THIS PAGE IS NO LONGER UPDATED!
OUTDATED - Gzowski and Victoria Hills Multicultural Community Garden
Note: That this was the web page used for the garden from summer 2008 to 2012. As
Heather is no longer the co-ordinator for the garden this page has been striped of various
information and is no longer maintained.
- The soil is a heavy clay soil. Early in the spring it is
easy to work but in
the summer it turns very hard and water can easily run off of it. The
soil willl also crack when dry.
- Compost, peat moss and coconut coir call all be used to
improve the soil, although large quantities may be required to make a
significant difference. We have had a lot of success
improving the soil by digging leaves into the
ground at the end of the season. This also helps to
- Do NOT add sand to clay soil as this can make cement.
- Pre-sprouting large seads, such as beans and peas or
germinating smaller seeds in a small amount of potting soil can also
help the plants to break through the tough soil and give them a head
- Beans grow well. Bush beans are
prefered over pole beans since the pole beans require an extensive
support system which must be removed at the end of the season. However,
pole beans will produce beans for a longer period of time.
Beans should be planted in late May or early June as they like warm
soil. Beans are also good for the soil as they associate with
bacteria that can convert nigrogen from the air into a form that plants
can use. Beans should be picked when young
(~15 cm long) to stimulate further flower production.
are often easy to grow. They can be planted early in the
spring and again in late July. Both the green tops and the
root can be eaten. Be sure to keep the plants well
watered to achieve tender. Mulching can also help
beets retain moisture and suppress weeds.
prefer loose soil but we have successfully grown carrots in our
community garden. Shorter varieties do better and they need
to be kept well watered to prevent forking and cracking.
Carrots can be planted at any time but prefer to grow in
cooler soils. If you plant in early spring together with
radishes, the radishes will help to loosen the soil for the carrots and
they will be picked before the carrots need the space.
- Corn is not an ideal choice for our
garden. If planting, ensure that a block of AT LEAST 1/5 of
the plot is planted in corn to ensure full pollination. Corn
is also a heavy feeder and may require addition of fertilizer and lots
of water. Birds and mice may also be attracted to your corn
grows very well in our garden. This is a green leafy
vegetable that belongs to the cabbage family and is full of vitamins
and flavour. Kale can be planted in early to mid spring and
the bottom leaves or thinnings can be harvested throughout the summer,
although the leaves taste best after the first frost. Kale
also keeps well in the freezer.
is a cool weather crop. It should be planted in the ground as
early as possible. Once the weather turns warm, the lettuce
will become bitter and will focus its energies on producing seeds.
Seeds should be started indoors in February. Onion
sets (look like small onions) can be planted in early spring.
Do not try growing your cooking onions that have sprouted as
these will put their efforts into leaves and seeds not into the root.
Onions should be mulched.
should be planted in the fall for the following year's crop.
They can also be planted in very early spring.
Garlic will produce flower heads in June. These
should be cut off to promote bulb growth. The flower heads
can be eaten raw or lightly cooked and are quite tasty.
grow well in our garden if you keep the rabbits away (fence or sprinkle
the area with cayenne pepper after every rain/watering). Peas
will only grow in cool soil so plant in early spring. Peas
will need a short trellis to grow on. Once the peas are
finished, cut the top part off for composting and leave the roots in
the soil. A second crop can be planted in the same place.
Peas also associate with bacteria that can convert nitrogen
to the air into a form that plants can use and the roots will leach
this natural fertilizer out as it decomposes.
are warm weather plants. Seedlings are available at the
market and in stores at the end of May. Peppers must be
well-watered once the first flowers open.
should be planted in early spring. Use seed potatoes
(available at seed stores) since supermarket potatoes are treated to
hinder growth and may be disease prone. Cut seed potatoes
into chunks with 1-2 eyes/potato and let dry out a couple of days
before planting. As the plant grows, mound the soil around
the plant to ensure that the potatoes do not get exposed to the sun.
Green potatoes contain a chemical that is toxic.
- Radishes are
a cool weather crop that grow very quickly. Seeds planted in
April will produce radishes ready to eat in May. The space
can then be used for another crop.
will only grow in cool weather and prefers sandy soil. My
experience with spinach is that the heat will cause it to go to seed
before it has grown big enough to harvest many leaves. Swiss
chard makes an excellent alternative that grows very well in our garden.
squashes include zucchini and cucumbers. These
plants like warm soil and should be planted in early June.
They can be started a few weeks ahead indoors to give them a
head start. Choose zucchini varieties that do not vine to
minimize space requirements and don't plant too many - in peak season,
one plant can produce 3-5 zucchini a week! Also be sure to
pick zucchini when young and tender to best flavour.
Cucumbers take a lot of space in a garden and will require a
lot of watering to ensure that they do not get bitter.
squashes including Pumpkin can be difficult to grow in our
garden. These require a lot of space and in the last few
years our entire crop has been decimated by a nasty creature called the
squash vine borer. This bug will tunnel into the plant or the
fruit and suck the juices killing the plant in peak growing season.
The recommended organic control method for small gardens is
to search the vines daily for entry holes and dig out the borer with a
pen knife. Butternut squash is apparently not a favourite of
this bug but I don't really believe that.
- Swiss Chard
is an excellent alternative to spinach that grows very well in our
garden. It can be planted in early or late spring
and will produce a continuous crop throughout the summer - just keep
picking the outer leaves and more will continue to form from the
centre. Swiss chard also freezes very well.
- Tomato plants grow well in our garden.
They are a warm weather plant so plant seedlings outside at
the end of May, beginning of June. When planting, put all of
the plant except for the top 2 sets of leaves into the soil and cover.
The stem and leaf nodes below the soil will form roots making
the plant stronger and better able to absorb water. Some
types need to be staked or caged, others do not - check your variety.
Tomatoes do best when watered regularly. enough.
Grows well alongside basil.
Planting dates: http://www.thegardenhelper.com/vegtips.html
Companion planting: http://www.gardenguides.com/how-to/tipstechniques/vegetables/vcomp.asp
Advice from Master
- We recommend that you turn your soil with a shovel to maintain
the micro-structure of your soil and to save the earthworms.
- For seeds, I recommend OSC
brand available at Home Hardware, the downtown Waterloo location has
the greatest variety
- Seedlings will be available toward the end of May at many
- farmer's markets
- grocery stores with garden centres
Gardening's Vegetable Gardening (c) 1996
Camar Publications Ltd. Geared to the canadian climate and
provides very helpful information for all of the common crops
Harrowsmith Northern Gardener by Jennifer Bennett .
Full of all kinds of useful information. My copy is
from 1982, newer editions are probably available.
- The new organic grower's four-season
harvest : how to harvest fresh organic vegetables from your home garden
all year long and The New
Organic Grower : A Master's Manual Of Tools And Techniques For The Home
And Market Gardener by Eliot Coleman
Eliot Coleman books are recommended reading on organic growing - esp
for a small farmer (2 acres and less)
- The Sustainable Vegetable Garden : A
Backyard Guide To Healthy Soil And Higher Yields by
John Jeavons And Carol Cox and How To Grow More
Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible On Less Land Than You Can
Imagine by John Jeavons
Books by this author cover growing as many calories as possible on as
little land as possible. Double digging to loosen soil and minimal
tilling (using only a fork) are topics covered. The book is primarily
for the California climate.
- Square Foot Gardening
by Mel Bartholomew
This book is good in that it covers when to plant things, how to start
things indoors and staggering planting and harvesting. The special soil
he recommends is fine for a raised bed garden - but in the hot summer
you will need to water the plants AT LEAST DAILY! Things do grow well
in such a soil.
- Books by Rodale are always informative
- Rodale's Successful Organic Gardening Vegetables
This is a good all round book covering each vegetable, indoor seeding,
pests and problems....
- Rodale's vegetable garden problem
: the best and latest advice for beating pests, diseases, and weeds and
staying a step ahead of trouble in the garden Fern
- How to grow vegetables and fruits by
organic method / by the staff of Organic gardening and farming magazine
J.I. Rodale, editor-in-chief ; Robert Rodale, editor ; compilation
supervised by Dorothy Franz and Jerome Olds
Specific Garden Topics
Gardening - Growing Vegetables Year-Round the American Intensive Way
by Leandre Poisson and Gretchen Vogel Poisson
- The Mulch Book - A Complete Guide for
Gardeners by Stu Campbell
- Stocking Up III by
Carol Hupping and Staff, Rodale Food Center
- Root Cellaring by
Mike and Nancy Bubel
Gzowski Garden Pictures
Gzowski garden pictures
Victoria Hills Garden Pictures
These are only a few of the pictures of the garden. Here are
all of the garden pictures
April 25, 2009
July 10, 2008
August 8, 2006
Google Earth May 2008