Scadding Court Community Centre has long offered a gardening programming with an eye to feeding those in need.
The centre has added a new greenhouse made out of an old shipping container, matching the style of its Market 707 vendors.
The greenhouse was donated by Giant Container Services and was officially launched at Scadding’s Seedy Saturday event on March 15.
“We started by planting seeds in it on Seedy Saturday and we’ll use it to grow seedlings that we can plant out in the community or sell at a plant sale,” said Scadding Court community and urban agriculture worker Krista Fry. “It extends our growing season to 10 months out of the year.”
The greenhouse measures 20 feet by eight feet. It will be fitted with a shade cloth in summer to facilitate the growing of hot weather plants and a heating blanket in the fall to help green, leafy plants grow.
Fry noted the planting schedule has already been determined for much of the year.
“We started with eggplant, which needs a longer growing season, and we’ll do tomatoes and peppers next. After that, we’ll plant cucumbers, pumpkin and squash,” she said.
The first Seedy Saturday saw more than 400 eggplant seeds planted, of which Fry is hopeful 300 to 350 will actually sprout.
Once the seeds become seedlings, they will be transported to a large garden plot in Alexandra Park, where community volunteers will tend to them.
“We have a huge 1,500-foot garden plot where volunteers grow food for the local food bank and our hot meals program,” Fry said.
Proceeds from the plant sale will go back to Scadding’s gardening program, while additional food grown there will go toward after-school programs and community meals.
The sheer volume of plants grown will allow the greenhouse to keep itself going in perpetuity. Seeds from some of the food grown will be used to plant again next year, with some additional seeds going to help other communities.
“We’ve sent seeds to Palestine to a refugee village, and we’ve sent seeds to Haiti,” Fry said.
The new greenhouse will also serve other uses said Scadding Court Community Centre manager of development and community engagement Nikki Toten.
“We’ll be able to store a lot of equipment in there,” she said. “It will also be something (local park advocacy group) Friends of Alexandra Park will be able to use.”
Toten said Scadding has had use of a greenhouse for years, but pointed out that it was no longer suited for growing.
“It was dilapidated,” she said. “It’s been held together by duct tape for a while now.”
For more information on Scadding Court’s gardening programs or to volunteer, call 416-392-0335 or email email@example.com