Harrowsmith Spring 2021

Harrowsmith is still the reliable go-to for gardeners, weekend carpenters, homesteaders, hobby farmers and urban dwellers with romantic fantasies of country life. Harrowsmith publishes four issues a year in conjunction with the seasons.

Moongate Publishing Inc.
4 Issues

in this issue

4 min
our contributors

AMANDA BULMAN is a chef, writer, filmmaker and standup comic from Prince Edward Island. Her first cookbook will be released sometime this year, but she isn’t allowed to say too much more because there are still some pesky contractual details to be worked out. She lives in colourful St. John’s, Newfoundland, with her husband and a rascally basset hound named Gabby. You can follow her adventures on Instagram at @amandabulman1. MARK AND BEN CULLEN Mark is an expert gardener, author, broadcaster and tree advocate and holds the Order of Canada. His son, Ben, is a fourth-generation urban gardener and a graduate of the University of Guelph and Dalhousie University in Halifax. Follow them at markcullen.com, @MarkCullen4 (Twitter) and @markcullengardening (Facebook) and look for their latest book, Escape to Reality. ROBERT DICK is…

2 min
thinking outside the nest box

I think we’re all ready to open our windows wide and breathe in a new season! The sound of snowplows will soon be replaced with the purr of lawn mowers, and I’m so happy to see the return of robins with beaks full of nesting material. I’m reminded that I should tend to the project that I’ve been putting aside for a few years now: building an eastern bluebird house. Home and farm editor Steve Maxwell has provided DIY birdhouse plans (page 30) that will inspire confident carpenters and newbies alike. In this issue, our gardening editors, Mark and Ben Cullen, introduce us to natural and low-maintenance native plants (page 20) — they have me rethinking my usual nursery list this year! I bet you will too. As leeks and rhubarb replace root…

2 min
where next?

We live our life by directions. I’m not talking about 5-year plans and Italian wedding soup recipes, but they guide us too. I mean north, west, south and east. We fly south in the winter and head north in the summer. We buy houses with southern exposure. We pause for sunsets in the west. Some of us rise with the sun to the east (not me). And all of our days are guided by westerlies or eastern storm fronts, and the North Star. In 2021, Harrowsmith’s four issues will be dedicated to the four cardinal directions, beginning with north. We’ll celebrate everything about each compass point and explore the places and people who make it vibrant. Here in Northern Bruce Peninsula, where I live, snowshoe hares are trading in their white winter…

3 min

RED SEAL OF APPROVAL I was enjoying a good read of the 2021 Almanac when I came upon the description of false Solomon’s seal (Say What?). I wondered why you didn’t mention that this plant is edible, then I thought you might not be aware of this information. My family has used this plant rather like fresh spinach for many years. It is considered a tonic. It appears early every year and is enjoyed much more than dandelion or fiddleheads, even. It is best picked when it is about 10 inches tall and the first leaves are budding on the stalk. Once the flower appears, it is too late in the season for picking. I just love Harrowsmith’s Almanac and the plethora of useful information and stories. Thank you and keep…

6 min
a cup of coffee with a local

Sitting down for a virtual cup of coffee with singer-songwriter Leela Gilday was essential for an issue dedicated to the North. Gilday, a member of the Dene Nation, was born in the Northwest Territories. Her family is from Délįnę, a community on the storied shore of Great Bear Lake. During her 20-year career, she has written lifeblood lyrics about the “land that created her” and the rugged emotions that match the landscape. She released her fifth album in 2019, continuing a spiritual storytelling legacy that has taken her to festivals and concert halls in every province and territory in Canada. She also has passport stamps from the U.S., Greenland, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. She’s pure pop, rock and blues, but the true harmony is recognized in her relationship with the environment…

4 min
say what?

ballycatters In Catherine Bush’s novel Blaze Island, she describes ballycatters as “big pans of ice rafted at shore” with “blue-green edges sharp as knives.” Conversely, “slob ice” (also featured in Bush’s book) “lies like a slushy skin over the water and moves with the waves.” bergy seltzer Wildlife filmmaker John Atchison takes cred for coining this term describing “the sound of gases being reunited.” The seltzer is a unique blend of ice pops and fizzes derived from the ancient air escaping from icebergs. catkin Pussy willows are a fine, fuzzy example of a catkin. Alder, hazel, willow, birch and beech trees also produce catkins, which are flower clusters with small petals or even no petals at all. Catkins help trees reproduce. cattalo At first, you might guess that this is a calico cat.…