A Detailed Introduction.
Better yet, Who is Lindsay Stuijfzand?
Earlier this year, I did an interview with Steven Biggs of Food, Garden, Life podcast to talk more about my passion and ideas. I am a first generation Canadian-born Korean. I have lived most of my life in Toronto and worked in horticulture for about 10 years. So far, here is what I have to share from over the years, working and growing:
Before horticulture, I worked in the Apparel industry for almost 15 years. From imports, manufacturing, to creative (stylist). I worked all facets of the industry and have Diplomas in Fashion Management (Business) and Fashion Design. They are now complimentary ornaments to my collection of certificates I have earned in Sustainable Urban Agriculture, Horticulture Technician Apprenticeship, and Urban Orchards nicely. (I’m very proud of all my papers equally)
My ambition was to work in Urban Agriculture and began that shift at Humber College in the Horticultural Technician pre-apprentice program for women. Between the beginner and advanced programs, I learned a whole lotta plants, and commercial horticulture. No agriculture, but a perfect starting point as I gained a well-rounded understanding of the trade, both creative and fundamental. I also had the good fortune and privilege of developing my horticultural skills working for established award-winning companies in the trade. I was blessed to work in some of the most decadent gardens I could ever imagine.
Upon having a baby, I hit the wall for ornamental gardens. They’re not bad or boring gardens; but at some point, the notion of substance within splendour is a matter of perspective. And my ideal garden needed to be functioning and purposeful while beautiful. I enrolled in the Sustainable Urban Agriculture Con-Ed program at the University of Guelph and took an additional ISA-certificate class on establishing urban orchards through Orchard People.
Note: The UofG program is an Urban Farming program (not gardening although fundamental principles apply); ISA stands for International Society for Arboriculture
I was finally in pursuit of my first passion in horticulture – food, wild food, and more food. I have deep-dived into ethnobotany and biodynamic applications as a result. I am not an ethnobotanist. In 2020, I completed my certificate in Sustainable Urban Agriculture, while adding two more ISA certifications for fruit trees under the Urban Orchard belt: Fruit tree Pruning, and Integrated Pest Management. I maintained a healthy wild food obsession throughout as it had a lot to do with connecting to the lost ends of my cultural heritage and reconciling it with my western upbringing. Of course, the First Nations Reconciliation movement has also made an impact on how I see and design a garden.
Now as a more experienced horticulture technician, my objective was to “marry” all the disciplines to fill the missing link in hort-culture.
I immediately (and ambitiously) planted a garden in the back raised bed of our rental apartment that the landlady let me use. It was empty, lonely and the only thing surviving back there was a mature Locust tree. OH, and I totally for got to amend the soil. with pure compost. Naturally, that summer, it failed miserably. A season of failed tomatoes, substandard beans and dead kale was to my glory. I was rewarded with a single strand of 5 cherry tomatoes from 4 plants – What a haul.
In a huff of indignant frustration, I started this blog. Homesteading-ish was gonna tell you what instagram wasn’t: We can all screw up, fail, and feel totally deflated and tempted to quit – No tree or shitty soil should stand in the way of a burgeoning green thumb (and pride)! I was so mad that I started budgeting for the next season even as we were still in September. By the next year, the soil was replaced with pure compost and we had a full season of lovely vegetables after. So I won eventually, and quickly!.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you see it), our family went through some transition and It was at least three years before I would have a back garden again. It was three years of starting new gardens then leaving them behind. Sounds like a loss. But starting a new garden again and again, makes you better at “trimming the fat” when starting a new project; what you need, what you don’t need, where to concentrate the funds for long-term gain, etc. My one surviving member of that first vegetable attempt is the mighty rhubarb (also a native species, did you know!?), now 10 years old, it is happily nestled in the back bed next to the garage. I originally hok’d it from a friend at the beginning of my career and it was transplanted from our house to my mom’s, and back to mine… sorta like a cat….
We all have an ability to grow ourselves and grow something.
Starting a garden can be both easy and complicated, BUT definitely not impossible.
Plants take planning, time and failure. The will to persist is key. Money, to some degree, but resourcefulness goes hand-in-hand with persistence.
Sometimes plants just die and this is not indicative of talent or fault. Gardening is therapeutic, cathartic, peaceful, but also a skill with a learning curve, meaning death and failure can be an ally. So be inventive and open!
SO: If you’re happy with your brown thumb, thats cool. I presume you enjoy public green spaces (parks and conservatories) as much as possible – so good on you!
But If you want a garden, here is how I can help you:
I offer seasonal cleanups regular scheduled maintenance.
I offer consultation and garden bed design.
My passion is to make your space utilitarian and beautiful. So I integrate as much edible plants, both wild and ornamental (including vegetables, herbs and flowers), native species, berries, etc, as often as I can if the space allows it.
Vegetables can go from an inspired idea to a total disappointment fast, so I also offer coaching time in hourly blocks.
I now sell seedlings! In 2014, Pretty Tasty Gardens was a Pie-in-the-Sky “cool idea”. In 2016, it became a new registered business. This is my third year offering edible landscape services and I have now expanded it to online vegetable seedling kits for sale. The kits are designed to be simple, easy, and accessible for small spaces. They come with a brief summary of plant culture and a short recipe. All my stock is sourced from Ontario organic growers while a number of in-house stock has been propagated by local organic/biodynamic seed sources.
If my (now detailed) story has inspired you to get something growing, contact me! I am in Toronto West and Central.