Urban Gardening for the City Homesteader in Toronto

Who needs a yard?

Though the occasional “what is happening?” spring snowfall might be throwing you off, green thumbs are digging in the dirt to beautify their space or grow enough vegetables to fill a salad bowl. No yard? No problem. Try your hand at becoming a gardening guru at home or out and about in a neighbourhood near you with these opportunities to grow. Roommates might complain about out-of-control foliage, but not free tomatoes. And there’s really no better way to feel a sense of accomplishment after a long dreary winter than by watching something grow because of your care.

You say apartment, I say greenhouse:

Pour the drink of your choice, grab a pen and paper, sit down and brainstorm the possibilities of your urban agriculture project. Really, all you need to organize is some containers, soil and seeds or plants, but the options of what you grow and how you grow it are endless. Are you looking for an organic vegetable garden to help reduce your grocery bill and live a more self-sustaining life? Are you in need of oxygen-producing friends to brighten up an apartment you’ve grown sick of during winter hibernation? Or are you limited in space and just want to grow a few herbs to make dinner taste better or replace your medicine cabinet?

A photo posted by Iman Usman (@imanusman) on

Any space is useable – sprouting needs very little room, and even wall space can be utilized if you’re creative or handy or can follow some basic directions from Pinterest. As for what to plant – if you want to see something grow, surefire choices include tomatoes, marigolds, radishes and basil. Beware: beans will grow so quickly, they’ll haunt your dreams. Check TorontoBalconiesBloom.ca for more.

A video posted by VERDEVERTICAL (@verdevertical) on


Giving back to the community via gardens:

Take a slight detour on the way home from work to get your hands dirty and shake off a day of staring at a screen. If your garden vision is bigger than a windowsill or balcony, community gardens offer shared space, and also a great opportunity to network with others – either by sharing advice, or trading the benefits of your work.

More than 100 community gardens are spread throughout the city, or it’s possible to start one in your neighbourhood if you have a space in mind and a few interested friends. Want to grow, but hate to eat your greens? Some community gardens offer the opportunity to share your harvest with those in need. Check the Toronto Community Garden Network for more.


Guerrilla gardeners do it in the streets:

If you want to get back to nature but don’t have the time or interest in committing, get together with a casual group of semi-clandestine green thumb gangs in “vandalizing public space with flowers” to beautify abandoned areas.

Volunteers joining the global guerrilla gardening movement unite at fun outdoor sessions throughout the city to plant sunflowers in grates, replace litter with flowers and even adorn plants with Googly eyes. Check GuerillaGardening.ca for events and announcements.

A photo posted by Lee Rand (@uglygeezer) on


(Main photo: FarOutFlora)