Tag Archives: organic vegetable garden

Wanna be Old McDonald for a day?

Entrance to Stratford Ecological Center

Entrance to Stratford Ecological Center

The Stratford Ecological Center, located between Powell and Delaware off Liberty Rd (map), is perhaps a well-kept secret in southern Delaware County. If you would like to have your children experience farm life or learn about the relationship between living things and their environment, you should check out everything the Center offers.

The Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to the education of children and adults in understanding relationships between living things and their environment, thereby fostering an appreciation for the land.

Organic farm buildings

Organic farm buildings

The Center consists of 236 acres that includes a 95-acre nature preserve, a working organic farm, 3 miles of nature trails, a native plant prairie, vernal pools and a maple sugar woods.

They have a variety of crops and animals as well as the normal wildlife creatures like birds and bees.

There is also a community building where classes or meetings are held. They offer numerous programs for the public, some of which are:

Education Center

Education Center

    • Children’s Farm & Field Trips for school and youth groups
    • Farm Camps (ages 3-12) where kids can become a farmer for a week taking part in chores, gardening and nature studies.
    • Family Programs such as monthly story time, maple sugar festival, fall harvest fair and more.
    • Outreach Program where the Center makes presentations on beekeeping, organic gardening, wool spinning.
Free-range chickens

Free-range chickens

  • Farm Products are available for purchase such as fruits, vegetables, eggs, and frozen meat (beef, pork, lamb), honey and maple syrup.
  • Volunteers are welcome to serve as farm or nature guides, farm hands and gardeners.
  • The Center can also be rented for meeting/conference space.

Since the Center is non-profit and doesn’t receive state or federal funds, they welcome all donations. If you would like a great opportunity to teach your children about nature or if you would like to learn more yourself be sure to visit their website for more information.

Growing a vegetable garden … the surburban way.

One thing I’ve been noticing recently are the number of suggestions the media is providing to help people save money, not only on gas but on groceries. Of course, the food/grocery issue also concerns avoiding the more frequent problem we’re having with “bad’ food.

The Gen X’ers and Gen Y’ers that are being interviewed sometimes mention that they’ve decided to shop at local farm markets or start their own garden … as if this were a revolutionary new concept!

I hate to break this to them, but NOT having a garden is a more recent concept than HAVING one!

I grew up in a tiny town in Knox County. My parents always had humongous gardens, in two different locations on their 10 acres. They grew every sort of vegetable that could be grown. Going through the Burpee catalogs in January was a major project for them.

The large garden nearest the home was planted with those items that either required more constant care or could be harvested daily like lettuce, radishes, peppers, corn, tomatoes, spinach, beans, beets, cauliflower, broccoli, and yes, brussel sprouts! (they aren’t so bad fresh out of the garden!)

The even bigger garden was planted further away in a field close to a small stream where the soil was extra nice. This garden was planted with things that needed lots of space to spread out, like melons, pumpkins, squash, pickles, cucumbers and potatos.

Mom made me help with the garden. Like going to Sunday School, I had to be REALLY, REALLY sick to avoid either one. There was just no getting out of it! 🙂 Once the food was harvested, it was prepared to either be canned or put into the big chest freezer that were common then.

With today’s subdivisions, it might be harder to have a garden of any size, except for a few tomato or lettuce plants. Most subdivision’s deed restrictions forbid planting “crops”. If you want to switch to growing a portion of your own food supply, you might consider buying a home located in a township.


Need some professional advice on gardening? Read these articles from a Scotts® expert: