A guide to allotment gardens in Toronto
What's a green thumb to do in Toronto when they're condo-bound, renting or just generally backyardless? Those without the outdoor space can always sow their tomatoes, cucumber and zucchini seeds in one of the city's 12 outdoor allotment gardens (and one indoor greenhouse) available to permit seasonally.
While they're not exactly secret gardens, it would seem that few people are aware of their existence. I came to acquire a plot of my own this season when a friend saw a community Facebook post back in February; we agreed to share a plot, put our names down on the waiting list and then entirely forgot about the whole thing until we got a call in mid-April.
The cost is $76 (pre tax) for access to the outdoor gardens from May 1 to October 31. We were given a choice of available plots and once paid up with the permit office we were supplied a key to the sprawling fenced-in garden just north of the Leslie Street Spit.
The garden on Leslie is the city's biggest with 200+ plots available. Once inside we discovered we had access to not only our plot, but also water taps (BYO-hose), wheelbarrows, a shed full of ancient equipment and compost piles. The permit office confirms that access to water and organic disposal is available at all locations.
We'll be given first dibs on the same plot next year too so planting perennials isn't going to be a problem. In fact, we can keep our plot as long as we pay-up every year which means all that back breaking work we've put in already will all be worth it when I'm harvesting veggies for years to come.
Demand is high and the gardens do fill up. If this sounds appealing to you too, call 416.392.8188 or visit your local permit office for rates an availability. If there's nothing available this year, be sure to mark the first working day in February in your calendars and call to register for the waitlist first thing in the morning.
Here's a round-up of allotment gardens in Toronto:
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