By Lane Gwinn
The Times 

Onyx Farms welcomes kids from The Club


Lane Gwinn

A group of kids visiting Onyx Farms at BMS, are given seeds, instruction, and encouragement from founder Adreas Castellanos.

DAYTON-Kids from The Club in Dayton will participate in community gardening this summer at Onyx Farms at Blue Mountain Station. Last fall, the Port of Columbia leased the 1/2 acre plot next to the BMS nursery to Andreas Castellanos to create a community garden.

Castellanos described the Onyx Farms on FaceBook as "a community effort to connect people to the soil and each other by growing various crops. A learning process for all involved."

In May, he invited the public to participate in farm days to help till, shape beds, and direct seed.

Initially, he planted a wide range of vegetables, including lettuce, spinach, onions, potatoes, and corn. Later this season, watermelon and pumpkin will be added to the garden's bounty.

Castellanos said this first year at the farm has been an experiment with successes and at least one weed-induced failure. Weeds contributed by birds and well-watered by a sprinkler system, took over a section planted with sunflowers and corn. With lessons learned, Castellanos has planned some changes for next year.

Extending the planting season, Castellanos will put up several high tunnels (temporary ground-level greenhouses,) a drip irrigation system, and a row of trees to create a windbreak along the highway.

The community garden is open to the public to share in the work and harvest through October. Participating is free, bringing novice to expert gardeners together to harvest fresh produce as they build this new community resource.

On Wednesday, June 29, the young farmers from The Club arrived to help in the garden. Planting went very quickly, leading to a more robust period of weeding. Harvesting consisted of sampling a few raspberries and a lot of rhubarb.

The kids will come out Wednesday mornings during the Club's summer program to tend to their rows of seedlings and learn about many aspects of gardening. To get the most out of this opportunity, The Club has asked for donations of garden tools, including big and small shovels and hoes, water cans, and all sizes of gloves. Donations can be dropped off at The Club, 528 W. Cameron in Dayton.

For more information about The Club's activities Onyx Community Farm can be found on Facebook.


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