SOUTHINGTON - The new greenhouse at Lewis Educational Agriculture Farm, recently approved for construction by the Town Council, is expected to be up and running this spring if nature cooperates, said owner Mark Ramsay.
“Now that we’ve been approved by the Town Council, we’re just lining up some final bids and waiting to finalize things with the town,” said Ramsay. “We can’t break ground if the ground is frozen up. But, we’re hoping to get started this spring.”
LEAF, located at 65 Blueberry Lane, is farmland that has been in Ramsay’s family since the 1700s. Since 2014, it has provided educational opportunities for local youths. Ramsay said that he works with children ranging in age from kindergarten to high school, as well as post-graduate special needs students who he teaches life skills and work experience.
LEAF currently has seven active greenhouses. But, this new one will be the first that allows Ramsay to continue growing and running his programs through the winter months.
“The problem is that during the winter, the daylight is too short,” he said. “It’s a neat thing for kids to learn – they probably don’t realize that the reason plants shut for the winter is the lack of daylight. We will artificially light this greenhouse, which allows us to keep growing.”
Ramsay said that agriculture students who visit LEAF go through the whole growing process from seeds to vegetables.
“They learn about the whole life cycle of the plant,” said Ramsay. “We also teach them about some of the newer growing techniques such as grafting and hydroponics.”
Ramsay said that, recently, LEAF has been growing some unusual plants. These have been helping the farm to develop a following at the town’s annual farmers market.
“We’re always looking to try new and different things and see what the public likes,” he said. “Last year we started growing popcorn, which should be ready by this spring. We’re also growing kohlrabi (German turnips) and sand cherries.”
For more information about Lewis Educational Agriculture Farm, call 860-919-6127 or visit leafct.com.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.