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Sunday Garden Tour: Yellowknife, NWT, Part 2

Ron Berezan, aka The Urban Farmer, and I piled into France Benoit's SUV and as we drove the gorgeous route from Yellowknife's downtown to Madeline Lake to this filmmaker / gardener's off-grid home cabin and greenhouse. France told me that she gets about 300 pounds of produce, a retail value of $1000 in fresh produce, from the 1000-sq foot greenhouse.

The average daytime temperature at France's location is between 15 C to 20 C in the daytime, but it can get up to 30 C on a hot, mid-summer day. The plants actually can get heat-stressed very easily, even at the cooler temperatures, because of the 18-hour days.

Tomatoes, in upside-down planter bags, work beautifully and make good use of vertical space in the greenhouse.

A romanesco cauliflower (or a Roman cauliflower) appears to be happy in a pot in the greenhouse.


Tomatoes, tomatillos, and lettuces share beds in the greenhouse with the loose gravel floor.

France has a great collection of vinatge tea kettles. This one has a happy eggplant in it.

Waxy yellow beans grow in peat pots suspended from braces on the walls.

The greenhouse helps with extending the season -- she gets the first lettuce by mid-May, which is a feat in itself 200 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Canada's North West Territories -- but the cabin is surrounded by veggie beds and there are pots and window boxes absolutely everywhere, which add considerably to the production.

As I walked the outside gardens, I noted pumpkins, tomatoes, potatoes, Swiss chard, carrots, turnips, "egg turnips," beans, lettuce, parsley, squash, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and apparently France was able to grow quinoa. Last year's harvest was about two cups of the dry quinoa seed.

More delicate crops, like tomatoes and quinoa, are under the frost blanket in this photo.

Beans are still blooming on a glass wall of the gazebo.

Pumpkin growing in an old whisky / wine half-barrel.

Another mini-greenhouse for tomatoes made from old windows.

And a muskox skull as some Northern garden sculpture!

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Reader Comments (2)

Hello I wondered if you had any further information about the success of the Yellowknife greenhouse or a contact for the owner. I am interested in the idea of establishing greenhouses for northern reserves in Canada and would love some help in finding out about existing projects. Thanks Susana

January 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusana Rutherford

Hello Susanna,

Thanks for the note. I'd start by contacting the Territorial Farmers Association and explaining your project. Ask for Andrew. He can probably give you a few places to start. I think the link should still be on the post. Let me know if you can't find it. Jennifer

January 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterJennifer CK

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