By Laura Fox, photo editor [email protected]
Sitting just north of UVU in Orem Utah, one family is trying to make a difference in the way they eat, as well as educating others on the benefits of growing local food and conservation by giving tours of their lush Woodhead Gardens. Logan Lyon manages his small business as a handy man and sells his plant starts, soil, heirloom seeds, and hand-built garden accessories out of the driveway of his family home. The front of this house doesn’t look too different from the other homes in the area, with the exception of a huge grapevine spilling over the garage. His signature red solo cups filled with soil he made using worms, dirt, and kitchen scraps are now growing healthy herbs and vegetable starts that the local community is planting in their own gardens at home. Logan is a very passionate man when it comes to food. “Woodhead Gardens was born from our passion for good organic, home-grown food. We are 3 generations of urban gardeners…growing up my dad loved to garden, but he would use miracle grow and pesticides. I wanted to be as organic as possible.” Managing his huge garden is a permaculture system including aqua-phonic systems, living soils, solar energy, composting, water reclamation, and natural pest control.
Almost every inch of the back yard, fence, sides of the home, and even the roof is filled with hand crafted wooden planters with edible plants growing in every direction. Things like tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, amaranth, lettuce, violets, chamomile, squash-etc. all from heirloom seed. Different types of grapes dangle from the top of the roof, and a large apricot tree is set in the cobbled patio. A small white rabbit hops along with the tour as well as a waddling brown duck, each playing their part in the garden. The rabbit eats organic material, and the duck eats the snails. The gardens are watered with recycled pond water from many mini ponds and a couple of larger pools. There are gold fish and Koi in the ponds and their waste doesn’t go unused. As water is pumped into the hundreds of tubes and barrels, fish waste goes with it to the plants, and the final chemical break down form is nitrogen, which is what makes plants strong and enables growth.
Logan wants to give others the knowledge he has because he feels like it’s being lost. He knows not everyone can garden like himself, but he says, “you have to start somewhere. I did!” When asked about the obvious high cost of the gardens he said “Some people will buy new TV’s; I buy dirt and wood.”
Woodhead Gardens are open for tours on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Learn more about what Logan does at woodheadgardens.com or visit him at the Provo Farmer’s market on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.