Locally-grown foods are trending as one of the best sources of nourishment and sustainability. If a family isn't growing their own garden each summer, they must seek out healthy foods elsewhere. In Weyburn, about 200 families (and counting) have found their source - Weyburn Veggie Girl, Amy Moore.
Moore, who lives on the outskirts of Weyburn with her partner Colton Tochor and their two young daughters, has been gardening only three summers. However, by their second summer, Moore said she found herself giving food away. This year, she submitted a proposal to the R.M. of Weyburn for the purpose of growing, harvesting and selling vegetables to the citizens of Weyburn. She was approved and began distributing as Weyburn Veggie Girl.
Tochor, in addition to his day job at SaskPower, also takes responsibility for many of the horticultural aspects of the business.
"He's the planner, starter, builder, composter, tiller and irrigation man," said Moore. "He is just as dedicated to making 'Veggie Girl' a success as I am."
Long before spring, garden work begins for Moore and Tochor.
"We start the majority of our plants from seed in January, in our mini green house," she said, noting that they planted most of the seedlings in the ground in early May.
The couple grows dill, spinach, lettuce, carrots, four types of tomatoes, three types of peppers, four types of onions, beets, chard, five types of potatoes, cucumbers, peas, sugar snap peas, parsnips, turnips, radishes, three types of corn, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, zucchini, pumpkins, eggplant, scarlet runner beans, green and yellow beans and edamame beans. Asparagus is also being established this year.
Moore does not use any chemical fertilizers on her garden, but she does use natural fertilizers with the custom-built irrigation system designed by her partner. She noted that Tochor operates the irrigation system, which pumps water from their well, in the evenings.
Compost is important and is one of the many ways the couple ensures plenty of nutrients in the soil.
"I get a little bit discouraged when I see people who fertilize their gardens and they have beans four times the size of mine. But mine taste better. The taste quality is not comparable to a fertilized garden. It's just a lot slower growing, when it's not chemically-fertilized, but people have been patient and that's all that matters."
Keeping up with filling orders is an ongoing process. Moore said she realizes that she is just one person.
"I can't feed all of Weyburn," she said, noting that more people should try their hand at gardening.
"I was never 'taught' how to garden, but I grew up always wanting a garden of my own," Moore explained. "Colton and I both enjoyed helping our grandparents in the garden, well maybe not 'helping' as much as eating!"
Moore credits Lucille Klein, Maureen Lutz-Brumfield and Juana Sidloski with their help in her garden adventure, which has included great tips, ideas and weeding.
She admits that not everyone is cut out for gardening and that it is not for folks who are afraid of real work - work that needs to be done whether one feels like it or not. According to Moore, it is worthwhile all the way.
"Something we both want to instil in our children is being self-sufficient," she said. "The hard work it takes to have a successful garden is so worth the satisfaction of being able to eat produce all year, whether it is fresh, frozen or canned."
"Even my black, dirty, cracked, bleeding, calloused thumbs are worth it," she added. "It's all worth it!"
For more information about Weyburn Veggie Girl, feel free to email Amy at tocmoore2...@gmail.com.