It has been a busy couple of months for us, as Mark digs deeper into a new garden build and Ben coordinates farmers, truckers, elevators and a cannery during harvest season over at Cullen’s Foods. Ben was especially thankful on the Thanksgiving long-weekend as his eighth and final grower confirmed that the beans were off the field – the most successful harvest season since launching Cullen’s Foods three years ago.

We are noticing that people are seeming a little glum with the possibility of a “second wave” and the prospect of another “lock-down”. Sigh. The good news is this: there is plenty to do in the garden, and it is impossible to be glum when you are digging in the dirt. 
Ben helping plant trees in Mark's new garden.
-       Keep harvesting those cold crops such as carrots, leeks and kale. You will find these crops taste a little sweeter after some cool weather.
-       Extend your harvest with a cold frame or row cover, especially if you were wise enough to keep sowing new crops throughout the season. Check out our conversation with Niki Jabbour (below) where we talk a bit about garden season extension.

-       Collect seeds from your heirloom vegetable varieties and perennial flowering plants. Remember, fancy hybrids will not reproduce “true” to their stated genetics, so it is a waste of time to gather those. Of the heirlooms, you can scoop out the seeds of ripe tomatoes, squash, pumpkins and melons and spread them out to dry in a well-ventilated space. Beans and peas, dry down on the pod and then sort for the biggest and healthiest. If you can find a screen with the right size holes, it’s a “grate” way to sort seeds by size.

-       Rake your leaves right into the garden. Free mulch! If your canopy is heavy with oaks or other waxy-leaved trees, you might want to run over them once with a mulching mower to help jump-start that decomposition. 

Check out this link where Ben joined Wayne Macphail of Harrowsmith Radio to talk all things hops – growing & drinking! 
 – our chat with Niki Jabbour
This week we are talking to Niki Jabbour. Niki is the award-winning author of three books - The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener (2012 American Horticultural Society Book Award), Groundbreaking Food Gardens, and Niki Jabbour's Veggie Garden Remix (Winner of the 2019 American Horticultural Society Book Award, Winner of the Gold Award from GardenComm, and short-listed for a 2019 Taste Canada Award). 

She also writes for magazines like Fine Gardening, Horticulture, and Birds & Blooms. Niki is an in-demand speaker, offering seminars and keynotes at events, shows, societies, and greenhouses across North America such as the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, The Dow Gardens, The Philadelphia Flower Show, The Boston Flower Show, and Canada Blooms. 

For the past 12 years, Niki has hosted and executive produced her popular radio show, The Weekend Gardener which airs on News 95.7 FM in Halifax as well as online. For her broadcasting work, Niki won the 2015 Gold Award from GardenComm as 'Best On-Air Talent'.

Niki is very active on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and you can find her gardening videos on YouTube. When she's not writing, speaking, or broadcasting about food gardening she's in her twenty raised bed vegetable garden in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Tune in - now available on Apple Podcasts AND Spotify!

Mark and Ben Cullen
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