Toronto Zen Centre has a rooftop food garden
Two year old garden sits on flat-roofed garage/workshop
By Barbara Lamb
Sensei (Taigen Henderson, the teacher at the Zen Centre) built the rooftop beds himself, following guidelines in the “Square Foot Garden”. In the first year we had a steep learning curve in terms of what the beds could support (greens and herbs seemed to work best). The next year we had a variety of herbs as well as mustard greens, chard, lettuce, arugula and rapini in the beds. We also grew tomatoes and cucumbers in larger pots, as well as potatoes in grow bags. Elsewhere in the garden we had peppers, eggplants, rhubarb and ground cherries. We have raspberry canes but they have yet to produce fruit.
Both years we grew enough lettuce to feed more than 20 people in the June retreat.
By having these gardens, in a modest way we are re-connecting with our Chinese ancestors in Zen, who grew food for their monasteries. We are also giving Sangha members a chance to learn to garden and enjoy truly fresh produce.