A Visit with Next Door Gardens
We met up with Jon Drageland of Next Door Gardens, an organics expert from Long Island, New York. Jon became interested in organic farming and healthy eating when his children were very young. He realized that it was important to his family to have access to a healthy and sustainable food source.
Jon and his wife learned all they could about the process of organic farming. They believe that the benefits greatly outweigh the time required to keep a garden. He highly recommends gardening as a family activity and believes that embracing a healthy lifestyle can be learned at a very young age. His children enjoy any and all time spent helping in the garden and he incorporates learning into most gardening activities throughout the year. As Jon put it, “The backyard garden is our classroom, and I get to be their science professor.”
Jon makes his own raised beds that are perfect for any size lawn and he customizes the gardens to meet the needs of his clients. He has a growing fan base among suburbanites who wanted to start gardening but have no clue on how to start. For most of his clients, Jon builds the gardens starting with the perfect soil and types of plants to meet his clients food needs.
His newest creation is his “Living Salad Bar,” a beautiful piece of outdoor furniture designed to look like a salad bar. In it, he planted arugula, romaine, merlot lettuce, as well as kale. “Gardens can be beautiful works of art,” he insists.
Jon is also an avid proponent of schools starting sustainable gardens to provide vegetables and fruit to the cafeteria.
“Not only would children benefit from healthy food options from the garden,” he says, “they would also learn many valuable lessons as they build and maintain a garden each season. Schools could incorporate science, health, and economics lessons as kids plan and work the garden.” Jon emphasizes that there are clear benefits to schools as well. “Schools would have continual access to organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs/ This would help offset the costs associated with maintaining a school garden.”
Next Door Gardens has appeared at organic farms throughout Long Island and was featured in the April 2015 edition of Natural Awakenings LI.
If you live on Long Island, and would like more information on how Jon can help you turn your dream of an organic garden into a reality, contact Jon at 516-474-3020 or DM on fb @ Next Door Gardens.