| D&D Market Garden
by Donna Kizlyk
Hello, I am Donna Kizlyk and, along with my husband, Don, we operate D&D Market Garden, a small certified organic market garden located in the Wadena–Kelvington area. Our farm is 220 km east of Saskatoon. We designed and built our own house, in which we cook on a wood cook stove year round.
After we married, we worked in Regina for several years and moved to the farm in April, 1989. We had been travelling back and forth every weekend and found we liked being on the farm far more than living in the city. Don was raised on a farm about five miles from where we currently live.
We started growing vegetables in 1995 and became certified with the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) in 2001. When Canada received its own certifying body, we switched our certification to TransCanada Organic Certifications. We have now been certified for over fourteen years.
Our vegetables are mainly heritage varieties. We grow multiple varieties of some vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and beans. Some varieties are grown for specific purposes, flavours, and uniqueness. We consciously make the decision to allow a plant to grow where it is best suited and match these varieties to the different micro environments on our farm. For example, we have converted an old barn yard into a garden site, at the east end of the yard, which is much warmer than anywhere else, because of the trees that surround it. We have found that beans, cucumbers, and chard grow better there than anywhere else we have tried to plant them. A second site is situated behind Don’s woodworking shop which provides shelter from the north wind. We have other garden sites scattered throughout our fields.
We find that cabbages, for example, do best when planted on a hilltop where they can catch the breezes, and this also helps control cabbage butterflies. Being organic, we do not use pesticides or herbicides. One of the ways we control the cabbage butterflies is by applying a sugar solution to our plants when we first start observing the little white butterflies flying around.
We do not use herbicides, but must remove the weeds manually. Don is extremely inventive and has made many small automated pieces of machinery from unrelated pieces of equipment. These inventions take most of the back breaking labour out of looking after the gardens. For example, we have a machine that we lay on to weed the plants, especially when they are young, and that can also be used to harvest some vegetables. He also has another machine that we use for transplanting onions and cabbages that we can also use for harvesting some vegetables.
Don constructed a storage facility for potatoes, onions, beets, carrots, and cabbages, allowing us to store our vegetables well into the next season. The humidity and temperature are controlled by using fans in the early fall and late spring, and heaters when needed, such as when the temperature drops to -40ºC outside. It has a concrete floor and metal siding outside and inside. This makes it much easier to clean at the end of each season.
We grow about ten acres of vegetables, which are located on our home quarter, with the rest of the land put into alfalfa/timothy grass for hay. Our neighbour cuts the hay for his cattle, which provides us with some revenue. The hay crop contributes to soil building and attracts pollinators such as bees and other insects. We have a half-section across the highway from our home quarter that is mostly devoted to wildlife. There is some hay production on this land, but the majority of it is devoted to wildlife such as moose, deer, geese, and ducks.
We do farm-gate sales as well as selling through the online website, thefarmerstable.ca. We deliver into Regina to a central pick-up location the first Saturday of each month, and into Saskatoon the second Saturday of each month. We also sell to a couple of organic grocery stores in Regina. We would welcome visitors who would like to see how and where their vegetables are grown.
We have really enjoyed our time on the farm. We enjoy the nature we see every day, such as moose wandering around our gardens in the winter, supplementing their diet with whatever vegetables have been left in the field. In the summer, we have a variety of birds and small animals. At night, you can see the stars and the northern lights when they are out.
Donna Kizlyk is a retired SaskPower employee, and is looking forward to gardening full-time with her husband, Don. She enjoys reading in her quiet time. To contact them, call 306-338-2986 and/or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.