Follow our progress: White Oaks Project – Part 3

Check out Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE.

Welcome to our garden! We are Meghan & Mackenzie, a Research Associate and a Research Assistant from the Niagara College Agriculture & Environment Research and Innovation Centre. In May of 2016, we started a project in conjunction with White Oaks to turn about 4,000 square feet of scrubby, rocky, roadside turf into a lush, sustainable garden capable of supplying a small farm-to-table restaurant. Impossible? Watch and find out!


Irrigation system installed!

Now that we have our irrigation system installed, and the mulch and soil laid out, we can start planting! Thank you to the fine people at Greenscapes Irrigation for the installation!


Time to Start Planting!

With the garden built, the mulch paths laid out, and the irrigation installed, we have everything we need to start planting! The first day of planting included: Tomatoes, Okra, Artichokes, Shiso, Anise Hissop, Sunflowers, Kale, Carrots, Marigolds, Eggplants, Nasturtium, Cock’s Comb, and Tomatillos. More plants to follow!



It’s been suggested that plants will grow better if you sing to them or play some pleasant music. These little bean sprouts seem to be doing just fine with their semi truck serenade! We will be sowing another batch of beans every ten days or so to ensure a steady harvest.



This is what happens when you have too much of a good thing. After a few weeks of running our irrigation system, we started to notice that our mulch was retaining a lot of water despite the hot, dry, and windy conditions. (Thankfully the wonderful folks over at Greenscapes Irrigation came to dial it down as soon as we reported the problem.)

Aside from the obvious issue of turning our workplace into a marsh, too much irrigation can also make for lazy plants. When surface water is readily available, roots don’t need to dive down deep in search of moisture. If the water supply dries up suddenly, the plants lack the ability to draw water from deeper in the ground and can suffer damage as a result. Small seedlings such as the carrots shown above will need a little extra love until they have established, but don’t spoil them too much! A strong root system is key in producing prime produce.

Keep up to date on Meghan & Mackenzie’s progress by following and by using the hashtag #growwithniagara