Living in Toronto – Growing Heirloom Vegetables


I had a TV crew here for about 2 hours one scorching hot and humid afternoon in August shooting a segment on heirloom vegetables for a show called “Living in Toronto.” There are other “Living ins” across Canada however the first is set to air tomorrow afternoon.

Details: CBC “Living in Toronto”, 1pm – 1:30pm.

My rooftop garden as seen from underneath the tent.


Here I am with the segment producer Myrocia preparing for a tomato-tasting bit. Did I mention the unbearable heat and humidity? By the time this picture was taken I had completely given up on any attempt to look TV-ready. I had to dab my face with a towel between takes. Good times!

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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5 thoughts on “Living in Toronto – Growing Heirloom Vegetables

  1. How beautiful! Where did you get the flowering tobacco plant? I think that’s the one with the tubular white flowers? Can you recommend a fragrant variety? Thanks!

  2. j: There are perennials in the large planter boxes that stay there all winter. I try to do final crops of cold-season plants like greens before the winter and I usually grow a few kales that stay until it freezes.

    I usually grow the nicotiana from seed. They are really easy and you can collect a ton of seeds from one plant. This variety is very fragrant, especially in the late evening and at night — Nicotiana alata.

  3. You have a beautiful rooftop garden. I’ve never heard of this series … It’s incredible that you can keep your perennials alive in containers during the winter. They’d be toast here by spring.

    Do you ever have aphid problems with your Nicotiana? I usually have an infestation that is hard to control just by blasting water at them. It doesn’t happen with the lower-growing form – at least not yet. You look great even if it was hot and humid!

  4. Kate: Nicotiana (especially the really sticky varieties like mine) are really susceptible to aphid infestations. They are par for the course and don’t do much damage to the plants. I try and wash them off with water now and again but my plants pretty much always have aphids on them once they hit a certain size and for the rest of the season.

    The perennials only last in the large containers. Anything too small or terracotta is emptied, washed, and brought indoors for the winter. I plant what I can into a permanent outdoor space like my community garden.

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