Local Bed and Breakfast owners Gary Jurkiewicz and his wife, Doris, have recently joined the Plant A Row for the Hungry program. Using non-traditional methods in his garden, Gary has employed worms to help him make all natural fertilizer. At the Oakwood Inn, not only can you find a historic building but also worms hard at work! Learning about the PAR program at the Logan’s kickoff event at the end of March and also through his neighbor, Sharon O’Neil, Gary converted his simple flower garden to a fruit and vegetable garden nearly two months ago. Looking out for the environment and his guests at the Inn, Gary mentions “the Inn has always [been a part] of the green movement and sustainability- even before we took over in 2001- and we also wanted a home grown garden for our guests.” Growing strawberries, carrots, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, and turnips (when the squirrels don’t get them!!), Gary grows crops for himself and his guests, but also for those in need. An herb garden, pomegranate tree, and peach trees also add to Gary’s garden; raspberries are soon to come!
Utilizing a drip irrigation system, which saves water, the fruits and vegetables are also nourished by a natural fertilizer known as worm castings- or worm manure, if you will. Converting trash into natural fertilizer, only organic products can be used in the worm containers, no dairy products or meat,
“…you look at your garbage in a different way- this is what Mother Nature normally does,” Gary said.
With no chemical runoff, Gary uses a simple pH meter to test his soil for acidity. The combination of natural fertilizer with the drip irrigation system ensures that Gary’s crops are not only environmentally friendly, but they are also produced in a careful manner. “It’s been a trial and error run so far…” Gary mentioned, but by and large, his garden is flourishing! Many thanks to Gary and Doris Jurkiewicz for their hard work and dedication to the PAR program!