Jeffery Bernard waters rows of broccoli within the backyard subsequent to the Lennox Island greenhouse.
The backyard was there lengthy earlier than the greenhouse undertaking was launched by the First Nation group within the winter of 2020.
Bernard has been engaged on the backyard for about three years now — a job that teaches him so much, not nearly gardening however about many issues in life, he stated.
“My time right here within the final three years, I’ve seen I’ve grown with the greens.”
Bernard and different gardeners have been bringing that studying alternative to different group members. And so, the Lennox Island Greenhouse and Gardens has grow to be greater than only a place the place folks can get contemporary produce at inexpensive costs, but additionally a spot for training, he stated.
Throughout the faculty 12 months, college students from John J. Sark Memorial College visited the greenhouse and had been taught to do issues like weeding and planting seeds of cucumbers, carrots and beans.
In addition they realized the significance of consuming contemporary wholesome meals.
“A variety of them thought that [food] grew on cabinets in Walmart, the place now they understand that plenty of work goes into the meals that they purchase,” Bernard stated.
‘Much more those that need to eat wholesome’
Supervisor Mark Ellands additionally hopes the ability can encourage the group to devour extra contemporary and domestically grown produce slightly than mass-produced gadgets, he stated.
And he is glad to see there was an rising demand for the produce grown on the greenhouse since its first season final summer season.
“Final 12 months, meals would sit on the shelf ceaselessly. And now we discover this 12 months, there’s much more folks which are discovering extra about it and much more those that need to eat wholesome.”
Ellands stated he additionally hopes folks can be taught extra about sustainable gardening once they go to Lennox Island Greenhouse and Gardens.
Whereas the greens grown on the facility aren’t licensed natural, he and his workforce attempt to use natural practices, he stated.
“To me, it is very unnatural to place pesticides, herbicides, all that form of stuff down. Should you can mitigate it or stop it altogether, I imply, why not attempt? It is a bit bit extra effort, however it’s so rewarding.”
For instance, the workforce of gardeners makes garlic and peppermint sprays to take care of pests like cabbage moths.
“The cabbage moth, they will odor a brassica plant from miles away. So once you spray garlic spray on it, or lavender or peppermint or one thing like that, it completely adjustments the odor of the plant, and it makes it so much more durable for them to seek out the vegetation.”
The crew additionally grows completely different sorts of flowers, some to draw bugs already within the greenhouse and others to attract useful bugs that prey on these bugs, Ellands stated.
“Now we have marigolds in there, and marigolds appeal to aphids and spider mites. Now we have nasturtiums, which additionally appeal to useful bugs like lacewings and ladybugs to assist management the aphid inhabitants,” he stated.
“So it is form of like making a bit ecosystem contained in the ecosystem of the greenhouse.”
Conventional Medicinal Crops
In the meantime, Jeffery Bernard has one other imaginative and prescient for the ability: a spot the place folks can study conventional medicines.
He is planning on rising sweetgrass within the subsequent few weeks. The herb has already been planted in one in every of a number of greenhouses in Atlantic Canada that companion with the Lennox Island Greenhouse and Gardens.
“If they will do it there, I’ll try to do it right here.”
Bernard grabs the backyard hose and continues watering the greens — one thing he does twice a day throughout weekdays and on the weekend.
He finds it therapeutic, he stated.
“I fished for a few years. I used to be on the water for a few years and plenty of elders I’ve spoken to speak about getting again to the land and gardening being among the best methods to assist with stress, to assist handle PTSD or something thoughts -wise,” Bernard stated.
“I discover that for me, coming in right here, it simply brings me again to nature and I get power from the land.”