The Bindweed Brigade

It was pretty amusing to come across this quote while reading Louise Penny’s murder mystery Kingdom of the Blind, after a hard day’s work in the community garden.

Myrna thought of the poisonous plants under the snow, buried there frozen but not dead, just waiting. Though the real threat didn’t come from from the poison flowers, those you could see, those you knew about and besides they, at least were pretty. No the real danger in a garden came from the bindweed that moved underground then surfaced and took hold strangling plant after healthy plant killing them all slowly and for no apparent reason except it was its nature. And then it disappeared underground again. Yes the real danger always came from the thing you couldn’t see .

We have worked on many tasks, but getting rid of bindweed is a priority.

Plant Exchange is Here

Please pick up/drop off plants between May 15 and June 15 at the following locations in Etobicoke. Look for the green Plant Library & Exchange sign.

Plant Library & Exchange

Mimico Baptist Church
80 Hillside Ave.
Look for picnic tables on the lawn
Monday to Friday
10 a.m. – 4 p. m.

The Healing Muse Apothecary
2859 Lakeshore Blvd. West
Outside the store
Tuesday to Saturday
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Primrose Ave. and Lakeshore
Mon. to Friday
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

North East Corner of Park Blvd. and Long Branch Avenue
only on the dates indicated below:
Sat. May 30, Sun. May 31; Sat. Jun 6, Sun. Jun 7; Sat. Jun 13 & Sun. Jun 14
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Lake Promenade and 23rd Street
Sun. May 24 & 31; Sun. Jun 7 & 14
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

More plants needed. Share your plants! Get new plants from your fellow gardeners.

Where to get soil

Raised beds

Dear gardeners:

For many of you who are asking about where to get soil, I’ve checked up on a couple of home delivery options: here they are. I’m sure there are lots more options too!
Stay safe and start seedlings !!

1. Gro4 Organics Inc
     – (416)769-1428
     – delivery throughout Ontario
     – many mixes including potting soil & worm compost
     – one of the only companies focused on the biology of the soil. comes highly recommended!

2. East End Garden Centre
    – (416) 469-4925
    – located at Queen & Greenwood
    – delivery in their area, and can arrange for other areas
    – $40 delivery fee for orders under $100, $20 delivery fee for orders over $100
    – outdoor soils, potting soils, mulch, plants, etc. some organic options.
    – also check their facebook and instagram for details

3. Grow It All
     – not presently doing delivery but you can order and arrange a pick-up.
     – selection of potting soils, indoor soils, coir, promix, organic options available
     – all kinds of containers, pots and trays
     – located on Geary (north of Dupont) near Dufferin
     – (416) 588-9595

4. pic-a-mix
– 1(888)742-2649
     – cubic yard bags and loose cubic yards of garden soil, compost, and mulch
– taking orders now for deliveries in April, note cubic yards cost around $130
     – I have had great results with their composted duck manure and the aurora gold for veggie gardens

Some More Handpicked Books

While the spring is near we can still enjoy some garden free time to peruse beautiful books that can inspire us in our gardening, foraging, food preparation activities. In case you are hungry for new interesting information here you are.

Here is a fresh batch of plant related books. All available at the Toronto Public Library branches.

You can revise your knowledge of herbs and their Latin names as well as many tips on how to grow, their uses for health benefits and enjoy many colourful recipes in the two books on herbs.

Healing Mushrooms
A Practical and Culinary Guide to Using Mushrooms for Whole Body Health by Tero Isokauppila

I am a huge fan of mushrooms and this book is simply wonderful. Introduces the reader to the many properties of mushrooms and their uses. Did you know that shiitake can be beneficial to your skin, liver, lower your cholesterol and improve acne? The book is full of useful information presented in very easy to read format and contains many flavourful recipes.

There are many books out there on foraging as it is gaining popularity. You will find a lot of useful information in these two books on how to start, what tools to use, the bigger implications of legality and sustainability for urban foragers as well as interesting and surprising recipes such as Day Lily Salad, Nettle and Pea Risotto with Mint, Sumac Vodka, Dandelion Crown Pad Thai, Milkweed Flower Cordial..

If you were not sure about okra, it is a vegetable with mixed reputation, these 2 books are sure to encourage you to try it. Both present many interesting facts about okra and are very enthusiastic in praising many okra properties. In the introduction to The Whole Okra Chris Smith quotes the following: “In short, okra represents true nobility. The next time you hear people say it is herbaceous, hairy and spineless, I urge you to punch them right in the nose.” — Dick West “In Defence of Okra”, 1961.

Are Kale and Onions friends? Find out. Both books present many great recipes along with the information on kale, arugula, garlic, chives, onions, cilantro, lovage, parsley, sage and how to grow them and use them in your food. The recipes are modern and innovative to assure you of health benefits. You can learn how to make Thai Kale with Turmeric or Warm Lentil Salad with Kale or Kale with Buckwheat Noodles and Roasted Beets.

Vegans rejoice. Here are 2 very nice books for you. If you have heard of the Keto Diet and how effective it is in helping you to loose wait, but did not want to eat all the meat and fat, here is your vegan keto book. It contains many amazing recipes from Roasted Vegetables to Jackfruit Pulled Pork and Mushroom Tacos. From simple to more sophisticated Vegan Keto is sure to please your palate.
Sushi Modoki is quite a sophisticated book at first glance, but rest assured it does introduce all the basics including all the utensils you might need along with all the typical ingredients and techniques of sushi preparation. Once the mystery is lifted it is a great book to follow and try the many different and delicious recipes for nigiri, chiroshi, inari, oshi and sushi rolls. Read the book to find out what they all are.

— Dorota Rajewska

Gardening Workshops 2020

Foodshare Toronto Spring Garden workshops. Free workshops to get you growing.

Hello all! I’m pleased to invite you to our first round of free Foodshare gardening workshops for 2020! Join Community Garden Coordinator Natalie Boustead as she leads you through engaging, hands on workshops to get you flexing your green thumbs! All workshops will provide light snacks and refreshments. You will receive a follow up email closer to the date of the workshop confirming your spot! 

Please fill out this form to secure your spot, space is limited:

Here are the spring workshop topics on offer (more to come later in the season): 

1. Seedling Starting- Weds Feb 19th, 6-7:30pm at the CAMH Greenhouse

2. Seedling Starting- Mon Feb 24th, 6-7:30pm at the CAMH Greenhouse: 

3. Intro to Gardening- Tues March 3 6-8 pm at Foodshare Headquarters: 120 Industry Street Unit C 

4. Intro to Gardening- Saturday March 7 10-12 pm at Foodshare Headquarters: 120 Industry Street Unit C

Please note:  These workshops will take place at 2 different locations. Both locations are wheelchair accessible. Foodshare Toronto has gender-neutral washrooms on site. 



to access the greenhouse: turn South on White Squirrel Way, go all the way to the end of that street, turn left, and the greenhouse will be on your right hand side after a large brick storage building. 

Foodshare Toronto head office- 120 Industry Street Unit C 

Using Public transit: from Runnymede station, take the 71 bus to Industry street, there is a stop directly in front of Foodshare’s office, last stop on the route. 

Natalie Boustead

Pronouns “She/Her”

CAMH Therapeutic Garden Coordinator and Community Gardens Lead

120 Industry St
Unit C, Toronto, ON
 M6M 4L8

More Handpicked Books

Winter in the garden is for books! We have time to read and dream and plan for spring.

Here are some inspiring titles.
All available at the Toronto Public Library.

The Pollinator Victory Garden: Win the War on Pollinator Decline with Ecological Gardening. Kim Eierman. January 7th 2020 by Quarry Books

“Native pollinators don’t always get the credit they are due for the pollination services they provide. Bumble bee pollination of blueberries creates twice as much fruit as honey bee pollination; native bees account for 90 percent of pollination of watermelons; and native bee pollination improves fruit production in apples and tomatoes. Suash and gouds are best pollinated by two species of native squash bees. Blue orchard mason bees are incredible pollinators of apples and almonds, compared to 15,000 to 20,000 foraging honey bees. Research is under way to diversify almond pollination with these native bees, which is currently completely done using honey bees.”

Examples of native flowers pollinated by native bees:

  • giant hyssops
  • garlics, onions
  • milkweeds
  • wild indigos
  • prarie clovers
  • sunflowers
Dancing with Bees: A Journey Back to Nature. Brigit Strawbridge Howard. White River Junction, Vermont : Chelsea Green Publishing, 2019

With special care and attention to the plight of pollinators, including honeybees, bumblebees, and solitary bees, and what we can do to help them, Strawbridge Howard shares fascinating details of the lives of flora and fauna that have filled her days with ever-increasing wonder and delight.

The Complete Mushroom Hunter, Revised: Illustrated Guide to Foraging, Harvesting, and Enjoying Wild… by Gary Lincoff .
Beverly, Massachusetts : Quarry Books, 2017

A brief, but colorful history of mushroom hunting worldwide; how to get equipped for a mushroom foray; a completely illustrated guide to the common wild edible mushrooms and their poisonous look-alikes — where to find them, how to identify them, and more; how to prepare and serve the fruits of your foray, plus more than 30 delicious recipes; plus, dozens of colorful, priceless anecdotes from living the mushroom lifestyle

A Global history series is a great series of small format, illustrated books introducing the reader to the origins, history, ancient recipes and more, of the chosen vegetable in this case: tomato, cabbage and potato. These books are fun entertainment as well as very informative.

Both The way through the woods by Long Litt Woon and A victory garden for trying times by Debi Goodwin are wonderful, personal narratives of how nature (mushroom picking and gardening respectively) played a big role in the lives of both women. Writing these beautiful stories helped the authors, it may as well help you, dear reader. They will inform and entertain and fill you with awe in face of always helpful Nature.

For those of you who love bringing nature indoors these two gorgeous books offer detail advice on how to create indoor plant displays that bring joy to eyes and hearts.

You can borrow any of the books at the Toronto Public Library

— posted by Dorota Rajewska