The Gleaner

Ormstown 4-H learns about traditional Indigenous gardening techniques

At our garden club meeting for Ormstown 4-H on April 3, we had a guest, Silver Bear, a seed saver and gardener from Kahnawá:ke. We decided as a club to grow the Three Sisters this summer and he came to teach us how to do that. He taught us a lot of other things as well, like how they braid corn in the fall to keep it, and the six different kinds of corn (sweet corn, pod corn, popcorn, dent corn, flint corn and flour corn). He also taught us about the three different kinds of squash: Pepo (small pie pumpkins, acorn squash and zucchini), Moschata (butternut squash) and Maxima (Hubbard, Jumbo Banana).


Members of the garden club meet with Silver Bear a seed saver and gardener PHOTO Ormstown 4 H


My favourite part, though, was when he talked to us about when to plant crops according to the moon cycle. You turn the ground and prepare your beds or do weeding during the “Wax Off” moon. The new moon is when you plant things that are green, like lettuce and spinach. During the “Wax On” moon, you plant things that bear fruit with seeds on the inside like zucchini, tomatoes, beans, squash and corn. And during the full moon, you plant all the root vegetables like potatoes, onions and carrots, as well as transplant things you started indoors, and flowers that grow from bulbs.

Silver Bear says all you have to remember is “Wax on, wax off, and the rest will follow”. I am looking forward to starting my garden with the Three Sisters: corn, beans, and squash, and trying his advice for when to plant the other things in my garden.

Keith Quinn
Ormstown 4-H

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