Rural Alberta family weathers COVID-19 storm with beautiful garden

ECA Review/S.Salkeld

What’s a farm family to do while the coronavirus continues to affect rural Alberta life? Focus on the family garden.

Veronica and Walter Weber have spent many days and weeks labouring to build a beautiful garden located on the lot at 5206 50th Street in the town of Castor, Alberta.

Veronica said the idea for a garden came on the Weber family, who farm north of Castor, because of some pesky ungulates who were causing trouble at the ranch. Speaking at the garden Aug. 22, Veronica said she and husband Walter gave up gardening at the farm because they had too many problems with deer eating everything.

Looking around town, the Weber’s found the property with an old house and slightly overgrown foliage and had the feeling that with a bit of elbow grease it could be quite attractive. 

Walter said they were in for a ton of work on their new “rescue lot.”

The old house had to go first, but it wasn’t destined to completely leave the property. Veronica said they kept the old sandstone foundation blocks that aren’t unusual to see on the oldest lots in Castor. 

The sandstone blocks were used to beautify the garden.

More work was needed to get the garden into shape, about two years worth and many truckloads of debris. 

Then the gardening started. “It just kind of evolved after that,” said Veronica.

She noted the lot already enjoyed a number of big old trees, and the Webers tried to save as many of those as possible, plus a few new ones were planted.

Not only adorned with flowers and cherry trees, the Weber garden also produces for the kitchen table as well. 

Veronica said the family enjoys produce like beans and corn. The Webers even share some space in their garden with neighbours who grow vegetables too.

Coping with the coronavirus pandemic was easier than you’d think she noted. 

The garden kept the Webers busy during the lockdown and provided plenty of fresh produce that meant they didn’t have to go to the grocery store as often.

Veronica said she and Walter enjoy the time they spend together working in the garden, and feel it’s an important part of rural life. 

The couple stated they’re grateful for the opportunity to have such a beautiful garden because many other people don’t have that opportunity.

Veronica’s advice for those thinking about a garden? “Do it,” she said, adding the enjoyment is doubled by learning as you go.

Winner’s of the ECA Review’s ‘Like My Garden’ Facebook contest, Walter and Veronica Weber of Castor, Alta. sitting in their garden on Sat. Aug. 22. Readers can view their winning entry along with all the other entries on the ECA Review Facebook page. ECA Review/S.Salkeld


Winners of ‘Like My Garden’ contest

The attractive community of Castor now has another feather to place in its cap: it’s the location of the winner of the ECA Review’s Like My Garden competition, announced the week of Aug. 17.

The winner, with a total of 140 ‘reactions’, on Facebook was the entry by Veronica Weber, Castor, Alta. at 5206 50th Street with her vegetable garden.  

Honourable mentions go out to Barb McNabb, Tara Muhlbeier, Diane Beisel and Colleen Younger.  All gardens beautiful and creative in their own right!  

ECA Review reached out to encourage readers to shop local, said Yvonne Thulien, ECA Review manager.

This year was the ECA Review’s first ‘Like my Garden’ Facebook contest. 

Residents from the ECA Review’s distribution area were encouraged to submit photos of their gardens, whether it was a flower, vegetable or ornamental garden along with a little write up about what made their garden special.  

These photos were posted to the ECA Review Facebook page and readers were encouraged to ‘like’ their favourite garden with the winner taking home prizes that have been so generously donated by our own local businesses.  

As a newspaper, our goal was to connect our readers with local businesses that are right here in our backyard and are able to provide us with the goods and services we need while boosting our local economy by spending our dollars at home.

Local businesses, Ace Hardware, Oyen; Home Hardware, Castor and PJ’s Plantation, Tees, sponsored the contest to promote their gardening services and supplies.  

The Review would also like to thank local businesses,  PJ’s Plantation, Tees; Forsters’s Greenhouses, Forestburg and Sugar and Spice Gift and Garden, Provost for generously providing the prizes for the winners.

The ECA Review invites all to check out their Facebook page to view all the entries.

“We have enjoyed seeing the rewards of all the hard work put into these gardens and hope to see many more entries and business participants next year!” stated Thulien.


Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.


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