Green thumbs from around the region gathered in Elmira Wednesday evening at the First Street Community Garden to get a few tips and advice on how to grow a truly organic garden.
“Having an organic garden does not simply mean that you don’t use pesticides,” explained community gardener Jeff Windatt, who organized this week’s event, ‘Introducing the Organic Backyard.’ Although coined The Organic Backyard, the session covered a wide range of options for growing food on a small scale in an urban setting – at home, in a community garden, in a park or on reclaimed urban land.
Led by Cathy Hansen from Canadian Organic Growers, the session was a guide for gardeners to apply the principles and techniques of organic production to build healthy soils, grown healthy food and achieve a higher level of food independence.
This garden is one of two in Elmira and hosts seven gardeners, each owning a four-by-four-foot plot in which they are free to plant fruit and vegetables. There are vacancies at the plot, said Windatt, and plenty of room for new or experienced gardeners to plant.
“It’s a great way for people to have access to a plot where they might not otherwise, if they live in an apartment or condo.”
In addition to the produce, local gardeners share advice and ideas.
“People experiment with growing all sorts of things,” said Windatt. “Sometimes they succeed, and sometimes they fail but they’re constantly learning.”
Those interested in renting a garden plot can contact Kelly Christie of Woolwich Community Services at 519-669-4210. Plots cost $15 per person to use the land for the year.