What better way to serve up a truly local meal than to grow the ingredients yourself? In our Garden Party series, we’re chatting with Feast On chefs to bring you the ins and outs of starting a kitchen garden. You’ll also get a sneak peek of what they’re growing…coming soon to a restaurant near you!
Chef and Co-owner,
Bruce Wine Bar + Kitchen
Find their Feast On profile here
Tell us about your garden!
The 4,600 square feet BWB garden is located 1 block south of the restaurant in Thornbury. It’s approximately 4600 square feet with rows and trellises.
What are you planting this year?
Lots! Fifty tomato plants, 5 varieties and six types of pole beans, rainbow Swiss chard, black kale, tomatillos, garlic, climbing cucumbers, a variety of hot peppers, savoy cabbage, leeks, sunflowers, raspberries, five varieties of mints. I know that I am missing a couple of things… We will also be trying to build up the edible permaculture again this year (for example, Solomon seal and sorrels.
Who helps in the garden?
The crew from the restaurant try to get out and help when they can but this year we will be looking to employ a gardener for a couple of hours a week. My oldest daughter (she’s four) helps with the tomatoes, beans and carrots although she eats as much as she picks so ya gotta be quick!
What have you changed for this year?
Last year was our first season with the garden this size. Prior to that it was much smaller – we moved to the back of the property for better sun and more space. Every year we amend the soil with different mulches and hummus. This year we are doing an organic mushroom base.
What has been the best part about starting a kitchen garden?
Inspiration and respect – what better way to get a ideas or teach than start where it comes from. Bruce tends to roll with what we have… radishes, turnips and chive blossoms in spring, summer is chard, beans, cucumbers, edible flowers, corn and tomatoes. Our fall planting bring radishes and turnips again along with beets and kale. Although Ontario has such a short growing season, it’s still packed with variety and color.
How do you showcase what you grow on your menu?
We love to talk about it! On our chalk boards, special inserts and social media (Twitter Instagram and Facebook). We love when our staff get involved – they’re excited to talk about the space and how an ingredient was still in the ground this morning or the garnishes were clipped just before service.
Any tips for a first time gardener?
Have fun try growing things that you already love to eat and don’t try to grow more than you can handle or consume ! The last thing you want is your garden to be a chore. Enjoy the fruits of playing in the soil and getting your hands dirty.