Maplemarsh Farm is located on Amherst Island (which is located in Lake Ontario) west of Kingston, Ontario. The farm property is 20 beautiful acres on the Third Concession – immediately adjacent to the Sand Beach on the edge of Amherst Bay – of which about 9 acres is marshland. The marsh is lined, liked the roadside, with mature maple trees.
I am Terry McGinn, Maplemarsh Farm’s, uh… gardener.
Before Maplemarsh Farm there was my grandfather’s vegetable garden. It’s where I first got a taste for growing food. I can recall as a small child helping my grandfather plant corn and beans and then, after waiting what seemed like an interminable period (note: it still does) going back to harvest the bounty.
My grandfather had been gardening here since they bought the property in the late 1950’s. In 2013 his health had begun to decline and so he decided to forego a garden for the first time (also, 2012 had been a rough deer-ravaged garden season for him). It was then that I decided to take over the vegetable garden.
I made it bigger, almost 4 times larger than it had been. And introduced vegetables that had never been in my grandfather’s repertoire: eggplant, tomatillos, and onions from seed. It was by far the largest garden I’d ever grown. And while I’d managed to garden my entire life – where the existence of dirt allowed – it was a challenge; and a joy. The season ended up being quite successful and the garden produced to excess.
It was in this 2013 season that the idea to start market gardening began to take shape. It was clear that my grandfather’s health was not going to improve; and that my he and my grandmother would need help. So I decided to move back to the island full time in early 2014 and left my long-time retail job in the doing.
In 2014 again the garden grew. This time by double what it was in 2013 so that I was now gardening more than a quarter of an acre.
In 2015 the gardens have ballooned to a full acre, including sweet corn, 10,000 square feet of squash and melons, and 36 different varieties of tomatoes.