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Department Site Map



Garden Co-op page

Garden co-ordinator: Skylar Hill-Jackson

To contact Skylar:

The two-year temporary garden was set up by the city's technical services staff at the end of March 2021. The existing northwest gardens are mostly fenced off during the city's two-year rink reconstruction project. The new raised planters are just south of the field house.

May 2021: new community garden circle

carrots, beets in circle

nettles, tulips, daffodils

Garden Diary, 2023

read more


Garden diary 2022

first planting bee, March 16

seed lists

Farmer's almanac planting calendar for Toronto

edible weeds found in the park's naturalized gardens

Indigenous gardens

Note from Skylar to the 2022 garden volunteers

Look deep into nature, and you will understand everything better.- Albert Einstein

Dear All:
Just a note to thank everyone for being a member of the 2022 Dufferin Grove Park Garden Co-op, and for volunteering in the DGP vegetable/herb/flower new circle gardens for a second year. The gardens would not have been as successful without your commitment and hard work. There were even fewer garden volunteer participants than last year, but those who came accomplished so much.

Many thanks to the City of Toronto Parks & Recreation staff for providing wood chips again, for water service, and for the continued support throughout the 2022 gardening season. And, for keeping the Field House bathrooms open and clean.

Also, a very big thank you to all those neighbors and Micheli's Garden Centre at the Dufferin Mall, who gave the Garden Co-op many vegetable seedlings and pollinator wild and native plants. The Garden Co-op achieved amazing results, with no budget, based upon the kindness and generosity of our neighborhood community.

The DGP Garden Co-op volunteers began planting seeds in April and we were still harvesting wild arugula, chives, kale, carrots, parsley, and nasturtiums well into November.

Again this year, many park users stopped by to admire and tell us that the circle garden was very beautiful and an important park feature. This year the sunflowers seeded themselves all around the circle garden which brought many yellow finches and a wide variety of bees. At the end of the garden season we collected native and pollinator seeds to spread around the park next year. Again, one of the Co-op gardening session highlights was harvesting stinging nettles, and making stinging nettle soup.

Our very successful and beautiful 2022 garden session is over. The 2023 garden session will begin during March & April 2023 with cleaning up the beds, spreading compost, planting early vegetables: carrots, kale, beets, radishes, peas, collards, celery, and parsley.

See you all in March 2023.

DGP Garden Co-op Volunteers


June 2, 2022, a note from Skylar to garden volunteers

Hi All: Thank you very much for showing interest in volunteering with the Dufferin Grove Park Garden Co-op. Thank you for your patience. We had hoped to begin the gardening season in early April. However, this gardening season has been delayed while we wait for the City of Toronto Parks, Forests & Recreation department to grant official permission to begin the gardening sessions. We hope to begin the DGP garden sessions soon.

March 18, from Skylar:

First DGP garden session will be soon. Need a few dry days to get rid of the muddy ground conditions. First garden session: picking up all the rubbish from the Nettle Garden and cutting down all the dead stalks (?) in the Nettle Garden -- basically cleaning it up so the spring flowers can show all their beauty. I am very excited about what the spring (flowers) woodland will look like in the Nettle Garden after we transplanted as many bulbs as we could find last year before the construction zone was erected.

March 16, 2022

Seed planting in containers: 8 people planted many little pots, with broccoli, kale, collards, cauliflower, many different varieties of tomatoes, and basil.


Special interest: our food system

Garden diary 2021

Early fall garden photos

Garden photos 2021: self-seeded

Garden photos 2021: planted

July 9, 2021

A new, anonymous sign has gone up on the raised planters boxes:

"Sorry, I do not consider you to be a "volunteer." To me this is more of a person of privilege being given yet more dedicated public land to do their personal hobby on. In contrast, the skate boarders were given less space."

June 23, 2021

It looks like the soil in the city's raised planters has some street rubble in it, including bits of asphalt. The gardeners have been wondering why the plants look stunted. Message was sent out to Erella Ganon's neighbourhood listserv:

The temporary gardens, coordinated by Skylar Hill-Jackson, look lovely, and volunteer gardeners have planted a wonderful variety of vegetables, native plants, and flowers. But there's a problem -- it appears that the triple-mix the city put in there contains quite a bit of street rubble, including lots of asphalt bits -- all of it kind of working its way to the surface. (Have a look.)

City staff have been notified, but they're busy with a lot of other troubles, and it's hard to find out specifics from them. So I'm putting out a question to this list: does anyone know whether asphalt in soil is toxic to vegetables growing there, and therefore to people who want to eat them? What information should go up on a sign at the gardens?

There were lots of helpful responses. The news seems not as bad as the gardeners first thought. Read more.

June 21, 2021

the transplanted roses did fine

The roses that were moved from the construction area are looking fine, and they have lots of blooms.

May 26, 2021, from Skylar

Gardening schedule: Friday May 28 / 10-12noon

Sunday May 30 / 2-4pm

Tuesday June 1 / 4-6pm

Projects: planting beans, tomato plants, and sunflower seeds; watering, weeding, adding compost to gardens. Digging up iris plants and replanting on Cob green roof.
Harvest: Stinging Nettle Harvest (bring rubber gloves, scissors & paper or plastic bag)

May 17, 2021,Skylar to Peter:

"I am wondering if you have any time this week to help with digging two very large holes -- one for the rose bush and one for the large red dogwood tree."

May 12, 2021: thread on compost and rats

From Skylar to Emily and Kelly: The DGP Garden Co-op needs the compost bins for the 2021 garden season. Compost is vital for healthy and sustainable vegetable, herb and flower gardens. In my eleven years of volunteer gardening we have never had a rat problem in the compost bins. There are rats that live in the park along with skunks, raccoons, and other wildlife. Both DGP Recreation staff and garden volunteers managed the compost bins. Now, just the Garden Co-op volunteers manage the compost bins.

During the last month, 'someone' has carefully cut off the wire mesh from the back of the compost bins and last week that 'someone' cut off another wire mesh panel. Last week volunteers repaired the compost bins with chicken wire. It is now completely sealed and impenetrable. There is very little compost in the "Active" compost bin. There is very little compost in the 'Ready' bin and nothing in the 'Resting' bin.

The compost bins are necessary for the DGP Garden Co-op.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

May 11, 2021:

From Emily Summers, assistant to Ward 9 city councillor Ana Bailao, to Recreation supervisor Kelly MacInnes: Essentially, a few homes have begun to see a high number of rats, coming and going from the bin, and into their backyards.

Kelly, what do you think we can do here?

From Kelly: Hi Skylar & Emily,

My understanding is that the compost bins were provided for the food programs that were running out of Dufferin Grove. There were Recreation staff managing the stages of composting. Ive copied in Jason, as he has a much better understanding of this process.

As we do not have any food programs at the moment or Recreation staff to manage the composting, Im wondering if we could decommission the compost bins for now and, instead, come up with a schedule for collecting yard waste.

Once were back to full operations and staffing, we can reinstate the compost bins.

What are your thoughts?


May 5, 2021

From Emily Summers, assistant to Ward 9 city councillor Ana Bailao: "I received a call from a neighbour (and friend) of the Park, who is having some rat issues, stemming from food waste being put in the compost bin."

I am hoping we could chat this week about a solution that works for everyone- I have chatted briefly with Kelly, and wanted to make sure we were all on the same page.

April 30, 2021

From Skylar: Harvesting the stinging nettles and making soup was a new delicious experience. I froze a lot of nettle soup. Please consider harvesting more stinging nettles to take home at this Sunday garden session. Bring scissors, rubber gloves and a plastic bag, and wear appropriate clothing and footwear as the nettles are growing higher by the day!

Upcoming projects: 1. re-plant iris plants (dug up and saved from the front park gardens)
2. plant large (saved) rose bush
3. dig up last rose bush
4. finish rose garden bed / plant flower seeds
5. enlarge circle garden beds
6. lay wood chip paths in circle garden
7. water all the gardens
8. finish Dan's Tables gardens

April 29, 2021

From Skylar to the city rec staff: "Several weeks ago 'someone' carefully cut the wire mesh at the back of all 3 compost bins in the Dufferin Grove Park. The DGP Garden Co-op volunteers planned to fix the 3 bins with chicken wire and a staple gun but none of us have wire cutters.

The compost bins were originally built by city workers. Is it possible for the city workers to replace the wire mesh at the back of all 3 compost bins to contain the fruit and vegetable scraps and stop animals (rats) from getting inside?"

April 28, 2021

From head city plumber Tom Feeney: "The water should be on starting tomorrow morning at 7am - 9pm everyday"

April 25, 2021

Ileana harvesting nettles

Dufferin Grove Park (DGP) Garden Volunteer Co-op will be harvesting stinging nettles on Sunday, April 25. Stinging nettles can be made into soup or used in a stir fry, or dried for tea. Bring rubber gloves and a regular size shopping bag to put the harvested nettles in. To avoid touching the nettles please wear long sleeves, pants, rain boots.

Gardening session projects for Sunday, April 25 / 2-4pm: 1. stapling up jute trellises at Dan's Tables 2. brick edging of Field House gardens 3. finishing garden beds around Dan's Tables area. 4. replanting day lilies 5. build second bean teepee 6. seed spring flowers

Joel digging up bush
April 17, 2021

From Peter: I went back to the temporary gardens on Friday and checked the rose bushes we did together. At first they looked static and unchanged. Damn they are dead I thought ...but no, in the newer lighter coloured branches there are little shoots. I was relieved.

April 11, 2001

transplanting the forsythia

From Peter: transplanted Forsythia from front of rink house to close to cob kitchen and wood oven with volunteers Pavlov, Sam and son Michal.

April 8, 2021

From Skylar: Joel watered plants and seeds rain in forecast for ages...people are pooping behind the compost bins...plant nettles there? or fill with wood and stuff to block off? Need to find someone with a vehicle to pick up 100-year-old bricks (200) to do center garden...

April 5, 2021

From Peter, cost of materials to rebuild planters:

1.12 /1 x 6 cedar 8 foot lengths half price: $99.60
2. 4/ Strapping Supports 1. 1/2 inch by 1 1/2 8 feet long: $20.00\\ 3. 48 sq feet /styrofoam $15.98
4. 1 / part of a roll landscape cloth $10.00
5. 1 / part of a roll Hardware cloth $20.00
6. 200 / 2/12 inch deck screws $18.49 7. staples $8.99

Dans Table Sign paint $15.00\\ Subtotal 208.06\\ HST 27.04
Total 235.10

April 3, 2021

From Skylar:The construction fencing is not up yet. So we have been rescuing good soil for future garden and pot use, digging up remaining bulbs (tulips and day lilies).


Garden diary 2020

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