2015 Community Harvest Dinner

Celebrating local food and urban agriculture in Durham Region. This community driven, grassroots movement is inviting residents to join us in tasting the harvests of food gardens throughout the Region. Co-hosted by Royal Canadian Legion, Ladies Auxillary and the Foundation for Building Sustainable Communities, The Victory Garden Project. Dinner consist of Roast Beef, potatoes and a variety of fresh vegetables from the community gardens. Proceeds will be donated to the Durham Integrated Growers, for a Sustainable Community. A portion of the funds will be used to help start new gardens throughout the Region....

Local community celebrates food, fun and fellowship

Let’s celebrate Join us in celebrating the 5th Annual Community Harvest Dinner, a collaboration between the Foundation for Building Sustainable Communties and the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch, #43 Ladies Auxillary. For tickets, click here The Community Harvest Dinner is part of the Victory Garden Project which honours the past, and uses the knowledge to create solutions from a historical perspective for a current need. The dinner is a collaboration between the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch #43, Ladies Auxillary and it celebrates local food production, urban agriculture and community gardens in the Durham...

On the homefront: Soil

From the ground up Soil: a growing medium What is soil? Soil is made up of number of components such as decayed & organic matter, (which makes composting/humus), mineral & rock particles, is one of the most important elements for achieving success in the garden.  Of course, other elements such as location, water, sunlight and maintenance are also important for gardening success. Living organisms, although microscopic, work hard beneath the ground to enrich the soil producing a high quality medium for planting.  One such organism is the Earthworm, which as they burrow, they consume soil, extracting nutrients from decomposing organic matter like leaves and roots. Earthworms are vital to soil health because they transport nutrients and minerals from below to the surface via their waste, and their tunnels aerate the ground. An earthworm can eat up to one third its body weight in a day (1). Other contributing factors for quality soil is air and water. Earthworms are the most easily recognized soil organism and are viewed as a sign of soil health. New no-tillers eagerly document the increase in worm numbers as a sign of improving soil health — and they are right to make that assumption. In fact, worms are often studied as an “indicator species” for monitoring changes in soil quality(2). Types of soils: Sandy soil is made up of large particles, which allow water to drains quickly and can often take valuable nutrients with it. Clay soil is composed of very small particles,have the ability to hold water and nutrients but air cannot penetrate between these spaces, especially when they are filled with water. Poor...

History of Victory Gardens

How it began The victory garden concept began as a way to address the shortage of food in Britain during the First World War, and later, the Second World War, by encouraging people to grow their own food.  As the population embraced the ‘Dig In‘ Campaign as it came to be known, activities included canning & preserving, entrepreneurship and community kitchens.  Most importantly, the Dig In Campaign supplied the much needed education materials for planting the crops to help the gardeners meet their daily nutrient value  for ensuring healthy...

DIY reservoirs for pots

Pots add interest in your victory garden, and can also mean more time for watering and due setting can increase the aesthetics of a garden To conserve water and keep your vegetables well watered, place a recycled plastic container to catch water under your pot, with ‘wicks’ that go from the potting mix through the drainage holes into the underground container of water. I add little rocks to ensure slow flow if I am going to be away. Keep your container garden happy and thriving on long hot days by installing a hidden water reservoir. All you need is an empty plastic bottle around the same height as your planter. It will be easier to start with a new planting than an established container. Here’s how: Cut. Using a craft knife, cut the bottom off a plastic bottle. The cut bottle should be no taller than the distance from the bottom of the pot to the top of the soil line. Remove the cap. Place. Fill your container up partially with soil, and then place the empty bottle, upside down, in the center. Add more soil around the sides so that it stands up. Plant. Add your new plants in the donut shape around the bottle. Water. On hot days, just fill up the bottle with water, and it will slowly trickle down to the deep roots of your plants. You may still need to top-water at first while your little plants are getting established. Using the bottle upside down makes it easy to add water; if you would like to use a bottle cap-side-up instead (with drainage holes cut into the bottom to...

Earth Day 2015

       From local solution to global showcase History The Foundation for Building Sustainable Communities (FBSC) have been organizing Earth Day events since 2004. Focussing on education to promote local food, conservation, repurposing and actions, activities include quizzes, waste reduction, competitions, energy & water conservation and planting seeds. To address such a wide range of activities and solutions, FBSC partners with diverse individuals, organization and businesses, including; the Oshawa Centre, Ontario Power Generation, University of Ontario Institute of Technology. The activities are specifically design to promote education, fun and ease of action. A good example is the annual hands on children’s vegetable seed planting event to promote growing your own food and creating educational insights of the wonder and power of nature is definitely one of fun and inspiration. Earth Day 2015   From local solution This year is the UN International Year of Light, and in celebration of Earth Day and Climate Change Week, and supporting women in engineering, FBSC is hosting an off grid brainstorming weekend to solve the need for electricity for the greenhouse located at the Canadian Victory Gardens. The task of the brainstorming session is provide a conceptual engineering solution that will provide lighting, heating and pumping water to grow food for longer periods. The 2 day retreat will start with students on a field trip to the garden, a session at the University to define the challenge and breakout sessions to brainstorm and conceptualize a design. The designs will be presented the next day. The project is organized by the Foundation for Building Sustainable Communities (FBSC) and facilitated by Percy Butch Shadwell,...

Potager Gardens

 The Potager Garden   What is a potager garden A potager is a French term for an ornamental vegetable or kitchen garden. The historical design precedent is from the Gardens of the French Renaissance and Baroque Garden à la française eras. Often flowers (edible and non-edible) and herbs are planted with the vegetables to enhance the garden’s beauty. wikipedia Ideas for designing a Potager Garden A potager garden is another good design to use for growing food at home.  It’s about flowers and food in the garden, french style. As with any designs, some elements to consider when designing a potager garden are the look, colours, flow, hardscapes and focal points.  Sometimes a main focal point will suffice, however consider complimentary elements throughout the plot as well.  One example is a twigged trellis with sweetpea growing vertically with nasturtiums creeping along the bottom and potted strawberries.  Another combination is raspberry bush, roses and garlic, or even potted chives.  In Ontario, garlic needs to be planted in the fall for next year’s harvest. Roses are great for beauty, and the uses are almost endless, from decorating to crafting to teas and garnishing. Edging beds or vegetable plot boundaries with low lavender or box hedges, cordon-trained berrying plants or step-over apple trees provides valuable permanent structure in the garden and helps to achieve the sense of rhythm within the design. Alternatively, you could use kitchen favourites such as cut-and-come-again lettuces or compact curly-leaved parsley to make them easier to harvest regularly. Choosing Plants and Varieties for Potagers Colour is an obvious consideration in an ornamental vegetable garden, and thanks to both...

Extending the growing season: Greenhouse

DIY Greenhouse Project: A community collaboration A greenhouse can extend the growing season to eat the freshly picked harvest. One of the advantages of a greenhouse (the one in the picture is for the victory garden) is the ability to grow more to  and use for preserving/canning  in season and to grow m The greenhouse was constructed in the Fall of 2012 at the Canadian Victory Garden. The greenhouse was a collaboration between the Foundation for Building Sustainable Communities (FBSC) and Meals Exchange at Durham Chapter, lead by Michael Watson.   Bricks from the old Guy farmhouse was repurposed as a herb garden in the summer of 2014 April 2015 swiss chard, kale, snow peas, green beans, cucumber, squash, spinach, peas, yellow beans, carrots, okra,...

Growing food in pots & containers

Food gardens of any size can be part of a aesthetically pleasing design.  The traditional approach of a victory garden is to grow what you can maintain, which also take your time in consideration.  A modern victory garden is about how we experience the growing and nurturing from seeding to harvesting. Using pots and  lots of different types of containers can really beautify your victory garden.  Different pots and containers with different plants can give a garden a look of simple abundance.  A victory garden is all about garden design that fit your lifestyle and customize a look for you while enabling you to grow food.  Here are some ideas for growing edible herbs, in decorative vases and large flowerpots.   Some reasons to consider pots and other containers: 1) You can place them in bare spots and move them around as the garden become more lush; 2) The containers can add interest; 3) Designing the look of a container is manageable; 4) Can be elevated with a stand or wall for easier maintenance; and 5) Grouped together to create a beautiful effect Using containers for gardening is flexible and convenient, alllowing you to use different types of containers, large and small, old and vintage, wooden and metal.  Containers can help you learn and beautify you home victory...