Fresh City Farms: Organic Gardening 101

Last weekend was just so gorgeous. Sunny and warm and beautiful. This summer (yes, I’m calling it summer already) almost feels like it’s too good to be true, after last winter’s misery. But it’s already going so fast – it’s June! My sorels are barely dry and there’s still a pile of hats and scarves at the front door because I feel like it’s tempting fate to put them away.

But time marches on, and summer it (almost) is. So I chose to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon with the gang at Fresh City Farms for their Organic Urban Gardening 101 workshop. I’m keen on ensuring our gardens (mostly flowers since we have a very shady backyard) are as healthy and eco-friendly as possible.  The gang at Fresh City Farms have plots all across the city where they grow veggies which they can then deliver to your door (more information on that here). The classes are held at their facility at Downsview park. It’s kind of amazing to see a fully operational farm directly next to a busy road – such a contrast.


The class was full with about 20 potential eco-garden warriors in the Fresh City Farm greenhouse, surrounded by lots of lovely little seedlings who were almost ready to go in to the ground. This basil smelled amaazing.

FreshCityFarmsBasilGreensThe workshop is very informal and comfortable. As the rest of the farm carries on with their work of planting, weeding and composting (and frankly, making me wonder why people choose stuffy office jobs when they could be out in the sun like this all day) one of the member farmers instructs the class.

She explained general organic concepts and things like where to begin with organic gardening, the importance of soil composition, comparison of direct sowing vs indoor seeding and transplanting, composting, what to plant when and other topics.

We also got a chance to take a walk around the grounds, which was a really rejuvenating experience to see the fields as they burst in to colour. Baby onions!

We even got a chance to see a compost heap in action. (I named it Marjory.) Contrary to expectations, it didn’t stink even a little bit at all. It’s amazing to see how ordinary kitchen scraps turn right back in to, well, dirt. Beautiful, fragrant dirt, that will help your plants grow.


FreshCityFarms-2And one great bonus – we got to take home some lovely organic seeds (and learned how to read the seed packet too). it’s a little late for these wild cherry tomatoes, but I’ll save them for next year.

If you’re interested in organic gardening – or any gardening, really – this class is a solid foundation of knowledge. Loads of little tidbits on things like transplanting and weeding and hardening off and care and feeding of plants like tomatoes and broccoli all led up to a very informative and fun day.  They also offer loads of other workshops including Organic Balcony Gardening, Flowers, Managing Pests and more. Check it out!

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