Posted in Nunavut

Iqaluit: A Community Greenhouse Update

After I first wrote about the Iqaluit Community Greenhouse in mid-June, it was almost a month before the Committee decided it was safely warm to start planting. My wife is the chiefly responsible for looking after our plot (I will be mainly dealing with the harvest), but this past Saturday I volunteered to go out and do the watering so I could see how things were doing…

Well, I have to say that, on first stepping into the place the other day, I was a little disappointed in the rather poor showing after nearly four weeks growth. Things definitely seemed to be much further along this time last year. My wife says that everyone was a little bit over cautious in waiting for the right time to plant this season and that starting a couple of weeks earlier would have been just fine.

Those who obtain plots in the greenhouse are expected to grow edible produce and to weigh and record their respective yields for the records. The goal is overall weight of harvest and, as such, even growing herbs is discouraged, with flowers being more or less verboten. There are actually some flowers underway, as you can see above, but these are apparently part of a scientific research project being undertaken. It sounds quite interesting, but I have to confess that I am not really sure what the study is about.

This is the first of our plots… Sadly, like many of the others in the greenhouse, the growth is not very impressive as yet.

Our other little patch is doing much better. This one contains regular red radishes and the huge, long white variety known as Daikon. These are a high yield crop and I am quite proud to say that, last year, my wife’s daikon harvest amounted to one third of the weight of the entire greenhouse output. I fancy we will be pickling quite a bit again in a month or so…

We actually have had a little harvest already, it seems… My wife brought this little lot home a few days ago and I will use the shredded leaves in some rice for supper tonight. My wife says we will have to share the lonely little radish between us and I am hoping it won’t spoil our appetite for the main course.

Anyway, once we do get a bit of yield I will be cooking the results and sharing whatever culinary experiments I undertake with you in future posts…





I am a lawyer by profession and my practice is Criminal... I mean, I specialize in Criminal law. My work involves travelling on Court circuits to remote Arctic communities. In between my travels I write a Food blog at

23 thoughts on “Iqaluit: A Community Greenhouse Update

  1. Hope you didn’t overdo it with your radish! 🙂 I’m happy for you to have access to the greenhouse and a good way to harvest some produce. I would think it very challenging under the weather conditions, but good for you for persevering. Each success must be a thrill! D

    1. Actually .. pollination is not remotely an issue at present. The greenhouse is just a summer project and we only have three months of growing time. In Sepember sometime, there will be a final harvest and then everything will be cleared out until next July. There is no feasible way of heating a greenhouse much beyond that and, here in these regions we also have to contend with a lengthy winter ‘dark season’ as well as the near ‘midnight sun’ of the summer. Beyond that, it is pretty much grow lights and a bit of space on the window sills at home.

  2. That’s so cool! I’ve always wanted to have my own greenhouse plot, but here in town it’s just snooty community ground gardeners…. I’m ok stuck on my balcony though!

  3. Community greenhouse is a great idea. We have community gardens in SF, with similar concept. There are inter- generation programs in those community gardens, a great place for programming livable communities.

    1. My wife and I won’t retire in the North … we both look forward to being able to garden most of the year round someday and mostly feed ourselves. We have bookshelves groaning with tomes devoted to like subjects 🙂

  4. Daikon are great (and heavy) but how long do they grow in those containers? I have bought daikon as long as my arm and as thick as my calves. Your community sounds very organized. More so than the gardening groups here.

  5. Hope you all keep on greenhouse community gardening up there in Iqualuit. This is a long overdue, needed necessity…homegrown that will cut down some outrageously high prices of fresh veggies and fruits flown to the Canadian Arctic. I suppose there’s very little fruit grown in that greenhouse. Nevertheless every edible stalk and herb counts up at your end.

    Write more about your community greenhouse –it’s not too often yet those types of greenhouses for the food table. Whoever is participating is very lucky.

    1. Yes … no fruit at all. I don’t think that’s much of a possibilty for the long forseeable future. I was hoping to have some fresh chillies but my wife said the growing season is a bit too short. I’ll be back with further updates after my upcoming house move…

  6. This was really interesting. You kept me reading and wanting more, right up until the end . . . when you made me grin with your remark about the radish spoiling your dinner! Thanks for the info, and the smile! Well done, again. xo

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