ADVICEBURG: Dear Lunenburg County Gardener



(Illustration: Will Maclachlan)

People often dream of living in a cooperative community. Well, Anne Macleod Weeks did for 40 years. As a teacher, dorm parent, guidance counselor, coach, principal, and advisor to faculty and parents in boarding schools, she pretty much experienced all that life can throw at you.  She welcomes your questions and concerns.

Submit your questions for Anne at thebarnacle.ca/advice and receive guidance in next month’s Barnacle!

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Dear Anne,

I am working to incorporate edible plants into my front garden. There is a day care across the road, as well as many children on our street. I’m a relatively new gardener myself, and would like the front garden snacks to be enjoyed by all without being over picked. How do you recommend I invite and educate our street goers to harvest sustainably?

– Landscaper In Lunenburg County

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Dear Lunenburg County Gardener,

I am so happy to hear you want to do this! Anything we can do sustainably is helping not only ourselves but also the environment. I hope if you have extra produce, even an extra pepper, you will also consider donating to the food bank. 

One thing that is quite different with growing edibles in a front yard is having to worry about pollution and animals, since the produce will be eaten. I don’t know how close the road is to your garden, but to avoid any contamination from vehicle exhaust, you will want your edibles to be closer to your house than the road. 

Secondly, dogs like to pee on plants, as you know, and cats will use available dirt as a litter box. And, of course, there are the ever-present deer. With this in mind, you should probably consider raised beds or containers for the edibles. If you want to see something done well, you could look at the garden behind Chicory Blue General Store in Blockhouse or ask David Jarvis of the We Feed Lunenburg FB Group for guidance. David has amazing gardens on his property and is a wealth of information. He is happy to help anyone who needs guidance and won’t charge you a thing. You can message him through the FB page. It would also be best to get covers for the raised gardens to keep the deer off the plants. There are lots available online: 10 Best Covers. If you decide against raised beds, have your soil tested for contaminants before planting.

Some great edibles for raised gardens that also are pretty: blueberries, kale, chard, eggplant, mustard greens, chives (my favourite), peppers, and dwarf fruit trees (you can always check with the Exotic Fruit Nursery In Centre). 

Finally, for sharing? Arrange for the child care to have a tour of what you create and guide them in eating. You could also create a small stand with baskets to put harvested edibles in for people to take. Personally invite your neighbours to come over to see what’s available. The best part of your idea is how it can build community in your neighbourhood. 

One last resource: Edible Plant Front Garden Ideas.

Happy Gardening!

Anne


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