Starting in a single backyard on Euclid Avenue, Euclid Farms has now expanded to eleven yards in West Queen West and Roncesvalles, Toronto. We have been fortunate to develop incredible partnerships with the owners of these yards. They allow us to use their land, and we create and maintain a cut flower garden for them to enjoy from afar. These wonderful yard lenders are integral parts of our growth and our ability to grow local, chemical-free cut flowers in the city. And although some of these yards are small, you’d be surprised at how many flowers we can grow in them! If you have a full sun yard and are interested in becoming a yard lender with Euclid Farms, please email us some photos of your yard as well as your address and we will be in touch.
The Farm’s season starts in late February, when we start the seeds for our hardy annuals indoors. Shannon’s home is essentially the farm base, where all Euclid Farms seeds are germinated and cared for before being transplanted to one of our yards. In April we start harvesting the first of the spring bulbs planted the fall before, giving us over 3500 tulips, narcissus, daffodils, muscari, and hellebores stems to fill our shop. April is spent clearing debris and reenergizing the soil with fertilizers and compost (all natural of course). It is our least favourite farm month but come September we are always glad we put the effort in! By late May the indoor grow lights AND pop up outdoor greenhouse are bursting with seedlings, and the dahlia tubers are ready to be planted. It takes approximately one month to get all the seedlings and tubers planted into the ground. May and June is spent planting, weeding, watering and harvesting mostly perennials such as irises, peonies, lily of the valley, foxgloves, columbine and the first (and most exceptional) rose flush on our rose bushes. By July the Farm has truly taken off, and the team works seven days a week to harvest, deadhead and water all the yards. In late September we start removing spent plants bit by bit while the zinnias, cosmos and dahlias have their most incredible show. By late October most of the yards are tidy, re-fertilized and ready for the following season, but we leave all the dahlias until our first frost (which usually arrives early in November). Once the killing frost has come, the great dig and divide of hundreds of dahlias commences, providing us with ample stock both for our yards and to sell the following spring. Lastly, we dig massive trenches and plant our new spring bulb crops and tuck all the yards in for the winter. Our farm team is incredibly busy during this 7-8 month period, amending the soil, planting perennials and bulbs, tending to the flowers, harvesting and ensuring that the store is fully stocked with local blooms.
In July 2021, the Farm team began a multi-year experiment breeding our own dahlias! We spent hours reading textbooks, learning the genealogy of these plants and carefully selecting our parent plants for breeding. Using both tiny paint brushes to move pollen and of course relying on the bees, we successfully crossbred 10 varieties which resulted in thousands of viable seeds…more seeds than we can handle to be honest! One day we hope to have dahlias sold at our shop that can only be found at Euclid Farms! Time will tell how the project turns out!
We often offer free workshops for volunteers who are interested in learning about our growing practices, and also in helping us get some much needed work done! Workshops range from seed starting, afternoon seedling planting, dahlia digging and dividing, to tulip planting. Sign up for our newsletter to find out when they happen.