How They Grow Food Year-Round in Canada Using Backyard Permaculture
Gabe and Deborah knew that they wanted to leave their office jobs in Toronto behind, so they purchased a half acre of land in Ontario, Canada, and now have their own backyard permaculture garden where they grow their own food.
Gabe inherited his mother’s collection of over 10,000 seeds and is using them to create a pesticide-free micro-farming system. In order to attract natural pollinators, they have a “butterfly alley” with different plants that attract different types of butterflies.
The weather in Ontario is very variable, ranging from below-freezing temperatures in winter to extremely warm temperatures in the summer, so Deborah and Gabe have created their own eco bubble in a geodesic dome that keeps the temperature constant throughout the year.
They purchased the dome from Arctic Acres. It came in a kit and was easy to build. The framing is cedar, surrounded by polycarbonate panels. There is a pond that acts as a heating element by reflecting the sun, and by keeping 70% of the surfaces covered with plants, they maintain the ecosystem temperature in a natural way.
Living on the farm has been a trial and error experience. The first year, Deborah had so many tomatoes that she gave away 7,000! But as they spend more time growing food in their dome greenhouse, they are learning what to do along the way, and are also expanding their crop rotation. This year, the couple hopes to have their first-ever crop of potatoes.
Nothing makes Deborah happier than growing food and sharing it with others. Her goal is to grow her own food and have enough to share with the local community, so she started putting announcements on Facebook that she would be selling her spare produce, even though sometimes it was only a few radishes.
To her surprise, people really responded and her venue became extremely popular. Deborah also prices her fruits and vegetables as pay-as-you-go or as a food exchange, as her way of helping to combat food insecurity.
Her farm is a beautiful story of how you can use backyard permaculture to give back to the community.
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