Planting a permaculture food forest at Lakeside

“I wanted to do something to benefit climate change. Everyone says the best thing you can do is vote, but I don’t think that’s enough. I want to do more. I figured, having something where you’re planting trees and things that are absorbing carbon is a great way to do it.”

Dan Robinson, Volunteer Food Forest Steward

On Saturday November 9th around 20 volunteers, Queen’s students and community members gathered at Lakeside to plant, mulch and water 11 new apple trees, 2 chestnuts, 1 shagbark hickory, 30 berry bushes and 2 grape vines. These joined the 3 sour cherry trees, 3 pear trees and 2 plum trees donated earlier this the fall.

Wondering why we planted in November? Trees and shrubs grow most of their new roots (some studies say 80%) in the fall. Because trees and shrubs no longer have to make leaves, berries, shoots or flowers, all their energy can go into developing their roots until the ground freezes. And in spring, once the soil thaws, they can also put their energy into roots before it’s time to leaf out at which time their energy shifts to developing their leaves.

Eight students from Queens, from Engineers Without Borders, came to help, bringing with them coffee grounds from the Tea Room, inner tubes from bicycles and milk cartons to help plant the forest.

Councillor Jim Neill helped plant

Councillor Jim Neill brought his own shovel to help dig holes

Councillor Jim Neill, who put forward the original motion that made community orchards possible, joined us with his shovel to dig holes. 

We warmed up afterwards over a feast

The press came to see what we were up to

Read the Whig’s article here: Food forest project puts down new roots

Listen to Joyce Hostyn’s interview with Wei Chen on Ontario morning: Ontario Morning – Friday November 8, 2019 – Part 3 | Ontario Morning from CBC Radio with Wei Chen | Live Radio | CBC Listen starts at 3:45 minutes

Global News also covered planting day… they aired it on Saturday evening. I’ve heard it was a great piece, but didn’t see it.

Thank you so much to our wonderful sponsors

Our sponsors, with their incredible generosity and community spirit, made planting day possible. Thank you so much to each of you:

  • Burt’s Greenhouses for strawberries and herbs
  • Canadian Tire for 10 fruit trees (3 sour cherry, 3 pear, 2 plum, 2 sweet cherry) and 30 berry bushes (blackcurrant, haskap, goji berry, aronia berry and gooseberry)
  • Rideau 1000 Islands Master Gardeners for 11 heritage and disease resistant early, mid and late season apple trees (Redfield, Freedom, Greensleeves, Liberty, Norkent, Pristine, Rebella, Sweet Sixteen, September Ruby, Wolf River, Wynoochee Early
  • City of Kingston for a $250 donation
  • Riley’s Garden Centre for two grape vines (concord and muskat) and a red gooseberry
  • Ontario Hydro for keeping us supplied with load after load of soil healing wood chips
  • Bread & Butter Bakery for keeping our energy up with a delicious selection of baked treats