2010 End of Season Review

Below is our 2010 End of Season Review!  It is incredible to reflect on how much we accomplished in just one year!  Thank you to our incredible community of volunteers, participants, and supporters!

Kavanah Garden Update: Closing up for Winter!

Hello everyone!
Well, it's officially November.  Here's a look back on what happened at the Kavanah Garden this fall...

Checking in on the leafcutting bees that have taken up residence in our Pollinator Palace!

 Harvesting tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers and potatoes!  In total this season we harvested over 400 pounds of produce that was donated to Ve'Ahavta.  Ve'Ahavta's volunteer chefs will prepare our veggies into delicious soups and stews and distribute it to community members in need. 

Bug hunting during our weekly CSA vegetable share pick up in partnership with the Cutting Veg Organic Farm.

Saving seeds from our 10 delicious tomato varieties!  Looking forward to enjoying Green Zebra, Yello Pear, and Red Currant tomatoes again next season!

 One of our Mammoth Russian Sunflowers - this one grew to be over 8 feet tall!

 Grade 4 students from Leo Baeck made an amazing discovery during their fieldtrip to the Kavanah Garden - a praying mantis!

  Pickling 101 Workshop in partnership with Makom.  Participants each made their own jar of pickled cucumbers and helped make batches of pickled dilly beans and kimchi!

  Putting up the walls on our Succah! 


Thank you to everyone who joined us to celebrate the harvest festival of Sukkot!  Together we took care of our worms, made a delicious batch of compost tea (delicious for plants, not for people!), decorated our Sukkah, and performed the mitzvah of shaking the lulav and etrog!

  Our final harvest!  Two of our six beautiful pumpkins!

In the last few weeks we have put a lot of energy into preparing the Kavanah Garden for winter.  We added manure and finished compost from our composter to all of the beds (to add nutrients back to the soil which will feed next year's veggies), we mulched all of the beds (to keep the creatures and critters that live in the soil warm over the winter), we cleaned and packed away all of our tools and trellises, we took a deep breath and gave ourselves a pat of the back...what a season!  Thank you to the countless community members who made our second season so incredible!  There may be frost on the ground now, but before you know it spring will be here and the Kavanah Garden will be open for another season of growth!

Wishing you all a restful and restorative winter!

Kavanah Garden Harvest Underway

Summer is drawing to a close which means we're gearing up for the high holidays and the return of school-groups to the garden!  The past couple of months have been extremely hot, but with the help of our dedicated volunteers and countless trips down to the stream, our plants have pushed through!  And while Sukkot, the harvest festival, doesn't begin for another few weeks, our harvest is well underway.  Here are some photos of what's been growing in our space (plant and critter alike) and what's already been harvested.

A beautiful patty-pan squash.  One of our several varieties of summer squash.
A kohlrabi of epic proportions - one of our first brassica harvests.
Our barley patch! (Barley is one of the 7 species of Israel)

Sunflowers are great for attracting many species of pollinator, especially bees!

Some of our livelier (yet mysterious) garden inhabitants.

A decorative gourd, which we'll use to decorate our Sukkah

Heritage corn.

A yellow garden spider protecting her web.
Two of our 400 or so heads of garlic

A damselfly resting near our stream

The bountiful offerings of the Cutting Veg CSA stand.

The prolific echinacea grove attracting more pollinators.

Kavanah Garden Summer Update

What a summer we've been having!  Here's a look at some of the amazing things that have been happening at the Kavanah Garden :
With all the sun we've been getting, our plants are THIRSTY!  We are incredibly blessed to have a stream right beside the Kavanah Garden!  We looked on a map and discovered that our stream goes all the ways to Lake Ontario...

Just as we finished setting up our new Toad Abode (a home for toads and frogs made out of broken clay pots)....we found a toad!

Hunting for sababas (insects and other such things) at the second annual Kavanah Garden Community Festival!

Garlic scape harvest maddness!!!!  We are growing 7 different varieties of garlic this season!  Honouring the Jewish law of Ma'aser (tithing), at least 10% of the garlic scapes we harvest are donated to tzedakah.

The meadow is FILLED with wildflowers!  These yellow meadow vetchling smell absolutely amazing!  Do you know the blessing to say over wonderful smelling plants?

It's wild black raspberry season!  So far we have picked almost 4 kilograms of berries for our Jam Making Workshop next week!    We'll be saving some of the jam for making hamentashen next Purim! 

Wild turkey in the meadow!!!!  We think they love black raspberries almost as much as we do!

Painting our new SPINNING composter!  Made out of an old olive drum....
Now we can TURN our old vegetable scraps into nutrient rich compost for next season's plants!

Making fresh mint tea in our solar oven!  Delicious!

The wonderful folks from PJ Library joined us at our community festival to share a few super sweet stories (and freezies too!)

Watering the grapes growing on our arbour.  Maybe in a few years we can make grape juice for Shabbat from the grapes that will grow!

Volunteers from Green Juice spent an afternoon at the garden helping weed, water, and harvest, while learning about the different Jewish environmental teachings we model at the Kavanah Garden. 

At the Kavanah Garden....we're going back to our roots!

Such abundance we have been blessed with!  Looking forward to celebrating with our growing community in the coming weeks :)

Kavanah Garden Community Update

Hello Kavanah Community!

The past couple of weeks have been incredibly productive at the garden. We've had every weather system imaginable pass through - from snow and hail to blistering heat to torrential downpours, yet students, volunteers and staff have worked through it all!

Program Update
In the first week of June we hosted five programs at the garden, including an interfaith program with the grade 8 students from both the Islamic Foundation School and the Paul Penna School, and a native pollinator workshop that was open to all community members.  Students have been learning about our local water system, vermicompost and worm-bin maintenance, the law of ba'al tashchit which forbids us from being wasteful, biblical planting techniques, as well as native plants and critters.

Grade 7 and 8 students from Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School and the Islamic Foundation School.  Together the students studied Jewish environmental and Muslim environmental sources, planted our 3 Sisters garden (corn, beans, and squash), and learned about Jewish agricultural laws.

Students from the Islamic Foundation School measuring one tefach (handbreadth) of space between seeds.

Volunteers and pollinators came together to build our native pollinator garden last weekend!  We planted five kinds of native wildflowers that are rich in pollen and nectar, defined native pollinator habitat spaces, and made seed balls to help spread the native pollinator lovin' to other parts of our community!

Volunteers assemble and prepare to install our new Pollinator Palace!

Planting Update
Our garden beds have received some serious TLC in the last week, and we've planted a wide variety of delicious and deliciously beautiful plants such as...
- tomatoes - 7 varieties!
- potatoes and onions in one bed (our Chanukah bed...mmm my mouth is watering)
- beans and peas of the climbing variety
- strawberries and strawberry spinach (a new one for us)
- corn and squash in our Three Sisters bed
- wheat and barley - these are 2 of Israel's biblical 7 species that grow in Canada as well! We planted them in time for Shavuot, which is a celebration of the wheat harvest.
- bee balm in our Native Pollinator bed to attract our pollinator friends
-amaranth, sunflowers, basil...the list goes on :)

Collecting the rainwater from our makeshift roof!  Last week's rain was amazing - it looks like our garlic grew almost 6 inches overnight!

Planting spinach in our recycling bin planters!

Bnai Mitzvah students from Temple Emanuel plant soybean seedlings!

CSA Update
The first CSA pickup was last Thursday, June 3rd, and was a wonderful soggy success. It was so great having everyone at the garden and meeting our extended community.  Daniel, the fantastic farmer behind the Cutting Veg provided a gorgeous selection of asparagus, spinach, salad greens, spring onions and garlic, radishes, potatoes, rhubarb, bok choy, apples, turnips and maybe a couple things I'm forgetting too.   All of it was fresh and earthy and delicious (trust me)!

Kavanah Garden - celebrating a growthful spring season as we move into summer.  Thank you to the countless community volunteers who have helped us plant over 75 varieties of vegetables in just six short weeks!  Looking forward to the fruits of our labours (literally).  And knowing that 80% of what we harvest will be going to feed community members in need makes the work that much sweeter :)

Kavanah Garden Update

Hi everyone!

I’m Beth, one of the summer interns, and I’m so excited to be spending this growing season at the Kavanah Garden! I think it’s important to be aware of where our food comes from and how it was grown. I love how the Kavanah Garden brings the community together to grow food sustainably and engage in Tikkun Olam.

In the past few weeks we’ve been hard at work weeding, planting, preparing and running programs.  So far we've planted:
-strawberries in one of the raised beds
-beans in recycling bins with families from the Hillel Children’s Workshop
-barley and wheat in the first 2 Shemitah beds with students from Darchei Noam Supplementary School
-2 varieties of kale in one of the farm beds
-our Garden of Sages, featuring 7 kinds of sage planted alongside sagely words of wisdom

We have lots of programs and workshops coming up, and the first CSA pickup day/open garden time is this Thursday June 3rd from 3-7pm. Check out our Calendar of Events for details.

Looking forward to growing with all of you this season!
Beth with our first harvest of the season!  Rhubarb!

Five of the seven plots in our Shmitah bed....numbered and ready to be planted! 

Saying a bracha (blessing) on wild lilac growing in the ravine.

Serving raw chocolate banana coconut almond smoothie in Chocolate Making 101,
part of the Jewish Urban Homesteading Workshop Series, in partnership with Makom!

Seedlings!  10 different kinds of tomato, 6 different kinds of peppers,
2 different kinds of basil, ground cherries, tomatillos, wildflowers, and more! 
All ready to be planted by school, congregational, and volunteer groups
in the next couple of weeks!

Looking forward to an epic few weeks at the Kavanah Garden!!!