Nova Scotia

Common Roots Urban Farm grows its business, sells manure, plants

Cool spring temperatures aren't deterring urban gardeners in Halifax. There's lots that can go in the ground right now, say the folks at Common Roots Urban Farm.

'If you want a plot here, get your name on the list real soon,' says farm project director

Sarah Burgess and Jayme Melrose of Common Roots Urban Farm are shown with spring supplies on sale at the site. (CBC)

City gardeners are eager to get their hands dirty at Halifax's Common Roots Urban Farm.

The farm's 175 plots are all spoken for this spring and there's a 130-name wait-list, says project director Jayme Melrose.

"If you want a plot here, get your name on the list real soon," she said Monday.

Common Roots Urban Farm has plants ready to go into the ground. (CBC)

The farm, which is adjacent to the Halifax Infirmary site, sells vegetables and flowers in the summer. In spring, it sells gardening supplies such as manure, liquid seawood and plants.

Melrose said the farm's manure is a big seller.

"It's very well composted, weed free, medication free — good manure."

Small spaces can have big yields

Sarah Burgess, who works at the farm, is giving a workshop Tuesday on growing techniques for small spaces. 

"I'm mostly focusing on intensive growing, what you can grow in a four-by-12 plot using all the vertical space, timing, spacing. All of those details."

She said despite the cool temperatures, which drop below 0 C at night, there's plenty that can be planted now.

It's planting time at Common Roots Urban Farm, located adjacent to the Halifax Infirmary site. (CBC)

"There's a lot of stuff you can get in the ground now — peas, greens, radishes, summer turnips, those things can all go in the ground already.

Interest in the urban farm, now in its fifth year, keeps growing, says Melrose.

"Lots of people want to grow food for two main reasons. One is food is getting expensive, and two, lots of people want really healthy food so when you grow it yourself, you can make the freshest, healthiest food around."

There's a good feeling that comes from working with soil, Burgess added.

"You get to learn a lot about your relationship to the land. You learn the power of things to grow on their own as well as a stronger sense of how we are connected to the earth."

Common Roots Urban Farm is selling spring supplies such as manure, liquid seaweed and plants. (CBC)

With files from Amy Smith