We are getting ready to take the 5th kick at the can (or throw at the hoe) for the UHN Real Food Garden! It may seem too cold and snowy to think of easy, breezy, green gardens, but now is actually the time to plan. A quick look at Toronto’s growing calendar shows that for many crops, sowing seeds indoors should start as soon as end of February to middle of March (not to be confused with Middlemarch by George Eliot) . Bring us your broccoli, Brussel sprouts and cabbage, your eggplants, peppers and tomatoes … all need an early start in a bright green house.

Geremy starting seeds in previous garden seasons
Geremy starting seeds in our 3rd garden season

As for the UHN Real Food Garden, it may be small, but we love it. What’s not to love about a group of staff volunteering some time to sow, hoe and grow tasty produce from seed to feed? It’s seed to feed as we grow edibles over flowers (and the occasional edible flower).  That super fresh and extremely local produce goes to ELLICSR where Geremy Capone (ya, that guy seen above) uses it to teach healthy cooking to cancer patients, survivors & friends (bonus: you get to eat the tasty, anti-oxidizing treats at the end). Geremy, wellness chef in the ELLICSR kitchen, also heads up the garden with me and brings his passion for cooking to growing those ingredients.

If you or a loved one have been affected by cancer, drop in for a healthy cooking demonstrations (3rd Thursday of the month, 12:15-1:15, Toronto General Hospital, Basement level, BCS-021). Geremy cooks while Christy Brissette, registered nutritionist and partner in crime, gives the science behind the tastiness.

With our recent COP21, it’s looking more important than ever to make every bit of soil count for something. So, you wanna fight climate change? Grow your way out of it. Thanks in advance for helping create a sustainable food supply (our modern day Victory Garden). You’ll rescue our bee and butterfly populations by giving them a pesticide-free food source, and enjoy a boost to your of mental health. Here’s how:

  • Create a Bee-Friendly garden with a bee house, bee food, and plants that bees find gorgeously irresistible (lots of native species like chives and coneflower).
  • Plant a Butterfly Garden. Get your milkweed on.
  • Plant a fruit tree in your backyard. Organizations like Leaf will even help you pick the right type of tree, the right spot, and plant it for you for less than you’d spend at a garden centre.
  • Plant some veggies and herbs, whether you have a backyard, balcony or even a rooftop
Deb (pictured) and Willie, Danielle and Amy, the garden maven team spearheaded the rooftop garden on 5 South Geriatric Psychiatry Unit, thriving in its 2nd year
Rooftop garden in Toronto Rehab’s 5 South Geriatric Psychiatry Unit.  Deb (pictured) and Willie, Danielle and Amy comprise the garden maven team that spearheaded it


Last fall, I rescued some herbs from my garden and put them in the kitchen window. My 9 year old gets very chef-y, snipping herbs on everything but dessert. This also magically gets him to eat things other than dessert. We’ll replant them outside in the spring and let the cycle continue for a new season. That’s nourishing for the palate and the soul.


P.S. If you work at UHN and want to join us this year, come to the garden planning meet n greet, Tuesday, March 8, 5-6 PM, Scadding Court Community Centre.  Contact Geremy Capone: Geremy@ellicsrkitchen.ca to join the team. Check back on our Garden page to see what’s happening anytime.

P.P.S. for everyone, don’t forget Seedy Saturday on March 19th!

2016 Seedy Saturday Poster (2)