Street Greenhouses: Discover the Winter Edition of Promenade des Saveurs

Installation of the third Street Greenhouse

The summer garden is now in hibernation to make way for an experimental winter garden project that aims to promote food sovereignty.

In collaboration with Laboratoire de l’agriculture urbaine and the Ville-Marie borough, three passive solar greenhouses have been installed in the rue Dufresne between rue De Rouen and Larivière. Inside these greenhouses you will find:

  • 39 Smart-Pots from the summer garden
  • Six tunnels made from floating row cover to insulate the seedlings on cold nights
  • Three water barrels which absorb and retain heat to stabilize temperatures
  • Hundreds of frost-resistant vegetable plants
  • Thermometers that are recording temperatures inside the greenhouses

In addition to extending the growing season on the Promenade des saveurs, this project allows the Carrefour to offer gardening workshops and to feed the community all year round. Data on the performance of the greenhouses and on winter vegetable production in passive greenhouses will be collected to produce a practical guide for citizens interested in reproducing a similar installation at home. The greenhouses, which are built with temporary car shelters, also serve to spark discussion about the role of food production in urban environments and the space we afford to cars. At the same time, these installations will test the impact of different energy efficiency measures on winter production, like insulation with snow, solar energy, and floating row covers.

Row cover insulating crops inside a Street Greenhouse.

The winter edition of the Promenade des saveurs allows the Carrefour Solidaire CFC to offer fresh vegetables and urban agriculture activities to the Centre-Sud community year-round. More than just a street closure, rue Dufresne is an important space for the neighbourhood. In the summer, it is a living environment and a large food garden that hundreds of citizens visit daily. In the winter, the street provides an incredible space for innovation and urban agriculture education.

What We Are Growing:

Many varieties of vegetables are adapted to cool weather conditions. Some of them even taste better when exposed to the cold! Indeed, when the mercury drops, some plants concentrate sugars and proteins in their cells to lower their freezing temperature. It’s a fascinating adaptation that allows us to grow and eat delicious greens, even during the winter! Some of the hardy vegetables that can be found in the rue Dufresne Street Greenhouses are: Kale, arugula, radishes, spinach, bok choy, lettuce, lamb’s lettuce, mustard greens and much more!

How Do the Street Greenhouses Work?

The interior of one of the Street Greenhouses.

The greenhouses are made of polycarbonate, a hard, blown plastic that has good thermal resistance. The sun’s heat accumulates in the greenhouse during the day and is redistributed at night or on cloudy days. Several energy efficiency measures will be explored and documented: Insulation with snow, insulating row cover, solar energy, etc. The crops chosen are extremely frost resistant and by gradually habituating them to cold temperatures, they can withstand big freezes. Vegetable growers like Eliot Coleman and Jean-Martin Fortier have demonstrated that it is possible to produce vegetables all year round in Quebec. However, we will need to be patient with our greens, as the light in the winter months is much reduced, meaning growth will be slow!

Who Will the Harvests Go To?

The harvests will be carefully weighed and counted to measure the energy impacts of the greenhouses. They will then be distributed to the Centre-Sud community through the Carrefour Solidaire CFC’s programs.

Can I Visit the Street Greenhouses?

This winter project is different from the summer Promenade des Saveurs. In the summer, the gardens are always open to visitors and pickers, but in the winter, we must keep the greenhouses closed to ensure a stable temperature for our crops. Guided tours and workshops will be organized soon to satisfy your curiosity!

To organize a guided tour, contacte Emilie at jardin@carrefoursolidaire.org or call 514 525 6611.