Vegetables need sun. Lots of it. This is bad news for many wannabe urban food growers. You might have a typical shady Toronto garden, or your apartment doesn’t have a balcony. Whether you are experienced, or whether you’ve just read a new vegetable gardening book, like Donna Balzer and Steven Biggs’ No Guff Gardening, spring finds you hot to hoe, and the only thing stopping you is the lack of a sunny space. Stop looking with envy at your neighbour’s full sun backyard, especially the ones with nothing growing beyond grass and concrete.
Yes, you can eke out a few lettuces in a part shade location, but there is another way: Sharing Backyards. This community program encourages urban food gardening by connecting gardeners to good growing spaces, for free. Sharing Backyards:
connects urban gardeners with no space of their own, with those who have yards but not the time or skills to grow their own food. It connects neighbours of all kinds in an atmosphere of trust—beautifying the homeowner’s yard and providing fresh food.
The idea for Sharing Backyards came from British Columbia’s, Lifecycles “a non-profit, community-based organization that grows awareness of and takes action around food, health and urban sustainability” and Growing for Green, the founders of Toronto’s first community orchard. Going to the Sharing Backyards website provides you with a map of the city, with map icons, boots for “wants land” and a tree for “has land” dotted about. To find growing space, click on a tree near you. A pop up window for communication allows you to contact the community member directly. Gardening partners share costs and the crops grown. Gardener, meet garden: it’s sort of like a dating service for vegetables, except good match ups are always going to bear fruit.