The Portage Elora Youth Garden Project had a fruitful inaugural summer, keeping many residents busy. In addition to establishing the physical site of the garden, residents built a temporary fence and added scarecrows to help keep the foraging wildlife at bay. This was by far the biggest challenge as the deer, rabbits, and groundhogs in Elora were HUNGRY!
With the help of these defences, the garden produced a wide variety of vegetables. This year’s crop included yellow and green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, spaghetti squash, and zucchini.
The garden project proved to be a calming physical activity for the youth. It also improved many of the residents’ sense of responsibility, accomplishment, and self-sufficiency. Staff members in Elora plan to expand this project and add an ‘End of Season Pizza Party’ to recognise the hard work and efforts of the youth.
As this season ends, plans for next year are already being developed, which include building a permanent fence, designing and building a compost, and establishing a formal garden club. Also, since one of the project’s goals is to educate and increase awareness about the nutritional benefits of organic produce, plans are already underway to include field trips to local farms and horticulture centres.