It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That’s when you get into the garden and see it’s transformation from dark and quiet to colourful and pregnant with potential. I am no expert when it comes to gardening. I basically learn as I go. Thankfully there are super resources, Youtube videos and garden experts around to call upon. I want to share a couple of things I have learned and, also mention some excellent providers in the Beaver Valley region.
I have nine raised vegetable gardens that are 4 feet by 10. I also have some flower gardens that I now see as having potential to grow food! Interspersing herbs and other edibles in the flower gardens is efficient, extends capacity for producing food and it’s beautiful. I think anticipatory planning is key to food production. What do you want to make in the Fall? What do you love having in the pantry or freezer when winter sets in? It’s all about planning. This year, for example, I want to expand my tea collections so I have planted more chamomile, lemon balm, orange bergamot and lemon verbena along with various mints. The other thing I’m focusing on this year is bush variety of tomatoes. I still have a couple of vine varieties but I wanted tomatoes that were easier to manage. I’m excited to see how they grow and produce.
My retired vet, Linda, from the Meaford area, starts my seedlings for me. She’s active with the Meaford Garden Club and has a lovely farm where I go to pick them up along with a dozen free range eggs. I have also picked up several tomatoes, vegetables and plants from the Grange Hollow Nursery in Desboro. This is my first time at this gorgeous family-run nursery. It is worth a visit just to take in the beauty. A friend of mine runs the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Food Forest in Owen Sound which has in excess of 65 raised beds. Teresa put me on to Grange Hollow. She is also growing multi-coloured Hungarian hot peppers for me. If you haven’t visited the Food Forest, you should. It is incredible and has a wonderful labyrinth to walk through.
Growing and locally sourcing food is all about joyful connections. I love connecting with the earth and connecting with people in the region who are as passionate about growing, producing, preserving the foods we eat. It’s about building a resilient community.