Community of local gardeners share tips, tales online

WALLINGFORD — Gardeners with questions about when to plant peas, where to buy heirloom tomato seeds, how to top dress vegetables or what to do if your chickens start losing their feathers, might find Wallingford Community Farmers Facebook page to be a valuable resource.

The Facebook page was started three years ago by recreational gardener Ken Lloyd when he noticed more people getting interested in gardening and other small farm activities.

There was a void for this type of information, said Lloyd, adding that “I wanted to connect people, help others, and have people learn from one another.”

The Facebook page Lloyd started now has 2,000 followers. The private page is open at this time to those who live in Cheshire, Wallingford, Durham, Meriden, Middlefield, North Haven and North Branford.

“You do not have to be from Wallingford to be a member,” Lloyd said.

Members range from those just getting started in gardening to hobby farmers, to small non-profit and smaller-sized, for-profit farms. There also are a number of members who have animals, such as chickens, goats, or pigs.

His own inspiration for gardening comes from his father, albeit a little not in a straight-forward way, said Lloyd. His family lived in Southbury and his father had a huge garden. His father, however, never kept the garden up. That served to motivate Lloyd to do things differently with his own garden when he decided to “get back to the earth.”

Lloyd has a broadcasting background and self-identifies as a techie and social media person. He often livestreams on Facebook with tours to local farms and farmer’s markets. He posts about his own gardening experiences in his two 15 x 30 foot plots at the Wallingford Community Garden, a town space open to gardeners, no matter the town they live in. The community garden is located at Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park on East Center Street. 

Cheshire resident Ellen Angus calls the group her “go-to” whenever she has questions on gardening.

“I find great advice by professionals on lawncare, going pollinator friendly, finding out about invasives and more,” she said.

Members of the page often share informative and interesting articles, she said, including historic articles about farms in Cheshire.

“It’ a good local resource,” she added. 

Farms represented on the page include Cheshire’s Boulder Knoll Community Farm and Muddy Roots in Wallingford.

Boulder Knoll’s Hap Jordan said he found the page to be “friendly and helpful to anyone with a question or in need of info or recommendations. The posts are useful and I’ve usually had a fairly quick response from some members on whatever question I post. It feels like being part of a community,” he said.

“We love the farms when they post. We support those farms,” said Lloyd. “I want to see generational farms continue. I care about protecting farms.”

Lloyd is an organic farmer. His favorite sources for seed are Baker Creek and Comstock-Ferre. In addition to being a micro-farmer (farming in small areas), Lloyd works with hydroponics at his home. He then transfers over to soil planting once the season changes.

Last year was not the best for his outdoor garden plots.

“Too much rain and not enough sun and heat,” said Lloyd.

He foresees a better weather pattern for this year’s growing season.

Also, this year Lloyd wants to do “something different.” He has grown Moroccan watermelons, which are bigger than what is found in the U.S. He intends to raise the biggest watermelon and then enter it into the Durham Fair.

Those who live in a qualifying area can go to Wallingford Community Farmers on Facebook to inquire about membership.


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