Mark and Ben Cullen's newsletter
Hear that rumble? It's the harvest wagon - carrying a bounty of green beans, garlic, summer squash and tomatoes to beat the band.

It's a metaphorical wagon, but we can see it rolling through the streets in different neighbourhoods, where vegetable gardens are producing in places that last year were just lawns. It's a satisfying vision in a year where more people are veggie gardening than ever in our lifetimes.

When the harvest wagon stops in Mark's garden, it piles on green beans and garlic, an excellent crop this year, and the last of the potatoes. One of Mark's greatest joys this summer has been watching his grandkids discover potatoes in the soil - pure magic for a 4 or 5 year-old.

At Ben's place, the harvest wagon knows where to stop because of the climbing summer squash that has peaked out over his privet hedge. It's Ben and Sam's last summer in their urban lot, where they are bursting at the seams.


Here are some things to consider before the harvest wagon pulls up to your house, if it hasn't already:

-  Harvest your garlic. By now you should have dug your garlic from the garden, and after sending the first of the crop to the kitchen to be enjoyed, select the best bulbs for planting this October and cure the rest for storage. 

Ben cures garlic on his north-facing porch, where they are protected from rain and direct sunlight, but they do get a cross breeze which helps dry down the outer skins. He simply lays them out on the concrete porch, turning them every few days for about two weeks.

- Tomato harvest has fired up in both our gardens - where in Ben's garden the squirrels are taking care of the harvest on his behalf. Back at Mark's the wildlife have more competition, and there is no problem filling bushel baskets. Remember to continue applying Bordo mixture every two weeks to keep early and late blight at bay.

Last chance! For French and snap beans before they go woody, so harvest while you can.

- Carrots, beets, radishes should be ready by now as well, contorting to weird shapes and losing sweetness if they aren't harvested soon.

- Cucumbers are in their second year growing on diagonal trellises at Mark's place. It's a program that works by keeping them up off in the ground, resulting in healthier cukes.

- Summer squash - nobody we know grows enough of these without growing way, way too much. Mark's favourite trick is to carve the grandkids' names into them to be discovered in the garden - a gift from the "Zucchini Fairy"

Seeding kale, swiss chard, leaf lettuce and mesculin mix - there is still time if you are hoping for a fall crop. They hold up well to the cold, so it's worth your effort.

Runner beans are running, somebody remind us next year to think of more creative ways to support these! It is so fun watching them climb up the obelisk, there has to be an opportunity for runner bean garden sculpture.

- Keep clipping those herbs! So you can get the last growth out of them. Remember, what you can't use fresh can be dried in the oven on its lowest setting and crushed into air-tight containers for use throughout the winter.

TURF WARS with Mark and Ben

This week on the podcast, Ben and Mark are dueling off on the lawn, or dueling about the lawn. So there is a minor difference of opinion, and we explore this difference with a respect to lawns and what they can do for gardeners with different needs and goals in mind.

Tune in - now available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify!

Mark and Ben Cullen
Merchants of Beauty


The Ontario government announces $1,000,000 to support tree planting along the Highway of Heroes.
In partnership with the Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign, the province is providing the funding to support the goal of planting 117,000 trees along the highway, which represents one tree for every soldier who died serving Canada since Confederation.  Learn more.
(Left to right) Col. Ryan Deming, Commander, 8 Wing, MCpl Trevor Vautour, ret., and current Provincial Constable for Ontario Provincial Police, Barbara and Ron Johnson, Silver Cross Mother and Father,parents of Pte. Andrew Johnson, Hon. Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services and MPP for Quinte West, Hon. Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation of Ontario, Mark Cullen, Campaign Chair, Co-Founder and Mayor Jim Harrison, Quinte West

RECIPE - Roasted Garlic

If you're like Ben and his wife Sam, this time of year is spectacular because you can't get enough garlic. At a time when we're sitting on a fresh crop, now is a good time to try roasted garlic on toast if you've never had it.
To roast a head of garlic:
-  Preheat your oven to 400F
-  Peal the outer layers of papery skin from the garlic
-  Use a sharp knife to cut the top ½ inch off, cutting away the tips of the cloves leaving them exposed
-  Put the garlic in a ramekin or muffin tin, cut side up, and season generously with two teaspoons of olive oil, rubbing the oil into the cut cloves
-  Cover with aluminum foil
-  Bake for 30-40 minutes
-  Cool and use a fork to remove the roasted cloves from their skins
-  Mash over toasted bread and enjoy

Gardener's Harvest Basket

Practical for gardening, beautiful enough for your kitchen counter.

The Mark's Choice stainless steel gardener's wash basket, exclusive to Home Hardware, features an easy to carry handle.

Just place garden items into basket and you can wash them with a hose while remaining in the basket.

It's also ideal for storing fruit on counter tops, as a table serving basket and many more uses.

Home Hardware item# 5093-192
Mark's Choice.   Only at Home Hardware.


It's harvest time!

Send a photo to and let us know what you're harvesting from your veggie garden.

We will post all photos on the Mark Cullen Gardening facebook page.

The photo with the most likes will win a signed copy of our book 'Escape to Reality', a copy of the Harrowsmith Almanac and a $50 gift card for Home Hardware.
The next 4 photos, with the most likes, will win a signed copy of our book and a copy of the Harrowsmith Almanac.
Encourage your friends and family to vote for your photo.
Deadline for submitting a photo is August 24, 2020
Deadline for voting is August 31, 2020
Enter today!

Mark and Ben's Gardening Connections 

Toronto Star

Home Hardware