Enlightenment is not separate from doing the dishes or growing lettuce.

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Oh oh Spring! Yeah yeah yeah. The ethers become a buzz. I am surrounded by emergent life. Shoots pop their wee heads out and give notice to longer days, increasing warmth. Seeds unravel themselves in the soft bed of soil, waking up to the mystery of life in the greenhouse.

‘Happiness held is the seed, happiness shared is the flower.’

~ John Harrigan

 ……we’ve been busy tucking many glorious seeds in as of late.

We are excited to be growing a few new varieties this season including Purple Tomatillos, Red Swan Beans and Strike Peas. Of course we’ll still be planting some old favourites including; Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage, Napoli Carrots and Touchstone Gold Beets. We are growing more types of greens than we can count from Red Kitten Spinach to Wildfire Arugula. Soon we will be starting a plethora of herbs and flowers from Tulsi to Red Rubin Basil and Borage to Zinnias. We have planted most of our early brassicas, inclusive of three kinds of Kale but are still on the look out for a pinch or two of Red Ripbhor Kale if anyone has some  🙂

Our Cucurbit Patch should prove to be a diverse harvest, with varieties ranging from Jack Sprat pie to Dill’s Atlantic Giant pumpkin, Heart of Gold to Golden Hubbard winter squash and Sunburst to Portofino summer squash. We just hope we can find room for the cucumbers, maybe even some delicious Armenian ones!

I haven’t even started to get into the more than 10 different varieties of Tomato we will be growing this year, but if I did I would have to tell you about the 8 different peppers, the 5 different melons the 9 different onions and the over 15 varieties of lettuce on the plate for 2015!

Needless to say, with over 50 crops and 200 varieties we have ample array to account for all tastes. We plan our garden so it will provide each weekly harvest of the season with fresh new flavours and well rounded nourishment.

We can’t wait to make Purple Sun carrot cake and Cherry Belle Radish salsa. The thought of juicy Dragon Langerie beans has been making my mouth water, and even the Garlic which ought to be poking its head out any day now is certain to be succulently enjoyed.

If there is something in particular you would be interested in having us grow this season, let us know, perhaps it’s not too late  🙂


Medicine Wheel Garden (C6-7)

This area is inspired by traditional Indigenous Medicine Wheel gardens. The four quadrants represent the four directions and four seasons. We created this garden to provide an opportunity to learn, teach and honour traditional Indigenous practices, perspectives and being.

  • North – Kiiwedingong: This section represents the winter. The winter is the place of wisdom, The bear teaches about fasting as it hibernates and rests throughout the winter months. Sweetgrass is braided to remind us of the strength we gain when our mind, body and spirit is balanced.
  • East – Wasbingong: This section represents the springtime and new life. The eagle is the messenger between the people and the creator and teaches us we need to be thankful for creation and to live in a good way. Life is a gift. To honour that gift we have been given tobacco. Tobacco is used as a sign of thanksgiving and to remind us to be grateful and humble for all aspects of life.
  • South – Zhaawanong: This section represents the youth, summertime and nurturing. The deer teaches us the importance of generosity and sharing, The cedar is used as a cleansing medicine for the body and soul.
  • West – Epangishmok: This section represents the adult stage, autumn harvest. West is the berry stage. It is here the growth from the summer has come to ripen. The berry teaches us forgiveness and peace. It honours the cycle of death and rebirth. The buffalo teaches us to look within ourselves for guidance. Sage is used by Indigenous people to clear their minds and hearts, preparing for the rest of life’s journey.
  • The Centre: The rose in the centre tells us that life is like a rose. The thorns remind us of the up’s and down’s in the journey of life. As the flower dies each year come winter, we remember that we too are reborn after self-reflection, dedication and acceptance. The centre reminds us to find balance in our own lives and maintain our fire within. How is your fire burning?


– Etobicoke Outdoor Education Centre