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W9864e Letter to Editor from Hamilton Spectator.
Mar 10 1943
To: The Hamilton Spectator.
From: K. Evans, 98 Tuxedo Avenue South, Hamilton, Ont.

Letter to Editor

Community Gardens1,2

To the Editor; I am very much interested in the plan for backyard gardens or community gardens in the city of Hamilton sponsored by the committee under the chairmanship of Mr. H.P. Frid. At times like the present our motto should be "No idle hands, no idle hands". Our city might become a garden city with no vacant lots full of weeds. I do not know what plans Mr. Frid's committee has in mind for the coming season. I would like to suggest to his committee that the school children be included in the plan. In the summer of 1939 I carried out an experiment with the children of our neighbourhood in order to find out how well children would do in gardening. At first my plan was to limit the experiment to about 20 children. To my surprise, when this number was filled, more and more children kept coming and asking very earnestly to have a garden plot. Many of them would say: "Dad is growing some prize flowers or prize vegetables in our back yard and let me have a garden of my own." When I realized their earnestness I did not have the heart to turn them down. It meant more work for me, but the experiment developed into an extremely interesting undertaking. We had taken over six vacant lots, with the permission of the owners, and about one hundred young gardeners worked and produced all kinds of vegetables and flowers. During the corn-on-the-cob season, Jackie took home some cobs from his plot for mother to cook. Mother told him she had never tasted such good corn before. Mother was right, because Jackie's corn seed was from the best eating corn and because he worked it and watered it well. He had already made plans for the following summer and asked if he could have a larger plot - he intended to grow a great deal more vegetables for mother. Many such testimonials of success were brought to me by the children.

My conclusions from the experiment was that most children make good gardeners under given conditions. These conditions are: 1) a chance to have a garden plot: 2) some assistance is required where the necessary effort is beyond the child's strength: 3) some assistance in planning the garden is required where the child has not had any experience, 4) the children emulate each other and love to work in groups, therefore, children's gardens should be in groups; 5) and a very important factor is the interest and appreciation of mother, dad or teacher shown in the child's effort and success; 6) success at the first attempt tends to create and perpetuate interest in gardening; 7) children should have complete freedom in deciding as to the vegetables or flowers they wish to grow; 8) in their desire to be successful they will readily seek advice, which, if given in a friendly and sympathetic [sic], is readily accepted and applied.

During the coming summer many families with children will not be able to leave the city for holidays because of the severely restricted conditions of travel imposed by the war. The work and interest in a garden will help with the supplies of food: will use constructively the pent up energy of the young bodies of the children; it will give their minds an education in nature study and agriculture which no classroom could give. Above all, the children will feel proud to be the soldiers on the food production front, contributing to the war effort, according to their ability.

K. Evans
98 Tuxedo Avenue South, Hamilton, Ont.

1 This clipping was attached to letter no. W9864d (986.1.075.1) to Matt Broman. See also a second clipping W9864f (986.1.075.3).

Matt Broman worked very closely with Thomas B. McQuesten on many of his projects in Hamilton and in Niagara. There is a plaque commemorating Matt Broman's work at the RBG near the Thomas B. McQuesten High Level Bridge. There is also a small lookout park named after him on the brow overlooking King's Forest Park in Hamilton. The series of letters beginning with "986" are all part of the Broman collection.

For more information on T.B. McQuesten see his biography.

For other persons mentioned in the letters or for various plants and trees, search by name.

2 document was originally numbered 986.1.075.2 but has been renumbered for cataloguing purposes.

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Copyright 2002 Whitehern Historic House and Garden
The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
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