Mark and Ben Cullen's newsletter
With the recent combo of heat and rain, you can almost sit and watch the garden grow right now.

We know what you're thinking - and don't act like you've got more important places to be right now than sitting and watching the garden grow. Everything is cancelled and it beats what's on TV. Besides, if you watch your garden closely enough there are things you can learn.
One of the things Ben has learned is the importance of airflow. With the recent growth spurt, too-close tomatoes are starting to crowd into one another, rotting out the budding fruits.

If you're into live-action gardening, one particularly fast-growing crop to try is callaloo. Ideally it would be planted by now, but if you can get your hands on some of the tiny seed, there is still time as it only takes 30 days to maturity. As a relative of amaranth, it is a "C4" crop which means it synthesizes sugars with bonds of four carbon rather than three, so it can produce its building blocks quicker and blast towards the sky. 

Corn and sugar cane are two other C4 crops, as is the Paulownia tree which is native to China and said by some to be the world's fastest growing tree. There is talk of harnessing these fast-growing trees to sequester carbon from the atmosphere, but there is a lot of potential for them to become invasive species that could wipe out ecosystems. We'll stick to the abundant crop of callaloo, the popular Caribbean green that will die back in the fall before it can become a problem. 
Ben's callaloo seeds after only one week.

Apply bordo mixture to your tomatoes every two weeks from now until harvest. Stake your tomatoes as well, if you want to double your harvest by improving airflow and light penetration. We like spiral stakes as opposed to cages.

Sow late season crops - such as callaloo, if you're looking to try something different, or leaf lettuce, mesclun, radish, broccoli, carrots, onions and peas which will be happy producing right into the fall.

- Keep weeding. By now you should know what's a weed, and what's a returning perennial or self-sowing wildflower. No more excuses!

- Harvest your garlic scapes. Ben's former vegetable production prof, John Zandstra at the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus reminds us that harvesting scapes can increase the size of your garlic bulbs by 20-30%. Besides, they're delicious! Try grilling them with olive oil, or blending them into a spicy pesto. Ben and his wife Sam can't get enough.

Spray your fruit trees with End All and Garden Sulphur to stomp out fungal disease and keep insects at bay. These are perfectly safe and can be applied together to save time, and are unfortunately necessary if you want any hope of an edible crop...unless you prefer apple or pear ciders anyway.

Now on Apple Podcasts AND Spotify!

On this week's podcast, we are very excited to be talking to Steven and Emma Biggs, the father-daughter gardening duo.

Steven is an expert in growing exotic fruits in our northern climate, as author of the Biggs-on-Figs blog where he writes about growing figs among other things, and the book - Grow Lemons Where You Think You Can't

At 15, Emma is author of her own "Kid-to-Kid" guide for gardening, Gardening with Emma

Together, Steven and Emma host their own podcast called The Food-Garden Life Show.

Tune in - now available on Apple Podcasts and Shopify!

Mark and Ben Cullen
Merchants of Beauty

Root Waterer

Tired of watching water spill over the edge of containers when you hydrate them?
Do you have plants on a slope that are just impossible to water without it running downhill?
Try this. The Mark's Choice root waterer is better than sliced bread.
For one, it places water where it is needed - at the root zone. 

Second, aluminum construction means it won't rust or wear out. Ever.
Attach to a water wand and save your back.
We like it. And we believe you will too.

Mark's Choice.  Only at Home Hardware.
Item# 5042-002 and 5042-003


How is your vegetable garden growing? We would really like to see.

Send a photo to and let us know what you're growing during this pandemic.

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 July 20, 2020
Deadline for voting is July 26, 2020
Enter today!
Mark and Ben's Gardening Connections  

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