Advice on Starting Your Own Calgary Vegetable Garden

Rod Olson from Leaf and Lyre Urban Farms gives advice on things that grow well in Calgary, and they should know! They run a small business selling the produce they grow from gardens around Bowness.

Their philosophy is:

“URBAN: We make use of the space around us in the belief that city spaces—though often small in themselves—can as a collected whole be productive and green, more vibrant and interesting, than our traditional uses of yard space.  Our enterprise continues to experiment with the agricultural possibilities that Calgary has to offer.

LOCAL: We want to address the growing geographic disconnect between food consumers and food producers in a world where the average food item can travel hundreds or thousands of kilometres from field to plate.  We propose to grow flavourful, synthetic chemical free, nutrient-rich vegetables and herbs within blocks of where we live and shop and dine.

SUSTAINABLE:  We direct our efforts at sustainable forms of agriculture that don’t rely on use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides; instead, we utilize intensive growing techniques and strategies derived from the burgeoning world of local and organic food movements.   These involve the use of nourishing composts and natural mulches—which result in the creation of mineral rich, fertile soils that will produce robust, disease-resistant plants—along with the planting of carefully selected flowers and herbs, which draw all manner of beneficial animal and microbial life (think ladybugs and earthworms and soil fungi) to protect and sustain growing plants.  While it takes a little more work, this strategy provides better and healthier results over both the short and long terms.

BEAUTIFUL: We see a great deal of beauty in the growth of a full urban garden—not just in the sight of bright green vegetable rows, the trellises and bean poles with their climbing vines, the bright blossoms and fruits of flowering plants, but also in the buzzing of industrious insects and the singing of the birds who are drawn to them, as well as in the scents of fresh herbs and flowers and of rich, dark soil.”

To sign up for their CSA or learn how to get your unused compost to them, go to

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