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

Food forest planting day Saturday November 9th

Planting day at Lakeside Food Forest

Join us Saturday November 9th at 10:00 am to help plant a food forest at Lakeside Community Garden.

If you’ll be joining us afterwards for a hot lunch, please fill in this poll so we know how much food to have on hand.

What we’re planting

  • 11 apple trees: Redfield, Freedom, Greensleeves, Liberty, Norkent, Pristine, Rebella, Sweet Sixteen, September Ruby, Wolf River, Wynoochee Early (we tried to choose a variety of heritage or disease resistant early, mid and late season apples)
  • 20-30 berry bushes: blackcurrant, haskap berry, goji berry, aronia berry and gooseberry
  • 2 grape vines: concord and muskat
  • 4 nut trees: chestnut, shagbark hickory and maybe a black walnut or bur oak

What else we’ll be doing

  • protecting our new apple trees (foam insulation or mounding sand to protect the graft then tree guards)
  • protecting the larger pear and sour cherry (bring wire snippers as I’ve salved some old wire hardware cloth)
  • staking our bare root trees
  • working a bit more on the paths into the nut orchard, fruit orchard and the south west welcome garden

Dress warm, the high is zero degrees!

Thank you to our supporters!

Thank you to our supporters:

  • Rideau 1000 Islands Master Gardeners for 11 apple trees
  • Canadian Tire for 10 fruit trees (pear, plum and sour cherry) and 30 berry bushes
  • City of Kingston
  • Riley’s Garden Centre for two grape vines and a gooseberry
  • Burt’s Greenhouses for strawberries and herbs
  • Ontario Hydro for keeping us supplied with soil healing wood chips

New insights into compost by Colette McKinnon

Harris Ivens, Plant Biologist of Grounded Business Solutions offers workshop participants new insights into compost

On a beautiful fall Saturday morning at Lakeside Community Gardens, Harris Ivens, from Grounded Business Solutions, a plant biologist and expert in the field, shared his approach to composting.

People with varying levels of gardening experience were on hand to listen, learn and begin a compost pile. As a novice gardener, I have done my best to summarize the key points below in a format familiar to many of us, and hopefully practical and covering the key points.

What is compost

Think of compost as free fertilizer! You take organic material such as kitchen scraps, garden debris, coffee grounds and leaves grass trimmings, build a pile and add a couple of magic ingredients that help beneficial bacteria, fungi, worms and other organisms to turn it into a nutrient-rich fertilizer.

Compost ingredients

  • 1 part green matter (chop up large pieces using shovel as you add). Greens include vegetable and food scraps, fresh grass clippings and yard waste, coffee grounds, tea bags and egg shells (dry & grind eggshells).
  • 5 to 10 parts brown matter (chop up using shovel as you add). Browns include dried leaves, grass, mulch or hay, cardboard rolls, sawdust, shredded newspaper, hair, fur, clean paper and wool or cotton rags.
  • Magic ingredient: a generous sprinkling of soil (< 1 part). Soil has the microbes (soil fauna) that will do the work as well as the minerals your plants need to be healthy!!! Soil also helps ensure your compost pile stores carbon rather than releases it to the atmosphere.
  • Water: Generous supply of water. You can leave the hose running as you build the pile.

How to build a compost pile

  1. Collect and store brown material to use as needed.
  2. Plan the location of your compost pile. Ideally it should be in a sheltered area, say under a tree or near a hedge, to retain moisture and so microbes can migrate over into the compost pile.
  3. There should be space to be able to turn the pile it at least once.
  4. Start the pile with a layer of sticks or woody plant stems like sunflower or corn stalks heavy-duty stems to allow continuous air-flow (oxygen is another magic composting ingredient)
  5. Begin to build your compost pile in the ratio described above
  6. Depending on the height of your pile, you can occasionally layer in additional woody material to keep oxygen flowing
  7. Ensure a good soaking of water. You should be able to pick up a handful of material from anywhere in the pile and when you squeeze it, get about one drop of water. (Water is a distribution highway for microbes in the compost).
  8. Monitor the pile: Continue to add water periodically as needed.- Conduct the “smell test”. Place a stick into the middle of your pile. If it stinks it should be turned. (Turning helps redistribute the microorganisms that are doing all the decomposing)
  9. Your compost is done when there are no more earthworms and your “smell test” come out sweet

Composting tips

  • To avoid attracting rodents make your compost pile unattractive to them by chopping up and spreading out any food that may entice them and keeping your compost pile in “good working order.” Encourage decomposition as described above.
  • To manage excessive flies, add more soil
  • To help retain moisture (the soil microbiology need moisture to do their work) cover with an old “ratty” tarp, that allows water and air flow
  • If your compost is high in carbon because of where, when and how it was built and you think it needs additional nitrogen, mix a nitrogen source like bone meal into the finished compost and then let it sit for a few days, making sure it’s well watered and covered with the “ratty tarp” mentioned above to let the soil biology go to town on them
  • To manage weeds which may remain viable in your compost, mulch after applying your compost with woodchips or straw.
Microbes hard at work

Note: If you are working with manure, weeds or other pathogens, heat will be important to creating a healthy compost. This process requires a more complex approach

And the most important tip of all

And one final tip from Harris:

“there are really no rules to composting except that it smells good and you are having fun!”

~Harris Ivens

Work bee, planting day & potluck

Workbee is Sunday October 27th

We’ll meet at Lakeside on Sunday October 27 from 10:00 am until approximately noon (or until we’re tired) to prepare the ground for planting day.

What’s we’ll be doing during the workbee

  • Preparing mounds & moats for our apple trees (we’ll give you the scoop on why we’re creating mounds during the workbee)
  • Wrapping hardware cloth around the 8 fruit trees already planted to protect them from critters over the winter
  • Creating a new path & second fruit tree circular planting area

Compost workshop

And remember we have a compost workshop on Saturday October 26 with compost expert Harris Ivens. Learn the secrete ingredient to creating amazing homemade fertilizer for home or garden.

Planting day Saturday November 9th

Saturday November 9, 10:00 am – noon (rain date, Sunday November 10, 10:00 am – noon)

What we’ll plant:

  • 11 apple trees (each a different variety)
  • 2 sweet chestnuts
  • 2 grape vines (which we’ll prune after we plant)
  • aronia berries, haskap berries, blackcurrants, goji berries and schisandra vine (5 flavour berry), gooseberry
  • nuts!
  • black & honey locusts (to feed our fruit trees)

Then we’ll eat:

After we’re done planting, we’ll celebrate over a meal at 764 Meadowood Road in Collins Bay. We’ll have enough vegetarian soup and spelt sourdough bread for everyone, but if you’re able to contribute a potluck dish, bring it with you.

Thank you to our supporters!

  • Canadian Tire on Princess Street for the 30 shrubs and the plums, cherries and pears
  • Rideau 1000 Island Master Gardeners for the 11 apple trees
  • Burt’s Greenhouse for the strawberries and herbs
  • Riley’s for the grapes and gooseberry

New insights into compost: workshop

great compost is teaming with soil fauna

Think you have to keep turning your compost pile to make great compost? Think again… composting is easier than you thought!

Learn how to make your own great compost rich in beneficial microorganisms and nutrients. 

Have you always wanted to compost but not sure of the dos & don’ts? Learn from an expert! Join Harris Ivens, Plant Biologist of Grounded Business Solutions to learn how to create rich fertilizer for your garden.

We’ll introduce you to the missing ingredient from most compost piles, talk a bit about soil biology, and cover ways of increasing the rodent resistance of your compost pile.

Care for the soil. Care for Earth. 

Part of a workshop series sponsored by Lakeside Community Garden’s Forest Garden. You’ll also get to see our fledgling food forest and learn how you can get involved. A Master Gardener from Rideau Thousand Islands Master Gardeners will also be on site to answer general gardening questions. 

Workshop details

When: Saturday October 26th from 10:00 am – 11:30 am

Where: Lakeside Community Garden (next to Centre 70)

What to bring: We’ll build a compost pile during the workshop so please bring gloves. And please save your kitchen waste and bring it with you. We’ll need the kitchen waste for a high nitrogen layer.

Cost: FREE, but donations to help us purchase fruit trees for a food forest are appreciated!

About Harris Ivens

Harris Ivens completed a masters degree in biology comparing plant and soil microbial responses to changes in water and nutrient availability. He is a past faculty member of the Sustainable Agriculture Program at Fleming College and provides farm business, biological soil and plant management consulting. Harris has been consulting for organic and conventional farming operations since 2010.

Lakeside open house: workshops, work party & pizza

Join us on Saturday September 21st for Lakeside Community Garden’s open house.

Planting the strawberry patch

Workshop: an introduction to fruit tree guilds

A fruit tree guild is an edible plant community with a fruit (or nut) tree at the centre. Learn how to combine multi-functional plant species in layers to create a beautiful plant community that not only provides you with food, but supports pollinators and birds, stores water, improves soil fertility, increases pest resistance and captures carbon.

10:00 – 11:30 am

Garden work party and free pizza for volunteers  

Join us in between workshops for a free pizza lunch and to help with garden jobs including mulching pathways, weeding and turning compost. Please bring reusable water bottles and gardening gloves.  

11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Tomato seed saving workshop with KASSI

Kingston Area Seed System Initiative is growing beautiful heirloom tomatoes at Lakeside. We will be on hand to demo tomato seed-saving so you can save your seeds too! There will also be tomatoes for tasting.

1:00-2:00 pm 

Public consultation: Lakeside Edible Orchard

Dan planting raspberries at Lakeside Community Garden this spring. Lakeside Edible Orchard will be bursting with raspberries, haskap berries, sour cherries, Saskatoon berries, aronia berries, goji berries and more along with many different varieties of fruit tree.

City of Kingston of sponsoring a public consultation of the proposed Lakeside Community Garden Edible Orchard

PUBLIC CONSULTATION

Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 4-6 p.m at Lakeside Community Garden, behind Centre 70 (bring a chair or blanket) or Centre 70, 100 Days Rd. (6-8 p.m., rainy day back up)

________________________________________________________________________________

You are invited to attend the public consultation session on Lakeside Community Garden’s proposed Edible Orchard. The objective of this public consultation is to:

  • Provide background information on the benefits of community orchards and operations
  • Let residents know how they can participate in the establishment of and become a member of the proposed orchard
  • Provide residents with an opportunity to ask questions and voice their support for or concerns about the proposed community orchard

What is a Community Edible Orchard?

An edible orchard is the community led planting, management and harvesting of fruit trees, nut trees and/or shrubs.

Project Background:

The Lakeside Community Garden group have been working with City staff and the Kingston Community Gardens Network to assess the design, function, and costs associated with the development of an edible orchard.

Purpose:

This consultation is to provide an overview of Lakeside Community Garden’s Edible Orchard proposal and discuss its benefits, impacts on the surrounding community, and how the community can get involved.

This meeting is a great opportunity to voice your support or raise any concerns you may have about the proposed garden. The group plans to break ground and implement the garden this summer.

Date: Wednesday, September 25, 2019; Time: 4-6 p.m.

Location: Lakeside Community Garden, behind Centre 70 (bring a chair or blanket)

Rainy day back up: 6-8 p.m., Centre 70, 100 Days Rd.

Those who are unable to attend are invited to submit their comments in written form by noon on Wednesday, October 9, 2019 to Lilith Wyatt, Community Gardens Network Coordinator at gardens@lovingspoonful.org

Lakeside Community Garden contact: Please feel free to contact the garden via Joyce Hostyn at 613-893-4107 or joyce_hostyn@yahoo.com if you have any further questions or would like to become involved.

City of Kingston contact: Lynda Breen, Recreation Program Supervisor, 613-546-4291 x1705, lbreen@cityofkingston.ca