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!
How does your garden grow?
We’ve come a very long way since we tucked the first fragile seedlings into our soil and carefully watered them in. Here’s what our garden looked like in June/July:
And this is where we are today, 7 weeks later:
Thanks to our irrigation, our plants have been able to not only survive the soaring temperatures but grow expeditiously as well. The sunflowers that were barely-visible seedlings in the first photo are approaching 5 feet in height, and our tomatoes are rapidly outgrowing their stakes.
Our carrots have been one of the most fun transformations to watch. Seeded on June 3rd, they first poked their leaves above soil about 10 days later.
In early July, the first true leaves started to appear. This was when things really started to grow.
We now have a veritable forest of carrot greens. This variety is called Purple Haze and will be very fun come harvest time; they have a purple exterior with the traditional carrot-orange centre.
We also got the go-ahead to extend the garden by half, and we spent two very hot and sweaty days doing so.
As you can see in the above photo, White Oaks also installed an absolutely beautiful pergola made from reclaimed white oak wood. This feature is made even more special by the addition of a huge harvest-style picnic bench crafted from black walnut slabs.
We also received the official signage for the garden, proclaiming our purpose and providing some background information for the curious spectator.
This project continues to grow and evolve each and every day. New ideas for improvements and expansions are in the works, and we’re very excited to see what this former patch of dust and despair can become!
Expect lots of updates in the next few weeks as we start collecting our first harvests!