New Gardening Season is Here

LEGS members took the opportunity during the fabulous Friday weather and got busy pruning the orchard. It was a very productive first day of the gardening season.

We also applied the tanglefoot to protect the trees from bugs.

If you’d like to bring your gardening expertise to this team of dedicated gardeners or would love to learn and help in the community garden, come join us.

Download the membership brochure here

Seedy Saturday

Old Fashioned Seed Exchange – via Snail Mail
At LEGS, We are hosting a virtual (via snail mail) Seedy Saturday all spring. Starting February 27, 2021 to May 24th – you can send us a SASE, Self Addressed, Stamped Envelope, to our ECO HUB in Etobicoke and we shall send it back to you with seeds requested, while quantities last.
We are also participating in the Virtual Seedy Saturday hosted by Seeds of Diversity on February 27th, 10am to 2pm
Join us online here:


FEBRUARY 27, 10 am to 2 pm

This year, due to COVID concerns, Seedy Saturday is going VIRTUAL!  Brought to you  by Seeds of Diversity Canada, Toronto Urban Growers and Seedy Saturday organizers from across Toronto, this day promises to be full of great gardening & growing advice. And Seeds? Of course!  We will have many ways for you to access the seeds that you need!

 At the Toronto Virtual Seedy Saturday you can:

  • Find links to companies selling seeds and gardening products online
  • Learn about seeds and gardening through webinars and videos with gardening experts across the city
  • Ask gardening questions in online meeting rooms with exhibitors
  • Find local seed exchanges
  • Find activities for kids
  • Ask questions about the event at a welcome table with a live person

If you have saved seeds this year, please consider contributing to the local seed exchanges! See the website for a drop-off location near you

Please share the event with your networks!


Seedy Saturdays


Posted by LINDSAY S.onJANUARY 11, 2021

2021 ON YOUR WAY! CHECK OUT Toronto Urban Growersor to keep up to date on the exchanges and online seminars!

LITERALLY  it is the MOST wonderful time of the year – SEEDY SATURDAYS ARE UPON US! (soon)

YES – you can swap seeds this year! YES – seminars and webinars will still be on – just virtually! and YES – Seed vendors will still be selling – links will be available to their website, if you don’t already know them yourselves! 

BUT NOOO – You cannot gather and mill around inside or out, as in-person seed trading will not take place. Sorry! 

TAKE HEART! Here’s what’s happening and how you can still trade seeds:

Each neighbourhood/catchment/communitywill be hosting a seed exchange. We (event hosts, including me) are collecting seeds ahead of time. They are sorted by volunteers, and some re-packed. This year, it is strongly requested/recommended to pack your own seeds and label them for donation. 

PLEASE SPECIFY: Seed type (as much detail as possible), the year it was collected, and YOUR FULL NAME (This will be needed for when you make your seed requests – but also, do you know how many Mike’s I know?).

Don’t run out and buy envelopes! You can DIY your own or re-use old envelopes. I found a great DIY envelope tutorial and tried it out – it was super easy! But do as you like with whatever you have in your home. It’s best if placed in paper – not plastic. Plastic retains moisture and seeds can rot. If ziploc is all you got, don’t worry, seeds are collected regularly and will be sorted. Just be sure it’s sealed air-tight!

PlantPure Communities

Want to connect?Join the entire PlantPure Communities team, leaders and members from the Pod Network, and other plant-curious folks from around the world for our first ever interactive Grassroots Get-Together event! 
Register today!
This virtual event is for everybody, whether you’re already part of a Pod, want to find one in your area, are experienced with plant-based living, or would like to learn more about this lifestyle. You will have the opportunity to connect in small groups for a few minutes at a time in Zoom “breakout rooms” to talk about favorite plant-based foods, community connections, personal stories, and more! Let’s build our sense of plant-based community and inspire one another. We hope to see you there!

Watch previous PlantPure Communities Webinars, including Square Foot Gardening Method, the Food-Climate connection, and more, on our YouTube Channel!

Nominate an Environmental Hero

Recipients of the Conservation Awards will be honoured at Ontario Nature’s 90th Annual General Meeting. The date and location to be determined due to COVID-19 uncertainty. Visit more information.

We will also feature the winners in the fall issue of our award-winning ON Naturemagazine.

Read the Conservation Awards Flyer with category descriptions and submission guidelines.

Awards are given at the discretion of the Awards Committee.

Ontario Nature is committed to equity, diversity, inclusivity and accessibility. Please consider nominating individuals, groups, government agencies and corporations that reflect these important values.

Nomination Procedure

  1. Nominations must be submitted on an official form. To obtain a form please visit, or contact Barbara MacKenzie-Wynia.
  2. Nominations can be submitted either electronically or by mail.
  3. Nominees who are Ontario Nature members must be nominated by two people (who don’t have to be members) or one member group.
  4. Nominees who are not Ontario Nature members must be nominated by two current Ontario Nature members or one member group.
  5. A person may be nominated for more than one award; however, each nomination must be submitted on a separate form.
  6. Nominators must provide supporting material.
  7. Nominations must be received by March 26, 2021.


Please forward nominations, including supporting material to the mailing or email address below.

Attention: Chair, Ontario Nature Awards Committee

214 King Street West, Suite 612
Toronto, ON M5H 3S6
416-444-8419 | 1-800-440-2366

Growing Under Cover

I attended a webinar where Niki Jabbour spoke about using covers in vegetable gardening. With increasingly unpredictable weather patterns and pest infestations she has a solution: she uses row covers, shade cloth, low tunnels, cold frames, hoophouses, and other protective structures to create controlled growing spaces for vegetables to thrive. The many benefits of using protective covers are extending the season, allowing the gardener to plant earlier and harvest later, eliminate pests, harvest a healthier, heartier crop and mitigate the effects of some of our harsher weather.
There was far too much information for me to cover here, but I can say that she has written a book “Growing Under Cover” and, although this is not a pitch for the book, it could be a valuable resource.

Guelph Organic Conference

From Tuesday, January 26th through Saturday, January 30th, the Guelph Organic Conference will run these 5 seminars as online programs

These free seminars will all run on their respective scheduled day at 1.00 pm, EST and each will have a length of about 90-120 minutes.  Each requires a registration so that we can reserve an adequate Zoom service.  We are currently verifying that each will be recorded for future retrieval for those unable to dial in for the actual program(s).  The Conference has asked several organic groups to co-organize these – COTA/Canada Organic Trade Association, OCO/Organic Council of Ontario, COG/Canadian Organic Growers, EFAO/Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario + High Mowing Seeds, then finally Gary Zimmer along with SureSource Commodities/organic grain trader, for the Saturday cropping program, assisted by OCO.

Registration is now live! Click on the workshop you are interested, and register to attend. We will send you an email the detail, including the Zoom link, to attend the workshop.

Follow Up to Ecological Design Lab

For anyone who hasn’t viewed this excellent presentation, here is a brief summary of the content.
For the full discussion, see the link on the Jan 5 post.

Barriers, Bylaws and the Biophilic City: Advancing Natural Gardens and Native Plants in Our cities

Webinar hosted by Ryerson Carly Murphy and featured panelists:
Patricia Landry – City of Toronto
Haley Anderson
Lorraine Johnson
Nina-Marie Lister
Mark Cullen
David Donnelly – Lawyer

Discussion centred on the idea that the city’s “Grass and Weeds Bylaw” is actually a deterrent to growing native gardens. It contains out dated information eg grass cannot be higher than 20 centimeters. Even in 2020, residents are getting notices that goldenrod needs to be removed.
Nina-Marie Lister gave a brief history of the conflict between residents planting native or naturalized gardens in their front yards and city bylaw officers who do anything from warning the gardener, fining them or ultimately cutting the garden down.
She then spoke of her own recent situation that has been in the media this last summer where she was ordered to remove her native garden or face fines up to $5000
She hired a lawyer to fight the charge and was eventually granted an exemption.
Her lawyer’s stance is that an exemption is not satisfactory, it causes the bylaw officer to make a judgement and that is not acceptable. The bylaw as it reads now was ruled unconstitutional in 1996 and needs to be struck down or replaced with something that deals only with plants that harmful to nature or people – full stop.
Patricia Landry presented the city’s point of view, that the bylaw is still necessary to deal with derelict yards. The city received 6800 complaints this year and granted 38 natural garden exemptions – so her point being that the balance of the complaints were justified.
Bylaw officers are being trained to distinguish between native plants and noxious weeds and naturalized versus neglected.
Mark Cullen made the point that native gardens are not neglected but must be tended with similar care to traditional gardens. He said that if a garden was cut to the ground and left unattended it would be regenerate with 70% invasives.

1994 Sandy Bell was issued a $50 fine for her natural garden, fought it and the bylaw was declared uninforceable
In early 2000, Douglas Counter took his case to the Ontario Superior court and won the right to garden on a public boulevard
2019 again a gardener Deborah Dale fought for the right to garden with native plants. The case was settled out of court with a gag order.
In Cobourg, Miriam Mutton’s boulevard garden was cut down 3 times before it was allowed to stay and ironically, during a summer drought when all the boulevards were brown, hers was lush and used as an example for their Cities in Bloom entry
In Burlington in June 2018, Doreen Nicoll was ordered to remove milkweed

Ecological Design Lab

For those of you that missed, or want to review, the excellent Webinar on Bylaw 489 Grass and Weeds that Lorraine Johnson and Nina-Marie Lister organized and Carly Murphy ably hosted, it is online at

For those that are not familiar with Bylaw 489, consider yourselves blessed, but you still may want to review the webinar because the bylaw can be used to threaten just about any garden in Toronto with vegetation over 20cm at any time.

I especially recommend 36:24 – 45:15, 59:43 – 1:05:09, 1:27:28 – 1:31:10 where Patricia Landry from Parks, Forestry and Recreation gives her position on the bylaw.

While Patricia is well aware of the issues Toronto faces around biodiversity, climate change etc. she didn’t actually propose any significant changes to the bylaw. I expect further lobbying will be required to effect real change to the bylaw.