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Harrowsmith Newsletter Spring 2017
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Hello, Spring!

With spring finally here, it’s time to start thinking about what we want to grow this year. As we prepare for the growing season, we’re looking through our plant catalogues (see below for our review of Lorraine Johnson’s new book) and contemplating what goodies we’d like to add to our property.

In our Winter issue, our gardening editor, Mark Cullen, gave some great tips on which trees to plant. He’s back with our Spring 2017 issue, in which he talks about birdseed and native plants. Mark recently announced that his son, Ben, is joining his team. We had a chance to speak with Ben about joining the family business, his love of gardening and more. See our Q&A below.



 
We’re sure that many of you are following the news of Canada’s proposal to expand pipelines. The impact on agricultural land and wildlife habitat, as well as the fallout with indigenous groups, is of great concern. As more and more people join the sustainable movement and opt for greener products and energy, hopefully we’ll see less of this kind of expansion in the coming years.
 
On a feel-good note, farm to table is making its way beyond gourmet establishments to hospitals, where patients can help themselves to better-quality, healthier foods. The Greenbelt Fund has been working to promote local food within public-sector institutions, and Halton Healthcare—comprised of three hospitals located in the Greater Toronto Area and a grantee of the Greenbelt Fund—says it’s now using local food where it can. Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital has also started adding local food to the menu, plus more scratch cooking. We’re happy to see our local bounty reach greater numbers, especially in such critical spaces as health care.
 
As always, we’d love to hear from you! Whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram, like/follow us for the latest news from Harrowsmith and to connect with like-minded folk. 
 
See you soon!
 
The Harrowsmith Team
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Your chance to win! 
 
We want to hear from you! Tell us what’s on your mind by filling out our reader survey, and you just might win some great goodies along the way! Giveaways include an Apple watch or $250 of fertilizer swag from Premier Tech Home and Garden. We’re also sweetening the deal by offering five signed copies of Mark Cullen’s The New Canadian Garden. Here’s your chance to tell us what you want to see more of in upcoming issues of Harrowsmith




 Q&A with Ben Cullen

Gardening editor Mark Cullen knows a thing or two about gardening. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. An accomplished gardener himself, Mark’s son, Ben, recently joined Mark’s team. In addition to being raised in a family of gardeners, Ben studied agriculture and has signed up to earn his Master Gardener certificate. Expect to see more of Ben on Mark’s blog, Facebook and in online videos.
 
We’re big fans of Mark’s and are looking forward to working with Ben, too. To welcome him aboard, we thought we’d have a chat with the young Cullen and see what the two have planned now that they’ve teamed up in business as well.

 
Harrowsmith: Hi, Ben! You recently joined your dad in business. What do you do in your new role?
Ben Cullen: Right now, I am supporting him with his day-to-day business, including his relationship with Home Hardware. As time goes on, you can expect to see more of me publicly. Right now, my day to day involves a lot of learning and planning for spring. We are working on some really exciting new video content to share online, and I am currently studying so that I can start working toward my Master Gardener certificate. In April, I am moving to Orillia [Ontario] to work at a very successful Home Hardware garden centre for the spring.
 

Harrowsmith: Who approached whom about working together? 
Ben: We were on a family vacation when I told my dad that I was thinking of leaving my corporate job to do something on my own or with a smaller business—more like what I grew up with. He thought about it for about three days before he approached me with a plan to start working together. It seemed like a no-brainer. The thing I look forward to most is spending more time with my dad. 
 

Harrowsmith: What was it like growing up in a family of gardeners?
Ben: I think it’s like growing up in a farm family in that the seasons really affect the family rhythm, so to speak. Dad’s job changed with the seasons, the food we ate changed with the seasons, even our energy changed with the seasons. When winter comes, we rest! Some years have been good, and some have been better; weather generally dictates that, but we accept it. 
 

Harrowsmith: What are your first memories of working in the garden?
Ben: Digging carrots out of the ground in the vegetable garden. I was young enough that I barely had to bend over to pluck them out of the soil, and the magic of pulling food out of the ground really stuck with me. 
 

Harrowsmith: How did your studies in agriculture impact your approach to gardening? 
Ben: My dad talks about how my grandpa, who came into gardening through the landscape business, often looked at gardening as a “task,” as if the joy of gardening came from a final product. Agriculture school sort of trains you to think in the same way: everything [is done] with an eye to the final product. I think that my dad sees gardening as an experience in and of itself—that there is only a means and no end! This is something that I am appreciating more now. 
 

Harrowsmith: What are your plans for the business?
Ben: I hope to accomplish something that has always been my dad’s “first mission”: getting more people out in the garden. Hopefully, my age and background will allow me to get more people from my own generation out there—a generation that happens to be discovering gardening through food. 
 

Harrowsmith: What lesson from your dad stands out for you?
Ben: There is no such thing as failure in the garden, only composting opportunities. 
 
You can keep up with Mark and Ben Cullen at 
markcullen.com, or follow them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. 
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100 Easy-to-Grow Native Plants for Canadian Gardens (revised third edition) by Lorraine Johnson (Douglas & McIntyre)
 

Featuring gorgeous photographs by Andrew Leyerle, Lorraine Johnson’s 100 Easy-to-Grow Native Plants for Canadian Gardens (the revised third edition was released in February 2017) is an excellent guide to what to grow in your garden this spring. Packed with great suggestions, the book shows us how to grow a carefree garden with plants that will thrive locally. Adapted to local conditions, native plants tend to require less maintenance, and they also attract birds and butterflies while providing a habitat for pollinators. 
 
With rising concerns about watering restrictions and invasive species, native plants are a practical and ecological choice. Johnson’s guide features easy-to-use charts that outline plants for specific conditions—from dry shade to acidic soil—making choosing native species easier. Each plant’s entry includes a description, requirements, maintenance tips, companion suggestions and a note on wildlife. (For example, Dutchman’s breeches are pollinated by bumblebees searching for nectar in early spring, and ants disperse the seeds.) 
 
For this revised edition, plant names have been updated, and the sections on wildlife have been enlarged to include details about the interactions and interdependencies between native plants and native bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects and pollinators. As Johnson, a former president of the North American Native Plant Society and the author of numerous books on gardening and environmental issues, notes in her foreword, “One of the greatest satisfactions of growing native plants is that you are supporting a complex web of ecological relationships that are the basis of a healthy, resilient ecosystem.” We couldn’t agree more.
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Spring Is Here!

Harrow smith’s Spring 2017 issue debuted March 10, and it’s packed with the kinds of stories you’ll love, including an exclusive chat with the one and only David Suzuki, who spoke with Harrowsmith about the importance of tree hugging, what he’s reading and why you should read his memoir Letters to My Grandchildren. His latest book on climate change (with co-author Ian Hanington), Just Cool It!: The Climate Crisis and What We Can Do, is being released this Earth Day (April 22).


 
Also in our Spring issue, gardening editor Mark Cullen tells you how to grow your own birdseed, and also shares ideas for introducing native species to your yard.


 
This year marks Canada’s 150th anniversary, and to help you celebrate we’ve created a compendium of 150 things to do across the country. From embarking on exciting outdoor adventures to visiting proud cultural landmarks, we serve up plenty of fun to keep you busy all season long. 

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Oh Canada!
 
In the spirit of Canada’s 150th and the free Parks Canada Discovery Pass, we want to celebrate all of our country’s green spaces and places. Facebook, Instagram and Tweet us your best photos and suggestions for the chance to appear in our Summer issue and win a parks-inspired giveaway

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Fiddlehead Tart


Fiddleheads are coiled ferns that are only edible before they are open. They are foraged in the spring and seen in grocery stores until the early part of the summer, but they’re best eaten at the beginning of the season. Fiddleheads are mainly eaten one way: sautéed with butter! They are enjoyed for both their look and their asparagus-like crunch, so they’re rarely cut up or cooked into other dishes. This tart takes them to another level while allowing them to be seen and eaten without doing much to them.

Serves 4 to 6 


INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp butter

1 cup cleaned fiddleheads

1/4 package (5 or 6 sheets) frozen phyllo dough, thawed

4 tbsp butter, melted

5 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups whole milk

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper 

2 cups shredded old Cheddar cheese

6 to 8 basil leaves (optional)


METHOD

Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

In a medium pan over medium-high, melt 1 tbsp of butter and sauté fiddleheads until tender and cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.

In a small, shallow baking dish or a 9- by 6-inch pan, lay a sheet of parchment slightly larger than the tray. Prepare the phyllo dough and 4 tbsp of melted butter as follows: Lay your thawed phyllo between two slightly damp towels. Keep your unused phyllo dough covered while you work, or it will dry out and crack. Have a pastry brush and the melted butter nearby. Position 1 sheet of phyllo in the pan, making sure it also goes up the sides, and drizzle some of the melted butter over it, brushing lightly to cover the surface with a thin layer. Fold the phyllo to create layers. The idea here is to create a shell that the liquid filling can sit in. Continue layering and buttering the phyllo in any which way to create an even shell while also lining the sides of the pan. Leave some higher phyllo overhangs, which will get nice and crisp in the oven. 

Bake in the oven until the shell feels slightly crisp to the touch and the edges are just browning, about 10 to 12 minutes. When the crust is finished blind baking, remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the slightly cooled crust and pour in the egg mixture. Gently place the cooked fiddleheads neatly in rows over the tart. 

Bake until firm and set in the middle but not overcooked, about 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool before cutting into slices. Garnish with basil, if desired. This tart is also excellent served cold.

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This project has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada.
Made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation 
Copyright © *2017* *Harrowsmith*, all rights reserved.

Our mailing address:

1000 Golf Links Rd., P.O. Box 90078

Ancaster, ON L9K 0B4



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Hello and welcome to our very first Harrowsmith newsletter. It’s an opportunity for us to keep our readership community up to date on what we’ve been doing, stories we’ve been watching, and things we’ll be keeping an eye on in the future.
 
Recently we released an online edition of Harrowsmith. Included in a subscription to Harrowsmith’s Almanac and Harrowsmith’s Gardening Digest, this electronic edition will provide tips and tricks from fellow readers, gift ideas for the gardener in your life, and a feature on a straw bale home in Ancaster, Ont. that demonstrates the simple beauty of this time-tested building technique.
 
As you read this we’ll be hard at work putting together next spring’s annual Gardening Digest. Packed with information, we hope it will inspire you in your gardening efforts in the coming year.
 
It’s just one project among many. I encourage you to make a trip to our website, 
www.harrowsmithmagazine.com, a regular part of your web surfing routine. And if you haven’t already done so, Like us on Facebook, where you can your comments and questions with our wider community of readers.
 
Happy reading!
Piebird takes centre stage
 
In recent months we’ve enjoyed getting to know more about Yan Roberts of Nipissing, Ontario. He and his wife Sherry own and operate the Piebird Vegan Farmstay, where they tend their organic farm, sell seeds and host a variety of events, from weddings and concerts to organic gardening workshops.
 
During the recent federal election campaign Yan found himself on stage next to then Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Seemed like a good moment to shed his plaid shirt, revealing a grey shirt emblazoned with “Water Not Harper” on it. He was promptly escorted off stage, but not before the national media got a good look.
 
Like quite a few folks in the North Bay area, Roberts is deeply concerned by the proposed Energy East pipeline, which runs through the watershed of Trout Lake. That’s North Bay’s drinking water supply.
 
But we got to know Roberts for an entirely different reason: His farm is also a sanctuary for farm animals. If you’re a farm animal and you end up at Piebird Farm, you’ve won the lottery, and will live out your days frolicking in the fields and never having to worry about being used for food ever again. Among the menagerie are a number of goats, so we asked him about his experience with these quirky creatures. You can learn about Yan and Sherry’s approach to goat care in the 2016 Harrowsmith’s Almanac (Insert link here).
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Staying warm on a cold winter’s night
 
Winter is upon us, and that has many of us thinking about our home heating systems. Along with proper insulation to keep that precious heat indoors, an efficient, cost effective heating system is key to keeping the home fires burning.
 
It’s also an issue many of us tend to overlook until the mercury takes a serious dip for a few days. That clanging, rattling sound of your old furnace coughing to life reminds you that maybe it’s time for a change. If you wait until after Christmas you’ll be into the dead of winter, a time when all you’ll really want is to be sure your firewood is dry and neatly piled, your oil tank is full, or all of the dust has burned off your baseboard heaters. Meanwhile your Christmas gift credit card bill may make you break into a sweat.
 
But the choices can be daunting: Affordability and efficiency often have to battle it out, with concern over the environmental impact further confusing things. Is wood a good choice in your area? Maybe the convenience of electricity fits the bill. What about alternative energy choices like solar, wind, or geothermal?
 
With that in mind we got writer Marc Huminilowycz to take a look at the various heat sources available to Canadians. In the 2016 Harrowsmith’s Almanac he takes a careful look at the pros and cons of each, providing plenty of food for thought on which type of heating source best suits your type of home and lifestyle. Check out Marc’s feature here: (Insert link here)
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Green jobs are growing jobs!
 
At Harrowsmith we’ve always been big fans of alternative energy sources like wind and solar. So we were pleased to hear that this year the number of people employed in the green energy sector has, for the first time, surpassed employment in the oil industry.
 
According to a study by Clean Energy Canada, some $25 billion has been invested in clean energy in the last five years in this country, boosting employment in that sector by 37%. That has resulted in nearly 24,000 people now having jobs in the renewable sector. Meanwhile plummeting oil prices this year resulted in layoffs in the oil patch, and a dampening in the Canadian economy. Current estimates are that oil prices will stay low through to 2020.
 
For the renewable energy sector, which includes sun, run-of-river hydro, biomass and wind, energy production is up 93% from 2009 levels. Clean Energy Canada says this country could produce all of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2050. A lofty goal, but one the experts say is possible.
 
One area where Canada is poised to take a significant role in the renewable energy mix is wind power. The 2016 Harrowsmith’s Almanac takes a closer look at the nearly unlimited potential of wind power in this country (Insert link here).
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Reviving Canadian roses

Canadian roses are typically easy to care for and disease resistant. They’re also beautiful. And while Canada has produced nearly 600 varieties over the last century, many of them have vanished from view. Call it poor marketing, or call it what you want, some estimates are that over 400 registered Canadian rose varieties have been lost. And once they’re gone, they’re gone.
 
But there is something that can be done for the cultivars that remain: Get out there and start growing! We’ve posted a feature at
http://www.harrowsmithalmanac.com/rose-from-the-dead/ that will provide you with a starting place to start a rose revival in your own yard. It also includes a directory of places where you can get your hands on quintessentially Canadian roses.
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Perils of paint

In the winter a lot of people, faced with more time indoors, start to look for ways to liven up their living space. One way is to freshen up the indoor paint scheme, bringing some fresh colour to your surroundings.
 
While lead hasn’t been a common paint ingredient in paint since the 1970’s, don’t kid yourself into thinking that today’s paints are totally harmless. We may have gotten the lead out, but there’s still a hodgepodge of chemicals in there, including things like benzene and formaldehyde.
 
For most of us, painting a room won’t cause any ill effects. But for someone with asthma, allergies or other breathing problems, painting can provoke serious problems.
 
But there are alternatives, and new formulas are coming onto the market all the time. To learn more about paint safety, go to
http://www.harrowsmithalmanac.com/proceed-with-caution/
 
And if you’re planning an exterior paint job for next summer, you’ll want to check out our feature on that very subject in the 2016 Harrowsmith’s Almanac. To subscribe, go to
www.harrowsmithmagazine.com
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Copyright © 2017 Harrowsmith, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:
P.O. Box 90078, 1000 Golf Links Road, Ancaster ON, L9L0B4


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