Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Moncton (New Brunswick) African garden prospers in hot, dry weather

Members of Moncton's African community have been trying for three years to grow some native plants in their community garden, but with this year's drought, the plants are doing really well.

Charles Tabena, originally from Congo, has been working on the Africamani community garden next to Moncton’s Mapleton Park for a few summers.

“You can see those plants over there ... they call them lenga in African language,” Tabena said.

His friend Gary Mpunge says about 20 families got together three years ago to try to grow African plants typical of Congo, Zaire, Togo, Burundi and Rwanda.

“No you can't really buy that in the store and the closest place you could find this is probably Montreal or Toronto, so that's a pretty long trip for some veggies,” he said.

Mpunge says his family sent him the seeds to plant, during the two previous summers, short seasons and rain made it difficult to get the garden off the ground.

That all changed this year with the dry and hot weather.

“This is the best year for them as you can see. We have harvested for most twice already,” Mpunge said.

Mpunge says the garden allows the African community to get together, and it's a taste of home that brings back memories.

He hopes to organize an open house this fall to let others taste the African plants.