There is a season…

TELUS, community garden, urban garden, givewherewelive, sustainability, garden, green, Toronto, Andrea Goertz

Brilliant autumn colours, a hint of frosty days to come and having a home full of friends and family for Thanksgiving. What a wonderful tradition we have to celebrate a bountiful summer harvest.

Lately, we’ve been blogging about growing our own food at TELUS House Toronto and sharing stories of how our Green Team volunteers were busy as bees this season watering, battling aphids, pulling weeds and harvesting delicious vegetables. It’s been great fun to see the excitement of colleagues meeting one another in the elevator with armfuls of leafy greens, tomatoes and carrots – especially the unusual varieties like watermelon radishes, deer tongue red lettuce, purple peas, black and yellow heritage tomatoes and yellow carrots.

It felt only right to celebrate our very first harvest with a garden dinner and since then team members have been sharing recipes and family traditions to preserve all the goodness the garden has offered. From garden to table, we think this video really sums up nicely what we’ve been able to achieve over the last year. We hope it inspires more people and companies to think about sustainable food sources and growing their own food.

We’ve learned a lot of lessons over the course of this urban garden initiative and we can’t wait to put them into practice next year to keep the momentum going. If you’ve been inspired by our urban garden, here are a few tips to start your own. If you’ve already been bitten by the gardening bug and have some of your own tips, please share them below in the comments.

  1. Start early. Resoiling and prepping your space to create an edible garden can be a labour intensive job. Spend the winter months planning how much soil you’ll need, where to get it and if you’ll need help to get the job done in spring when the frost lifts.
  2. Start small. If this is your first year gardening, select just a few plants to test what responds best to the amount of water, soil, wind and sun available in your space. Build on your garden each year as your experiments unfold and your thumb gets greener.
  3. Have fun. Bright colours mixed with leafy greens are the perfect combination for an interesting garden – not just for your eyes but also for your taste buds and overall health. Consider planting purple basil with tomatoes, and select colourful heirloom varieties like dragon tongue bush beans and lemon cucumbers.

It has been a joyous inaugural season.  With spring just around the corner, workshops for saving seeds and canning/preserving will take place in the coming weeks for our team. Based on our experience this season, we’ve already started planning for what to grow next year. We’re counting the days until we’re busy again watching with anticipation as our garden comes back to life in spring.