Plot to test nematodes

Does organic or chemical fertilizer work better?

This flower bed will be the site of an experiment in organic gardening in Qualicum Beach.

This flower bed will be the site of an experiment in organic gardening in Qualicum Beach.

Staff at the Town of Qualicum Beach always keep a sharp eye on the local flower beds. They take great pride in them, after all.

However, they’ll be keeping an extra close watch on the flower bed at Beach Road by the railway station over the next growing season.

That’s because the flower garden is going to be a test plot to see if the municipality’s gardens can be maintained in their award-winning form without the use of chemical fertilizers.

The test plot will be administered by Cultivating Soil Solutions, who will tend to the bed using only natural soil amendments. Town staff will shadow the work and document everything that takes place.

“We will see a process where we don’t use the fertilizers we are using today,” said public works superintendent Al Cameron. “This is organic and we need to assess it, compared to the commercially-available fertilizer we are using today.”

While the town passed a resolution to allow the experiment to take place, not all its members were equally thrilled with the prospect.

Coun. Jack Wilson, who has called the plan the “happy nematodes” method, questioned the move, wondering out loud if it would follow the pattern of the municipality’s cosmetic pesticide bylaw.

“Is there a plan to ban chemical fertilizers?” he asked.

Not so, said the mayor.

“There is no plan for a ban,” he said. “There is no other agenda. We just want to try it out.”

 

 

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