Growing Together in St. James Town
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Families with young children living in high-rise buildings in St. James Town in downtown Toronto grew these edible container gardens as part of the 'Grow Our Own' balcony and community garden project. This project was born out of a grant received by Growing Together in 2003 from the Food and Hunger Action Fund, and has continued and expanded every season since. We now start our own seedlings at Allan Gardens Children's Conservatory, in partnership with City of Toronto. Growing Together is a program of the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre.
Since 2003 we have been learning more and more about how to grow something to eat in the most unlikely places. We've made an effort to use recycled containers and affordable materials, and we're constantly demonstrating that it's possible to do container gardening without purchasing fancy supplies - there's a lot you can do by reusing materials at hand!
The soil mix includes up to half compost, mixed with potting soil (i.e. lightweight, water absorbent, usually containing coconut fibre (coir) or peat, with perlite or vermiculite). We don't recommend growing tomatoes unless you have at least 6 hours of full sunlight per day! Big, fruiting plants like tomato or eggplant also need large containers - at least 5 gallons is best. We've learned that starting small is a good approach for successful gardens, and we recommend herbs and greens that can grow in part shade - like basil, parsley or celery and most importantly, compost, compost, compost!
We are writing down the things we've learned in much more detail. Please check this page again soon for more information, pictures and helpful hints!
If you live in the St. James Town area and are interested in programs for families and children please contact Growing Together - Hincks Dellcrest at 416-921-8716 x223 and ask about the garden project. If you would like to bring our project coordinators to your organization for a balcony garden demonstration or workshop, please leave a message for Lara.