance or special attention.

Critically, we will need to have our water service started by the City of Calgary; I’ll let you know when that happens.

Please check in regularly for updates to the RCG status.  Our next scheduled event is April 16, 2020 which is our Garden Orientation & RCG Meeting… but I’ll have to let you know if we will be holding or cancelling this and future events.


Meeting Minutes – February 21, 2020

Location: Renfrew Community Association Hall
Starting Time: 7:01 PM
Ending Time: 7:40 PM

In attendance:  Corianne, Leslie, Billie, Gordon, John, Rebecca, Lisa
Quorum: Yes

Last meeting minutes approved: Yes


Big Thank You to Amber, our Membership Coordinator!!  Amber organized the online payment system with Dennis (RCA Board of Directors) with great success and has been single handedly keeping up with the demand for memberships!

Big Thank You to Rebecca, our Garden Correspondent!  Thank you for all of the articles in the Renfrew Reflections, even through the winter months!  Thank you for keeping the Renfrew Community in the loop with our news and activities!

  • Membership Report – Amber reports that there are 23 beds claimed for summer 2020 and 4 beds available.
  • Garden Correspondent Report – John submitted the report on behalf of Rebecca.
  • Budget Review – The 2019/2020 Annual Maintenance Budget was circulated for review.  This budget expires on May 31, 2020.
  • Bylaws Review – Everyone is encouraged to read their “RCG mission statement bylaws registration rental agreement” and offer any ideas for edits/updates/improvements for the Bylaws review scheduled for October 3, 2020.
  • Summer Schedule Review – The summer schedule is posted at and will be kept up to date through the summer.
  • Volunteer Commitment (5 hours) – Volunteer contributions will be tracked this year, in all fairness to the members who come out to volunteer often.  Members can build their volunteer hours by attending the scheduled Work Bees.

Emerging Interests

A plant/seed exchange will be coordinated for the Garden Orientation scheduled for April 16, 2020.

Garden Roles

The following wonderful gardeners have volunteered to handle the Garden Roles listed below.  They will be responsible for monitoring the status, needed maintenance and issues related to their areas of responsibility.  If the the work is too much to do immediately, they will help to coordinate it for the next Work Bee.

Compost Bin Managers – John & Rebecca

  • Compost Bin Managers are responsible for monitoring the compost bins for required maintenance, watering, mixing, etc.

Site & Grounds Managers – Leslie & Corianne

  • Site & Grounds Managers are responsible for monitoring the entire garden grounds at a high level, gravel maintenance/weeding, garbage, lawn care, etc.

Edible Forest Manager – Lisa

  • The Edible Forest Managers are responsible for monitoring the in-ground beds, weeding, tree care/pruning, deer/hare protection fencing, etc).

Garden Correspondent – Rebecca

Membership Coordinator – Amber

Chair – Lisa

Current Maintenance Issues

Some work is still needed on the compost bins (hinges, new locks, lid supports (so that the lids don’t flop backwards into the tree forest).  This will be coordinated for the first Work Bee.

Donation Bed

The members who attended the meeting voted unanimously in favor of retaining a bed for food donations.  The planting of the bed will be planned and coordinated (so please contact Lisa if you’d like to contribute seeds or seedlings).  The bed will be marked with a sign and then watered and weeded by all of the members throughout the summer.


If anyone would like to take on a small project between June 1, 2020 and May 31, 2021, let Lisa know right away and we’ll work it into the budget.  I will have to submit a budget to the RCA by May 1, 2020 (+/-), so it would help me a lot if you could submit to me a plan and budget by April 1, 2020.

Fall 2019 – Composting Bins Analysis

On November 2, 2019, at our Autumn Cleanup a few of us got together for an ad hoc conversation about the compost bins.  Earlier that day the gardeners had turned the compost.  It was brutally hard work… and after all that, we discovered that at the bottom nothing had composted!

It was determined that the most probable cause of our “failure to compost” was the exposure to prevailing winds.  The compost was simply bone dry.

This is our plan for summer 2020:

Bin 1 – We will keep the compost level to a manageable amount and not allow the compost bin to get too full.  When it gets too full, we’ll lock it.  We will TURN and WATER this pile.

Bin 2 – We will top this bin up with greens all summer.  We will WATER the compost DAILY all summer.  We will NOT turn this pile.  This bin will not be locked.

Bin 3 – We will leave this bin empty until we need it for city compost, etc.  This bin will be locked.

At the end of the summer we will evaluate the success of the composting program at the RCG and see where we go from here.

Meeting Minutes – November 2, 2019

Time:  approximately 10:00 AM to 10:20 AM
Where:  Renfrew Community Garden
Attending:  Leslie, Amber, Sam & Nate, Roxanne & Kevin, Rebecca, Corianne, Kelly, Lindsay, Sean, Tyler, Christine, Lisa

Quorum:  Y

Elections were required to fill the position of Chair for the Renfrew Community Garden.  Lisa Mulder was voted in by acclamation.  Amber will continue doing Memberships.  Thank you Amber!

Discussion followed regarding RCG memberships for spring 2020.  According to the bylaws, existing members have until January 31, 2020 to retain their same raised garden beds.  After January 31, 2020 any unclaimed beds will be available on a first come, first served basis.  A bed is officially claimed when the Registration Form is completed, signed and submitted along with the fees.  A current RCA membership is also required.

Discussion then moved to RCG membership payment methods.  Currently cash or cheques can be made payable to the Renfrew Community Association and delivered to Amber (Membership).  It was suggested that online payments would be excellent for members.  Lisa said she’d bring the suggestion to the RCA Board of Directors.