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Pandemic project: Calgary company develops eco-friendly garden kits

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Growing your own veggies is something a lot of Albertans have gotten into during the COVID-19 pandemic. As Gil Tucker shows us, a Calgary couple has come up with a kit to get you started to garden in harmony with Mother Nature – Jun 22, 2022

Growing your own veggies is something a lot of Albertans have gotten into during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now a Calgary couple has come up with a new do-it-yourself kit to get you started on the path to garden in harmony with Mother Nature.

Lee Martineau and his wife Stephanie Mondin have started a company called Doug Gardens, which delivers the boards, soil, compost and mulch needed to build a garden.

Read more: COVID-19 pandemic has Calgary gardeners planting more veggies, ‘growing their own food’

“It’s in our DNA to grow our own food,” Martineau said.

Martineau hasn’t always thought that way, having worked in recent years in construction and other fields. But his attitude changed when he got laid off after the pandemic started.

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“I had never had an interest in growing at all,” Martineau said. “But after I watched my two young toddler boys pull carrots out of the garden, I decided that was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Calgary gardening centres ramp up deliveries during pandemic

It’s a decision that came as welcome news for Mondin.

“I’ve been a lifelong gardener,” Mondin said. “To get Lee inspired to garden was a beautiful thing for me.”

Martineau has taken major steps to pursue his new passion.

“Now I’m doing a horticulture degree at Olds College,” Martineau said.

With his newfound passion, Martineau is encouraging all Albertans to go green in their gardens.

Read more: How to water and maintain a healthy garden

“Pulling nutrients from the ground, dropping them down, pulling them up, dropping them down, the same way that Mother Nature does it,” Martineau said.

Martineau and Mondin delivered one of their garden kits Wednesday to the northeast Calgary home of Marlene Rybicki, who was excited to get started with their own growing.

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“Playing in the dirt is actually very good for your mental health,” Rybicki said. “It smells like a farm in my backyard.”

Since starting their business in early 2022, Martineau and Mondin have sold about 60 of their Doug Gardens kits to customers around Alberta.

But Martineau added that even as a local business, they still struggle with those global supply and demand issues.

“Even now, as we come out of COVID, there are still supply chain issues,” Martineau said. “We have to become a little more self-sufficient.”

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