On our first drive through The Great Northern Peninsula back in May we immediately noticed what looked like garden plots squeezed in along the main road. There would be 2 or 3 together often fenced in with an assortment of logs and boards or sometimes with netting. As the temperatures warmed up into June we started to see people working in these roadside gardens cultivating the soil into neat rows and getting ready to plant. Some of these plots were a great distance from any houses or populated areas and we weren’t sure how these remote gardens came to be.
Our interest in the gardens and gardeners was peaked and after asking around we found out that most of the plots that we were driving past were started in the late 1960’s when the highway was constructed. Up until then gardening had been a challenge due to the lack of plentiful and fertile soil along the coast. However, when the major road was built the dirt was piled up alongside the road where it could be put to great use in growing the main Newfoundland crops of potatoes, cabbages, and turnips.
Many of the roadside garden plots that we viewed use the Lazy Bed method of planting, which not only looks really neat and organized but is also a great growing method suited for the climate of Northern Newfoundland. As with Newfoundland’s trash bins we greatly enjoyed gazing at the variety of roadside garden plots as we explored the area. In most areas that we have traveled through gardens are often hidden behind house and barns, so we really enjoyed the opportunity to view the uniqueness and creativity of these roadside gardens.