Sustainable Garden Tour with Richard and Judith Woods
Albany Woodworks has strong roots in homesteading, reclaimed lumber, and sustainable gardening. Being good to the earth is something co-owners Richard and Judith Woods hold dear to their hearts. Even in the early days, Richard would find time to spend working in the garden.
Finding the beauty in nature
“It’s a good thing to come out here and find the beauty in nature. Starting a garden is like building a business, it takes love and patience to make it grow.” says CEO Richard Woods. “Richard is a great gardener, and I enjoy getting the garden ready with him every growing season.” says office manager and co-owner Judith Woods. “He can count on me to clear out the beds of weeds and help till the soil and find use for our bountiful vegetable harvests.”
And they both enjoy passing on the knowledge of sustainable gardening. “We have encouraged many of our customers who are into gardening just starting out.” A wealth of knowledge, Richard and Judith often share in the fruits of their labor. Handing out cartons of fresh grown produce to employees and customers alike.
“When zucchini or tomato season is at it’s peak, we have vegetables to spare and love sharing them with our customers.” says Judith. “It’s always a joy to see people’s faces light up when we give them a gift from our garden. It’s organic and sustainable too, so that is a plus.”
There is more than enough to go around when you put the care and research into growing a garden with sustainable methods. For the Albany Woodworks garden, that means beets, carrots of different varieties, or green beans with reclaimed cypress bean poles. Cabbage is grown every spring and with a clay fermentation crock and a few simple ingredients it is turned into sauerkraut. Another favorite is peanut season which yields boiled peanuts and fresh ground peanut butter in the fall.
Compost, sunshine, and rainstorms are the making of a great garden
“It starts with the soil.” says Richard. “Good soil is a combination of elements that are ideal for your particular climate and what you like to grow. Soil should also include minerals which you can get from compost and organic additives. Also earthworms do some of the work by liberating the minerals from the organic material in the compost and help aerate the soil.” Judith says “A garden is a complete Eco-system, all of the birds and bugs, and worms play a part.”
The secret to composting is thinking about what food waste you add in and combining it with the soil at the right time. What goes into compost at the Albany Woodworks garden is often coffee grounds, egg shells, and any vegetable matter. “You don’t want to put meat into your compost, only herbaceous material to help your compost system stay healthy.” says Richard. “And not putting chemicals into the soil is an important message to share. Not only can it pass into your garden produce, it can be carried off by rain and enter the ground water. There are a lot of rivers in this area, and every little bit helps to keep them clean and healthy.”
Food for thought
Sometimes thinking outside of the box can lead to new and unconventional solutions for keeping your garden organic and sustainable says Richard. “You would be surprised what ten minutes with a dust-buster will do for your garden.” Richard and Judith’s current organic methods of controlling unwanted pest include companion planting, spraying with Pyrethrian which is an elixir made of chrysanthemum and black-eyed susans, and for bigger bug pests a dust buster. “Trial and error play a big part,” says Richard. “Right now I have a few methods that are really paying off.”