By Linda Chan, Montreal Street allotment gardener,                                                                    and                                                                                                                                                                  Marion Yas, Garden Committee member, James Bay Neighbourhood Association


In the heart of James Bay, at the corner of Battery and Paddon, you will come upon a thriving family homestead. This is where the Adams, Chris, Susannah and their two young children, live and work, surrounded by a menagerie of rabbits, chickens, quail, and heritage Welsh harlequin ducks. These animals are integral to the farm's healthy ecosystem: ducks and chickens provide pesticide-free slug, insect, and weed control to the crops; birds and rabbits alike contribute natural, unadulterated fertilizer to the soil. The result of this group effort is a self-sustaining organic cornucopia of eggs (three kinds!), fruit, and vegetables.

The main rush of the harvest was over at the Adams’ urban farm when we visited in early September. We expected a leisurely chat with Chris and Susannah; instead, we found them digging in their front-yard. As they set out bok choy seedlings, we learned that late season plantings of peas, salad greens, and the bok choy, for example, can be harvested into the fall, whereas hardy beans will produce until the spring. Their land is small, and must be continuously worked to yield enough food for the family.

Autumn, however, is a particularly active time. Working the fertile plots by day, the Adams stock up for winter during the lengthening evenings. The kitchen freezer is filled with fritters made from this year’s bumper crop of zucchinis. Fruit from the Adams’ dwarf apple trees dehydrate into a winter supply of snack-sized apple rings for the children. More apples, these from friends and family in the neighbourhood, are pressed into cider. Garden vegetables, carefully chopped, ferment into endless batches of kimchi. The family eagerly awaits the slow-maturing kiwi fruits, ripe only after the first frost.

Well before then, Chris will ready the chickens and ducks and quail and rabbits for the weather ahead. Their winter housing will be made draft-free and water-tight, ensuring the animals are snug and secure outdoors.

Work on this busy farm doesn't stop, not even at this time of year. But inside the Adams home, the family will pause to enjoy the bounty of their efforts, to plan for the next cycle, and to wonder over nature's incredible generosity,

Photo caption Chris and Susannah Adams planting bok choy early in September to be ready for  Thanksgiving