Gardening and COVID-19

For All Gardeners in Ottawa

We hope you are all keeping well during this difficult time.

This newsletter is to reach out to all gardeners in Ottawa, including those in Community Gardens, to provide you with some updates, and seek your input in the face of COVID-19 pandemic.

We gardeners are creative, strong and resourceful! Did you know that there are minimum 6,000 – 7,000 community garden members in Ottawa within 100 community gardens?  Let alone the thousands of people gardening at home.

Together, we can do a lot!

If you are a Community Garden Coordinator: Please forward this email to all of your gardeners, and encourage them to sign up for community garden newsletters by clicking here.  Fill out this contact form to be sure you are on our coordinator-only emails.


1. Gardening at an unusual Covid-19 time
2. SeedLing Saturday scheduled for May 23, 2020
3. Gardening workshops
4. Ordering regionally adapted seeds for your gardening needs

5. Watch Cornwall’s Seedy Saturday Online

1. Gardening at an unusual Covid-19 time.

Just Food believes firmly that all gardening, including in community gardens, in yardshare situations and in households, are essential services.  

We have asked Ottawa Public Health for their advice for gardeners working outdoors, including in a Community Garden or Yardshare setting.  We are working with other networks, compiling practices under discussions in other regions in North America, and will share with you as soon as we have it together. So hang tight!

Just Food will be hosting all meetings and training workshops through Zoom until further notice. 

What are your ideas?

With food security becoming ever more looming, and many uncertainties ahead, we are gathering tips and ideas on how communities, households and businesses are responding to food access. 

Physical distancing (not social distancing!), type of food to grow this year, online community garden AGM, volunteer days, staggered gardening schedules…

What are some of the strategies you are considering for this year’s gardening season?

What measures are you taking and are seeing as effective in this community or reading about in other communities related to gardening?

Your experience, ideas and expertise can help us plan for regulations allowed for gardens this year.

Please click here to share your information or ideas

For Community Garden Coordinators:

If your Community Garden group needs an online meeting, including an AGM, we can set that up on our Zoom platform for you…

Please click here to indicate you would like a meeting set up for your garden.

2. SeedLing Saturday Scheduled for May 23, 2020

We have previously posted about East Ottawa Seedy Saturday on April 18, 2020. 

While seeds are an essential service, this event is CANCELLED, based on the ability of people to purchase seeds online.   (Please see #4 below for a list of seed companies).

However, seedLings need to be picked up, so Just Food is hosting a

SeedLing Saturday!

WHEN: Saturday, May 23, 2020.
WHERE: Just Food Farm (2391 Pépin Court – Bus #25 and free parking)
COST: Free admission (with strict requirement to adhere to physical distancing standards)
RSVP: Keep your eyes on the next newsletter for details on time of the event, and how to sign up.

If you are a seedling vendor and would like to participate, please click here and we will send you additional information beginning of April. 

3. Gardening workshops

Online Workshops

Learn food gardening basics from instructors who are experienced.

First, we are providing BASIC gardening online recorded sessions for FREE, so everyone who is interested in food gardening can get started.

The topics include:

  1. How to plan and grow a small garden on your balcony or pots/container. 
  2. How to plan and grow a garden in your backyard, front yard or community garden plot.
  3. Indoor Seed Starting.
  4. Making compost and building soil outside.
  5. Vermicompost – making compost inside and year-round.
  6. Container food gardening. 
  7. Natural Pest control.
  8. Water-saving gardening design.

These sessions will be available online on the Just Food website.

We will send out the dates to you shortly, in our next email.

For gardeners looking for broader topics and more intermediate skills and to get tips in an interactive way, we are going to host a series of interactive online workshops, from seed starting to harvest to food preservation to fermentation to herbalism. 

These workshops will be hosted by Just Food with community partners, and will be provided at cost ($5/person), or a free option if you don’t have the money.


Indoor Seed Starting Workshop for your Organic Vegetable Garden

Choose one of the two identical sessions

– Monday, March 30 at 1 PM – 2:30 PM (Event link), and
– Tuesday, March 31 at 1 PM – 2:30 PM (Event link

Please note that there is a link in the registration pages listed above, where there is an option to participate for free, if you do not have money.

The next newsletter coming out very shortly will have more topics and dates.

We need your input

*If you have the knowledge to be a trainer on any relevant topics, or
*If you have topics you want to see covered in an online workshop at any point during the growing season, 

please click here to let us know.

We URGENTLY need facilitators with experience growing in the Ottawa region to teach BASIC GARDENING in French and Arabic. if you have this expertise, please get ahold of Sun Shan at

4. Ordering regionally adapted seeds for your gardening needs

It is important to order seeds immediately if you haven’t already.

(If you or other gardeners don’t have the ability to purchase online with a credit card, or are low-income and don’t have money for seeds, please click here, and we can assist you in finding another way.)

We encourage you to use UNTREATED seeds. For community gardens, using untreated seeds is a requirement.

To ensure garden success, find seeds that are adapted to this region, either through a fellow gardener, or one of the vendors from the Organic Seed Directory put together by Canadian Organic Growers. The link to access this Directory is Organic seeds are chemical-free and untreated, and they were grown under Certified Organic conditions.

In addition, check out

Bird and Bee Seeds
Phone: 613-601-9177
Address: 2391 Pépin Court, Ottawa, ON, K1B 4Z3

Richters Herbs
To email them, click here.
Phone: +1.905.640.6677  Fax. +1.905.640.6641
Address: 357 Highway 47, Goodwood, ON L0C 1A0 Canada

There are other seed companies that you might be buying from that have regionally adapted seed.  If they are not listed above, please let us know so that we add them. Thanks! Email CGN Coordinator at

Have we said to order seeds immediately if you haven’t already? 🙂

5. Watch Cornwall’s Seedy Saturday Online

This past Saturday, Cornwall hosted an online Seedy Saturday. Watch the recorded Seedy Saturday video here on Transition Cornwall facebook page (you don’t need a facebook account to watch):

Topics covered are:

Start-up Farm Program

Just Food established the Start-Up Farm Program to support new farmers in the Ottawa region. By offering access to land, shared infrastructure/equipment, and training, the program aims to enable more people in this region to start their own successful farm business.

> Read More about Just Food’s Start-up Farm program