The reason I enjoy social media so much is because of the community I have found there, both in gardening and all other things sustainability. I have found people who are willing to share ideas, help each other, and also be vulnerable in sharing their challenges.
One of my favourite accounts to follow is Urban Gardening Canada on IG. Not only is this a Canadian gardener with a plethora of gardening experience and knowledge, but she’s also a funny, down-to-earth, incredibly kind human who also happens to love cats as much as I do. I had the absolute pleasure of meeting her this year, as we now call each other FRIEND.
Clearly she wasn’t able to get out of a features post on my blog, so here are some things I was curious about Bri, her garden, and the future of urbangardeningcanada.
Tell us the history behind @urbangardeningcanada:
It started in April of 2021 when I decided that my close friends likely didn’t want to see pictures of my garden every day, so I created a separate account. It had many different name iterations until I changed it to my current handle, as I would like to make a website someday. Finding gardening advice specifically for Canadians is hard to come by; everything is in Fahrenheit instead of Celsius, not much information on short seasons and cold winters. My goal is to give advice specifically to Canadians to help them start or grow their garden and production.
Tell us how your values tie in with your gardening account:
Although I am not quite there yet, I want my account to show alternatives to the three big, bad P’s in gardening: peat, plastic and pesticides. I want to show people that alternatives exist for peat, since it is so destructive on the environment (like making your own seed starting mix with coco coir). Or how to start seeds without using Dixie cups or other single-use plastics. Finally, how to organically manage pests to avoid the use of pesticides that can kill beneficial insects.
What is your favourite part about your garden and why?
I just moved, so I can tell you what my favourite part was, and also my least favourite part. My favourite part was how large it was and the shape that we built (a capital E). I loved standing in the pea gravel covered walkways, surrounded by vegetables, flowers and insects. In the height of the summer the plants were as tall as me, so it was a very immersive garden. My least favourite part was that we made the gardens way too deep and put it in a location where it was only accessible from one side. It was surrounded by fence and the middle garden was six feet wide. On either side you were always trying to reach in three feet, which was impossible to do.
As you are moving, have you thought about your new garden space at all?
Yes and no. I know I want a garden, and I will try and build most of it from ready-made metal planters. I have a hard time visualizing the possibilities in a backyard when I first move in. Gardens can feel so permanent, so it is a huge decision on their placement. I think it would be cute to have a small area that is garden with a fence around just the garden.
You have amazing content; is there a post or series that you are particularly proud of?
I have two favourite series so far! The first is our garden builds, so the greenhouse and cold frame items. I have some pretty creative garden builds, so they are fun to share. My second is my insect series. I am obsessed with bugs in the garden so I love learning more about them and sharing that information with others.
What is your favourite thing about using social media in the way you do?
I love getting comments from people about how my information has taught them something new or that it has been helpful for them. That is my main goal.
What do you see for @urbangardeningcanada in the future?
I really want to bring in the environmental standpoint into my posts. My goal with social media was always to spread the message on being kind to the planet and gardening has close ties to this. However, the garden and horticulture industry as a whole is very destructive on the planet, which is so strange to me considering their business relies on the planet.
What advice would you give a beginner gardener?
Perfection is impossible with gardening. Knowing everything in one year is impossible. A lot will go wrong and it means nothing to your skills. Also, buying seedlings from the greenhouse is nothing to be ashamed of. Not everyone has the time, space, or resources to grow from seed. It is a very costly process! Start small, buy seedlings of food you eat a lot of, and grow from there!
What is your biggest challenge this growing season?
First off, climate change is NOT making anything easier. But being a vegan gardener is HARD. I won’t buy soil with manure in it and I have not found an animal sanctuary that sells their manure, so I am having a hard time finding good nutrition to add to my soil. Worm compost is good, but it is very expensive so it makes it harder to use when my garden is so large.
What do you hope folks get out of your content?
I hope that people gain new knowledge from my content and that I break down barriers for anyone intimidated by gardening. No matter how many years of gardening you have under your belt, you will still make mistakes. I want someone looking at my content to think, “Oh! This is happening in my garden. Now I know how to manage this, so that next year my garden will do better”, instead of “This is too complicated. I don’t know anything about gardening, so it’s safer for me to not garden”.
Thank you to Bri for bringing us amazing content, and for taking the time to answer my questions! Check out her page, get inspired, and you’re good to grow!
In love and compost,