We Are Connected With:

wellington federation of agriculture


aberfoyle farmers market


richters herbs

Growing up, a garden was just a part of life. What wasn't eaten fresh was blanched and frozen for use in the Winter. At the Market, many visitors ask about garden care. To answer some of those questions, here are some of our practices.


For impoving the soil, decomposed livestock manure and decayed plant matter (including tree leaves) are worked into the ground during the Spring. Cover crops are used in certain spots, reducing erosion and becoming decaying organic matter the next season. Sometimes chemical fetilizer is used for seedlings that are started indoors to give them an extra boost.

Handling Weeds

Gardening in a former weed patch can have its moments. Pulling by hand and using tools are the standard methods. Removing the whole weed plant makes sure the plant doesn't come back but it disturbs the soil. Growing up, a Dutch hoe was the main tool. For longer rows, I use a wheel hoe. Both are good tools when the weed is small and the roots are short. I've recently discovered stirrup hoes and use them in narrow places between rows. A well placed bonfire before planting can sometimes destroy the weed seeds in the upper soil. It's a hit or miss tactic. Any way you approach it, weeding is a practice that needs consistent attention. Plastic mulch has been handy in creating a barrier for weeds to get sunshine. Cover crops are being used inbetween plastic mulch rows to out compete weeds, hold the soil in place and be future organic matter.

One herbaceous pest that has been a big pain is black walnut trees. Their roots, leaves and branches carry a chemical that affects most garden plants. It causes the affected plants to have difficulty getting water up their roots, thereby causing the plant to starve or be stunted.


This can be a little trickier. It's good practice to scout plants for insects several times a week. It doesn't take long for a large family to emerge from a couple of visitors if they like what there is to eat. If they can be picked, putting them into a jar or can filled with oil or water will keep them busy. If they are squishable, you may want gloves. Sometimes the bugs will win no matter what. In that case, don't plant what they like. Sticky paper and phermone traps have been used with good success.

At market I've been asked about how insects can get to a balcony on the 12th floor in a condo. They can hitch a ride with the soil or take incremental flight from balcony to balcony. If there is nothing else to eat, they will make do with what they find.


Being close to a forest, certain creatures can make living in harmony frustrating. To prevent rabbits from feasting, chicken wire fencing is used. This must be tied tightly to posts to work well. For skunks, just give them plenty of vocal notice that you're in the area. Racoons have been a larger problem, hence we are not growing popcorn currently, though I'm sure if you asked one they'd blame it on the wild turkeys. In some cases, we give up trying to grow a certain plant as it's going to get destroyed no matter what (ex. brussell sprouts).


A horribly pest that is often discovered too late is disease. It can be a bacteria, fungus or virus. Tomato blight and basil downey mildew can be on the other side of the Great Lakes at the beginning of the growing season, but wind, time and moisture will make sure that they eventually get up to where we are.

Companion Planting

Companion planting is practiced to create benefits amongst plants and to avoid isues. Knowing it is important as some plants just do not get along (i.e. corn and tomatoes) while others are beneficial (i.e. carrots and onions). The benefits may be providing shade, a trellis, a deterent for insects or chemical interactions. Herbs are great companions, hence we practice it.

Know Your Soil

Soil type is important. Heavy soil has clay, which holds water well, but can be hard for root crops to push through. Lighter soil has sand, which roots can push through easily, but requires plants to have extra irrigation during dry spells. The pH of a soil is important too. Most plants like a soil between 6.0 and 7.0, so not to acidic and not to alkaline. How much soil is important. Some homes in newer developments don't come with much top soil. Soil is the nest, the refrigerator and the spa for all plants. Too little of it and it's not a good home for any plant. If you don't know, it's always best to take a sample to get it tested at an accredited laboratory.

So, we do a lot of practices that are the same as organic growers, but we are not calling ourselves organic. Make sense? Everytype of agriculture has its place and we're not taking sides. Our focus is on keeping what we grow distributed locally and giving an option to consumers for produce that is from inside of Ontario. Corwhin to be exact. How do you keep your food foot print small?


Pesticide, whether it's conventional, organic or magical it's expensive. If we can get by without it we will, but if the existence of a plant is in jeporady, there is only two directions to take.

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