Kingston, Ont. front-yard garden to help feed those in need during COVID-19 crisis

A Kingston, Ont. man is hoping for a great growing season — he’s being selfish, but in a good way.

Plenty of growth means he’ll be able to share his crops with others, especially now that the city of Kingston, along with KFL&A Public Health, have argued that community gardens should be considered an essential service.

Anyone travelling on Carnaby Street in the city’s west end may have noticed a front lawn with a couple of large gardens taking up a good portion of that lot. Marc Hanes is an amateur gardener and environmentalist, and he also owns the property in question.

“I’m a fact-based, science-based kind of guy and I kept reading about how lawns are actually bad for the environment,” Hanes said, “and the amount of work you spend on your lawn to also not even be helping the environment, that sort of bothered me.”

For Hanes the space in front of his house now has a real purpose. He has a keyhole garden, which allows him to grow food in a tighter area. Right next to that he also has a hugelkultur, a gardening technique that uses logs and compost to grow plants in raised beds.

“The idea with this is as the logs rot, they release nutrients into the soil and it also becomes a spongy centre, so that soaks up with water and during low rain periods the plants can go down deep and it’s also a self-watering garden.”

Hanes had been planning the gardens well before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. The good growing season he’s hoping for may now end up helping those in need at this unprecedented time.

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“I do expect 80 or 90 per cent of it I won’t be keeping,” he said.

“We don’t have the capacity. I’m not an expert canner or jarrer, I’ll be trying to save tomatoes, but yeah, hopefully I get lots and hopefully there’s lots to donate because that’s the plan.”

A plan almost no one can argue with in these tough times.

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