West Coast Gardener – Bill Morgan: Raising Gardens & Harvesting Health

by Jo Barnes | photos by Amanda Cribdon Photography

His above ground garden boasts fragrant, firm vegetables and colourful fruit bursting with flavour. How is it that an 88-year old hayseed from the prairies has been so successful with this garden?

Brentwood Bay senior, Bill Morgan, has spent a lifetime as a gardener and landscaper, and now is offering others the opportunity to build and enjoy their own raised bed garden system to grow their own food. “I wanted to create a garden bed in which you can grow nutritious food,” shares Bill. “I wanted to get others started and then mentor them.”

“The Morgan System of Raised Bed Gardens” consists of a yellow cedar base with polycarbonate bindings and a structure built up and over it that features rebar and conduit framing. “Yellow cedar can last up to 30 years; it is tough and gnarly,” comments Bill.

Netting or heavy polypropylene covering is attached so that the garden bed is protected from both outdoor elements and pests. Most of the materials are locally obtained.

“I can get many materials wholesale from a local source,” says Bill. “The netting is from a Quebec supplier, and I sell it off the roll to customers. The polycarbonate for the ends of the box is also from a local source.”

Bill’s gardening system include the sources and costs of materials, a two-hour instruction session on assembly, and valuable information on plants and growing tips.

His system and approach represent not only 30 years of design and application of ideas but a lifetime of gardening and farming experience.

“I grew up on a farm and came out to B.C. in the 1940s,” says Bill. “My first job was cutting lawns. Eventually I went into complete landscaping in the 1960s.”

Bill operated a successful residential and commercial landscaping company for many years. He enjoys sharing his expertise, and can offer valuable advice for both novice and seasoned gardeners. An example is preparing the garden for the winter season.

“Most important is to cover over the garden beds so that rain doesn’t leech anything out of your garden. You can use plastic and staple it on,” says Bill. “Also, micronutrients are important. I use North Sea kelp meal.”

Whether it’s pulling up potatoes, harvesting apples, turning over compost, or a host of other activities to maintain his garden, Bill is on the go and knows the rewards of his labours.

“Working in the garden; it’s great exercise,” notes Bill. “And, you can see and eat the results of your work!”

With the arrival of the pandemic, Bill has also seen an increase in gardening as an activity.

“I think COVID-19 began changing our way of thinking,” says Bill. “People have had more free time and have turned to gardening.”

This gardener knows not only the pleasure that comes from gardening but the benefits for personal health.

“The food that you take into your body; it’s important,” shares Bill. “For 30 years, I’ve been trying to get people to grow their own food.”

Positive response has been coming in for Bills’ garden beds. “People love them!” shares Bill.

The pathway to a healthy lifestyle can seem confusing and difficult, but this local senior offers a way for people to begin that journey in their own garden.

For more information, contact Bill at 250-652-7720..

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