Welcome to the parish garden of St Thomas's Anglican Church, Huron St. We started up the garden in the spring of 2006 with the following goals in mind:
- To develop an economical source of fresh, better tasting and more nutritious food for the benefit of the church's community food programme (Out of the Heat)
- To create and preserve green space in our neighbourhood
- To create a new opportunity for learning and fellowship within the St Thomas's Community
- To strengthen the relationship with our neighbours
- To Assist other urban churches in setting up similar programmes in the future
Constructing our garden brought out many hidden talents in our congregation. Parishioners from all walks of life worked together in the spring of 2006 to design and build our garden.
We selected a combination of raised and level beds to take advantage of usable space and soil on our site. Raised beds make our garden more accessible for seniors and those with limited mobility by eliminating the need to bend down. We also installed a watering system to keep our garden productive throughout the season.
One of the highlights of our garden construction process was taking delivery of our soil, which was projected at long range into our raised beds by a giant soil slinger.
Plants and growing
Our garden features heritage plant varieties not commonly found in residential gardens today. Visitors to the garden often remark on the many interesting shapes, sizes and colours of vegetables, and are intrigued by exotic sounding plant names, such as Kinemontpas lettuce, or Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage. During our first season, lettuce was our most abundant crop, but we also grew significant amounts of carrots, cabbage, beans, beets, leeks and peas.
The garden is cared for by volunteers, who sign up for a week of weeding or harvesting. Those who volunteered during our first season found the garden to be a rewarding and enjoyable project. If you would like to become involved, contact the Garden Co-ordinator, Suzanne Coultes, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the course of our first season, we served over 800 servings of fresh garden produce to guests of our Out of the Heat meal programme. That translates into roughly $350 worth of produce!
We followed a field-to-table approach with our harvesting: produce was harvested on a Thursday afternoon or Friday morning, ready for distribution at the Friday evening meal programme. As a special treat, toward the end of the season teams of volunteers used garden produce to prepare delicious batches of soup, perfect for cool autumn evenings.
Heritage vegetables in our garden
Cabbage: Mammoth Red Rock, Early Jersey Wakefield
Lettuce: Kinemontpas, Tom Thumb, Rouge de midi, Deer Tongue, Bronze
Arrowhead, Cimarron, Lollo Rossa
Carrots: Purple Dragon, Phalzar (yellow)
Tomatoes: Pear tomato, cherry tomato
Beans: Royal Burgundy
Beets: Bulls Blood