Friday, July 23, 2010

How do the gardens grow?

Heritage Academy has a brand new shed thanks to funding from the Community Gardening Network, a dedicated teacher and community volunteer.

The bees are working hard pollinating the flowers on our tomato plants.

During my school garden visits, I pinch off the 'suckers' so that the plant's energy can go to making us more fruit, and less branches!

Elmwood School shows off it's first red tomato!

Heritage Academy's Nasturtiums are a beautiful and tasty addition to the garden. The pretty edible flowers have a spicy pepper taste, and can be used as a decorative garnish in salads, pastas or to decorate baking.

We grow our own beans so that we can have any variety we like. Elmwood likes them purple! This variety of purple bush beans was grown from Greta's Organic Seeds. Greta has an extensive variety heirloom and heritage seeds and starts. They can be ordered on the website Greta's Organic Gardens:

Greta even has a few varieties of Popcorn.

The peas at Devonshire School are climbing toward the fence.

The grade 5s at Devonshire put in special root watering systems for each of their plants. It's made with a pop bottle and has a tiny spout at the bottom to allow water to slowly soak down around the roots.

Parent volunteers at Trilles des Bois come by to water the gardens.

And look at their gardens go!

The squash & cukes at Trilles des Bois loves to climb up the fence.

Woodroffe has got lots of big zucchinis too!

Woodroffe Elementary has lots of Swiss Chard - YUM!

Here is a tasty, easy way to prepare swiss chard:

  • 1 large bunch of fresh Swiss chard
  • 1 small clove garlic, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • Pinch of dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • Salt


1 Rinse out the Swiss chard leaves thoroughly. Remove the toughest third of the stalk, discard or save for another recipe (such as this Swiss chard ribs with cream and pasta). Roughly chop the leaves into inch-wide strips.

2 Heat a saucepan on a medium heat setting, add olive oil, a few small slices of garlic and the crushed red pepper. Sauté for about a minute. Add the chopped Swiss chard leaves. Cover. Check after about 5 minutes. If it looks dry, add a couple tablespoons of water. Flip the leaves over in the pan, so that what was on the bottom, is now on the top. Cover again. Check for doneness after another 5 minutes (remove a piece and taste it). Add salt to taste, and a small amount of butter. Remove the swiss chard to a serving dish.

The Herb Spiral

This herb spiral was built at the SLOE Children's Garden on Main St. It was built with middle-school aged children as part of a 3 day food education program run by a Carleton University student.

The Herb Spiral is an easy to make Permaculture project. It maximizes space and creates ideal conditions for a variety of plants. Herbs that are planted at the bottom get shaded by the spiral walls and the higher plants. Herbs that need most sun are at the top of the spiral.

The spiral is built by layering straw, good composted manure, and lots of water. Over time, the straw will break down and give nutrients to the plants. It also makes lots of space for the roots.

For more information about herb spirals and a video of how to make your own, visit:

Feel free to stop by the Children's Garden to enjoy & participate in the project. Playgroups are held on Saturday mornings for young children and parents. More information visit

Butterfly Garden at the SLOE Children's Garden