Off the land

Living the Yukon Lifestyle often includes a healthy measure of self-reliance. Whether that is farming, wild harvesting, hunting and fishing, energy production and more we share insight from Yukonners.

Frozen bison patty

Hunting … It’s a Crapshoot

One of the most common questions we get asked by non-hunters, and those new to hunting, is, “How do you find and track the animals…

Bear scat

Time To Talk Poop

As a trapper and hunter, you learn to identify wildlife excrement rather fast, as you’d want to. Why? To determine what kind of critters…

Yukon vegetables grown with the help of local manure

The Path To Bettering Your Soil

Gardening in the Yukon can sometimes feel like a perennial struggle when in other parts of the country it might appear almost effortless.

A man holding a shotgun

Firearm Care And Maintenance

It used to be that firearm maintenance was more tedious and certainly more frequently needed than it is currently.

A woman with a stack of books

Books To Read On A Trapline

When the evenings get longer, we enjoy reading a good book. So here we go with the books to hunker down with on a cold, dark night

Two hunters with a harvested black bear

A Tale Of Two Bears

In the world of big-game hunting, black bear meat is easily one of the best tasting and most under-appreciated cuts of wild game there is.

Mountains and Valleys

A Long Time Coming Part 2

The moose continued barrelling on his path for another hundred yards or so. Between us was an elevated creek bed and then a tiny meadow.

A variety of ammunition cartridges

Ammunition Choices

Currently, there is a much greater variety of ammunition choices for hunters than ever before in firearm history.

A woman and two men stand beside a float plane

A Long Time Coming Part 1

An hour before dawn, my alarm goes off like a foghorn behind my head. I frantically reach behind me to shut it off.

Sonja Seeber, setting a marten trap

Breaking Trail

The new moon brought winter, including swans and more ducks taking a rest on our little lake. We will soon be breaking Trail.

A hunter with a mature Ram

A Hunter’s First Ram

For many hunters that live outside of the Yukon, having the opportunity to hunt and harvest a mature Dall sheep is merely a pipe dream.

A man and a woman stand outside a log cabin in winter with furs from a season of trapping hanging on the wall

The Trapper’s Life

What is trapping? I had no idea. But I slowly but surely found out that hunting and trapping is a passion. Serious, gorgeous and grounding.

A hunter preparing to take a shot with a rifle

The Hunter’s First Rifle

The .30 calibre, is 112 years old and still high on the list as one of the most-versatile hunting cartridges in the world.

A large machine filled with raw honeycomb

Honey Production In The Alps

The Yukon is a tough place for honeybees to survive, but we are lucky to count about 200 beehives in the territory.

Berry Song, A Story For Us All

Berry-picking season is an amazing time of year. Sweet wild strawberries, Soapberries and Saskatoons are all summer-time treats.

fish strew and ingredients

The Unexpected Joys of Fishing

I never thought that I would like fishing. In fact, as with many things our minds convince us of, I went through the better part of my life certain that I was very happy having nothing to do with piscine pursuits. I didn’t particularly like eating fish and I felt no need to try to catch one. And then I fell in love with a man who loves fishing.

A plate with Spinach-Cheese Pies (Spanakotiropita), With Lamb’s Quarters Greens

Go Wild With Greens

There are few wild greens easier to enjoy than lamb’s quarters (Chenopodium album) also known as white goosefoot and, sometimes, pigweed. A member of the populous Amaranthaceae family, which includes amaranth, quinoa, beets and spinach, among thousands of other plants, the leaves can be eaten fresh or cooked and have a flavour somewhere between spinach and kale.

Sauces & pâtés

Nose to tail : Don’t overlook the offal when meal-planning this winter

Offal —literally “off-fall”— refers to those parts of an animal carcass that have fallen off during butchering. While muscles represent more than a third of the weight of cattle, by-products including side meats, bones, skin, and intestines constitute most of the animal body. The brain, the trotters (aka feet), kidney, liver, sweetbreads (pancreas) and tripe …

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Cranberry Almond Roll

Cranberry bounty

Old-fashioned jelly roll, made with cranberry jam, not jelly, and finished with whipped cream, Amaretto and toasted sliced almonds.

Birthday Pairings, Campground Treats

Jennifer’s (Free Pour Jenny) cocktail and an appetizer. The cocktail’s bright, sharp and tart. Something cheesy immediately suggested itself. 

Growing young farmers

In 2020, when the Yukon closed its borders to the outside world due to COVID-19, Sundog Retreat owners Andrew Finton and his partner, Heather, found an opportunity in the challenge. They created the Sundog Veggies project.

The secret to composting

We all know we should compost. It is the right thing to do, even in bear country. Composting is the natural process of decay.

Adaptive strategies

During this bizarre year of COVID constraints, home cooks have had to develop adaptive culinary behaviours to increase our success in the kitchen. Sometimes key ingredients for a recipe simply weren’t available, so we acquired new competencies. We became masters of substitution.

For peat’s sake

Peat moss is commonly used around the garden. But what is it really?

Tackle box or junk box?

The water is still hard and ice-fishing is good, but now is the time to take out all your open water gear and do some maintenance and organizing. You could get by without a gear inspection, but come July you’ll hate yourself for the condition of your tackle and its containers. IEventually, we all have …

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Morels and rascals

My father had a favourite expression when he came home from work late because he’d stayed downtown for a drink with his friends. “I fell among thieves,” he would tell my mother. I thought of his expression last summer on a morel mushroom picking expedition, when I fell among rascals. The first rascal showed up …

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Gardening in the blood?

As leaves start to fall and I swaddle my garden in rows of spun plastic to protect it from night frosts, I am exploring my family connection to gardening. Perhaps it’s because I feel a little alone sometimes, a spur way out on the family tree with little connection to roots that lie in other countries and cultures.

Anti-hunting lives on

History of bloodshed has led some to associate firearms in war with hunting. There are misconceptions and misunderstandings about firearms.

Tackling the Monster Plant

Rhubarb often goes straight into pies, cobblers and crisps, often the freezer first. Here are two amazing canned rhubarb recipes.

Blueberry Pilgrims

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen so many berry pickers as this year in the White Pass near Fraser, B.C., southern Yukon’s favourite place to find blueberries. The pandemic was driving us out into the stunning moonscape of small lakes, rock, balsam fir, lichen, alder and dwarf birch from Log Cabin to Summit Creek in …

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Local fishing in Whitehorse

Whitehorse is not a world-renowned fishing destination, but it is the entrance to the Yukon, which is one of those places on many people’s fishing “bucket list.”

Haskaps under the Midnight Sun

The haskaps are ready and that is one of the best things about summer in the Yukon. We pick and pick and it feels good. The haskaps are big, juicy, and beautiful. I can’t get over how perfect these berries are. Our buckets are full, our knees ache from kneeling and we’re happy to be surrounded by haskaps under the midnight sun.

Get schooled!

Kluane National Park and Reserve protects the northernmost population of kokanee, sockeye salmon that became land-locked.

Tie one on

Whitehorse is home to a tiny fly shop with a big heart Big fish. Tiny fly shop. At just 10 feet by 12 feet, and built in a mobile tiny-home style, H20 Troutfitter fly shop – located in the parking lot next to the Gold Pan Saloon in downtown Whitehorse – is the smallest fly …

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Currant-ly Available

Blackcurrants do grow wild in the Yukon, sparsely. You may find Ribes hudsoniam in damp forests at the base of mountains, like for example on the King’s Throne hike in Kluane National Park.

It’s Spruce Tip Season!

For those as yet uninitiated, spruce tips are one of those truly magical wild northern foods. They’re packed with Vitamin C and have been used by Indigenous people to soothe sore throats and combat flu for centuries.

Gardening on the cheap

This series, The Radical Gardener, will look at ways in which working class people (or people who just want to save some scratch) can approach creating, caring for and maintaining a food garden —  something which, given the uncertainty of these times, seems like a pretty good idea.

Great Thumbs, Great Ideas

With everyone still on lockdown and the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in under the COVID-19 lock down, many people are thinking about growing a garden this year — some, perhaps, for the first time in their lives.

Know the age of fowl meat when cooking

There’s a big difference between cooking the meat of wild animals and cooking the meat of domestic animals. Domestic meats contain a wide variety of chemicals, including growth hormones, while wild meat has none.

Black bears and pike

After considerable thought, I can’t come up with any similarity between black bears and pike except that a lot of people won’t eat either. That is sad, as both are delicious and easy to prepare.

Cleaning big game

There’s more than you think to cleaning and butchering that big game animal.

Ice fishing safety

Yukon rivers all have currents, bends, gravel bars, log jams and usually decreasing water levels over the winter.

Boat trailering suggestions

Larry has some tips to keep your boat trailer, and boat, moving I frequently see trailered boats with the outboard in the “down” position. This increases the chances of  damage to the lower unit or broken prop blades from rocks thrown up by the truck or the trailer tires. If you must use the “down” …

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The pinks are running

Whether you’re into fishing or not, now is a great time to pack up the car and head to Haines to check out the salmon run. At this time of year, the rivers around the small Alaskan town are spotted with a waders-clad population, all hoping to reel in something tasty.

Nature versus hunting

How can I go out and shoot an animal? It might surprise you that many animals that go through meatpacking companies are actually shot with a .22 caliber stunning bullet, then hung up by the back legs, then sliced so they can bleed to death in a way that makes the meat of that animal …

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Pike for supper

Pike are very common, not difficult to catch and are a delicious mild-flavoured fish. Their one big negative is that they have more bones than other fish, with those “Y” bones in a line along the thickest part of the fillet. The method to remove these bones is pretty straightforward and can be found on …

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Telling a fish’s age

Once you cut a tree down, you can count the number of years it has stood by counting the annual rings around the stump. It might surprise many that you can get a pretty good idea how old a fish is by counting the rings on a single scale. When we used the big box …

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Sport fishing and the future

Fish management is an ever-changing science. With climate change at hand, it will present many unanswered questions about the future of fishing.

Fish actually have ears

Although fish have ears, they do not have eardrums like humans and other wildlife A number of years ago, while writing outdoor columns for some Ontario newspapers, I touched on the subject of the anatomy of the sensory parts of animals and fish. After the publication hit the newstands, I walked into a coffee shop …

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Bicycle bison hunt

The Porter Creek Secondary School bison hunt changed from a snowmobile hunt to a bicycle hunt due to lack of snow in March. The planning had been done for the 13 participants, six students, six adults (staff and parents) and Hunter Education Coordinator, Jim Welsh. The Porter Creek Secondary School group was part of the …

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Food security in the North

Local food production and sourcing has become an important component of our food supply, like the potatoes harvested here at the Yukon Grain Farm in 2017 What was the last conversation you had with your best friend? If there is one topic that people like to talk about it, it is food. We talk about …

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Ziplocs and vacuum-sealing

Great for camping, canoeing and hunting, ziplocs are watertight. It can rain for days and the items in your Ziploc bags will still be dry.

Ice-fishing with kids

If you don’t make it fun, they won’t like it. Going out again will be unlikely. In that respect, it’s like summer fishing, only it’s cold as well as boring. Kids need to be entertained and that’s your job. They also do better if they have stuff to eat and numerous cups of hot chocolate …

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Batten down the hatches

I feel tumbled up against the advance of winter. All summer, the sun pulled me on with the force of a tearaway sled dog and, when the days shortened into fall, it was as if she slowed suddenly to sniff out a piece of news and I hurtled into her. I sit on the trail …

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Let the apple harvest begin

A couple of weeks ago, I was stayed in my tracks as I was strolling by one of our apple shelters. They’re coming, my nose told me as the fragrance of ripe fruit wafted out of the open door. I poked my head in. As luck would have it, beneath the laden branches lay a …

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The Yukon landscape

One thing that thrives up here is the humble spruce tree. Now before you shake your heads, let me clarify: I’m not talking about just any ol’ spruce tree.

Locally grown, raised, harvested, crafted …

The long-running Fireweed community farmers market has grown over the years into a destination event each week, as a multitude of local farmers, vendors and crafters gather to share their products.

Those Bloomin’ Apples

Yukon fruit growers have work to do in all seasons to ensure a successful harvest come fall. In the spring this involves two main strategies: avoid early bloom and watch that weather.

A Passion for Preserving

If you love the gentle pop-pop-popping of a jar lid, you might just be a home canner. For Michelle Christensen-Toews, it’s one of the many satisfying things about preserving food. “You only hear it as you’re clearing up. You’re washing the dishes and you start to hear the popping and you know that things are …

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Haska-What Now?

Raspberries, blueberries, crowberries and cranberries: being on Yukon time means planning your weekends around where to pick once the – dare I say it? – latter part of summer rolls around and hints at fall. There is one berry fairly new to the Yukon scene that is well over and done with by the time …

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Northern Food Fusion

lover of adventure & fine tastes – forager of the wild world. The life I live is close with nature, so is my diet. Spruce Tip Salmon Roe Caviar

Moose Heart Tacos

The hidden trophy of any successful hunt – that should be hauled out of the woods and cherished like a beautiful hide or perfectly curled horns – is the heart. The heart is by far the most delicious cut of any sort of wild game I’ve had the pleasure of eating. And if you’re a …

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Why I Love Little Birds

The view overlooking Bennett Lake, after summiting my first mountain, while accompanying a friend on his goat hunt, will stay with me forever. The noise of the wind through the high passes, blowing clouds through the huge expanses below always leaves me feeling a little haunted. The huge span of tundra, the winding rivers, the …

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Sowing the Seeds of Spring

The light returns to the Yukon long before the heat and we’re still in the prime season of huge oscillations in temperature between day and night. Mornings dawn crisp – but early – and as of yet we feel no compulsion to head outside until it warms a little. Midafternoon brings mud and even t-shirt …

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Berry Picking

For me, the summer of 2016 has been the best berry year ever. My berry season starts with wild strawberries and they were bigger than ever this year. Wild raspberries are almost always abundant. Our famous Yukon cranberries are looking extremely promising this year. The wild season ends with rosehips. I like to compare Mother …

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Mushroom Confidential

I wrote this in 2013 for Dave Mossop at Yukon College as part of my course requirements for NOST 201, A natural history of the North. However, it had been rattling around in my head for some time. Please do not use this to identify a mushroom; get expert advice. I’m going to tell you …

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Mushrooms in the Yukon

Mushroom season starts in spring. On a hike at the end of May, I came upon some black morels. In the Yukon, morels usually only grow where there has been a recent fire, although I’ve found them growing other places. With the warm weather and rain this year, I have been picking mushrooms in earnest …

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Not for Novices: Beyond Beginner Picking

After you’ve picked your first few batches of mushrooms, and haven’t landed in the hospital, you’ll find the mushroom conversation branches into themes of field testing, drying, and alternate uses, such as medicines, dyes and crafts. The best mushrooming advice I ever got was from experienced mushroom picker Esa Ekdahl. She told me to start …

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That Wasn’t the Plan

I always forget the way this works, how fast things change here. In the hot, hot days of summer, I think it will last forever and then suddenly, one rainy July day, there it is. The chill, maybe a wool sweater, the thought of lighting a fire crosses your mind, and you notice the first …

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He built a better greenhouse

There are two kinds of gardeners in the Yukon: those who can grow tomatoes and those who can’t. With Yukoner Bob Sharp’s Solar Growing Greenhouse Kit – a stable-temperature greenhouse that extends the growing season by three months – it is now much easier to join that first club. “Nothing about this is secret,” Sharp says. “It’s …

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Here’s Your New Home, Bees

We saw the queen recently. She wasn’t wearing a crown. She was sporting a big blue dot on her thorax though. The Cheshire Beekeepers’ Association, founded in 1899, has great information about queen marking on its website. The queen is much easier to locate in the hive when marked. Queen records are easily kept. Most …

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Know Thy Microclimate

I’ve put a lot of miles under me this spring between Victoria, B.C. and the Klondike Valley, and had thought I would be riding the green wave north. It is true that there were more leaves out on the Gulf Islands than there were when I arrived at home in Mount Lorne, but in between, …

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The Bee Diaries – April 2016

The gentle, warm summer breeze touched our faces as we stood watching the bees. The bees were just doing their thing: flying in and out of the hive, gathering pollen.  Suddenly we noticed a large black cloud forming in the southwest. Within minutes of us spying that dark cloud the bees started flying back to the …

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Diggin’ It Old School

The first thing that people know about me is that I am a city girl. It’s not that I do not have an appreciation for country living, it’s just not something I could do on a daily basis. So, it should come to no surprise that when it comes to gardening I am quite the …

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Winter: A Season for Change

“The more things change the more they stay the same” and “The only constant in life is change” are both very cliche and very true. In some sense farming and gardening means things are staying the same. We usually use the same plot of land and plant the same kinds of vegetables. We also raise …

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Kinnikinnick’s Latin name, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, comes from arctos and ursi meaning bear and staphylos and uva meaning bunch of grapes. Amazing: the taste of those little grapes! I just tried something I had never tried before, but had read about several times. As it happens, I was treating a certain condition I had. I always …

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Don’t Turnip Your Nose

“‘…but gracious me! It’s getting light!     Good night, old Turnip-top, good-night!’     A nod, and he was gone.” So ends the sixth canto of Phantasmorgia by Lewis Carroll (better known for having written the topsy-turvy classic Alice in Wonderland), with the parting sally of a young phantom as he leaves the residence of the …

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Tonic or toxin?

Ah, arnica. Renowned for its power to soothe sore muscles, sprains and bruises, and a common gateway drug into the wonderful world of the do-it-yourself apothecary. Most often it is in the form of arnica oil, where the bright yellow flower heads are wilted and then used to infuse oil that can be used in …

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Fine Wine Starts in the Garage

There’s at least one person for whom the drought in California has a silver lining. Luigi Zanasi is hoping for some magic to come out of his garage this year, thanks to the intense wine grapes he believes the California drought has produced. An economist by profession, and an enthusiastic gardener, Zanasi has been making …

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Death by Camas

Yes, a new form of torture has been developed, involving an unrelenting repetition of a single passage from the Myth of Sisyphus – what? C-A-M-A-S? So, not Albert? Oh…sorry about that. Let’s begin again. I love the flowers of death-camas. I love their Dr. Seussian protuberances, like false noses in bizarre and marvelous shapes. This …

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What Not to Eat: Water Hemlock

When I first began eating wild mushrooms, I was studying squirrels. I watched which mushrooms they picked to stash in trees, and figured that whichever ones they ate were probably not (or not very) poisonous. These days I know a little more and am glad I didn’t base my entire wild diet on this type …

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The Magic of Mushrooms

Jean Francois is a chef. I met him at a B.C. heli-ski lodge on Highway 5 — The Yellowhead — in the early 2000s. He cooked pastries and cakes and cookies and yelled at the breakfast servers at six in the morning. I was a person cleaning rooms, chopping wood, listlessly dusting big stone walls, …

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A Proper Teatime

I was visiting a friend down on Lewes Lake last week and was delighted at the profusion of blue and pink lining his driveway. Wild roses and lungwort — which he told me deserved to be called bluebells, their prettier name — were both in full bloom. The bluebell is an interesting flower in that …

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Soup Season?

Well I hope that sundrenched stretch wasn’t summer. It was glorious, hot, and beautiful — what a tease. I’m sitting inside with the rain lashing the windows under our first precipitation since Environment Canada’s icons changed from snowflakes to water-drops; I actually lit a fire today to ward off the chill and damp. Nothing outside …

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Freezing Fish

Over the years a few people have told me that due to a loss of flavour, they do not freeze fish and only eat them fresh. Certainly a well cared for fresh fish has a slight flavour edge on one that’s been frozen, but not enough difference to avoid freezing your catch. For most of …

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Training For the Yukon

Recently we went down south for a family visit. At the time it was still very much winter here in the Yukon. Down there the snow was melting, there were puddles everywhere and it felt like spring. If it had been like that up here we would have already been in the garden. But no one …

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Im-mead-iate Satisfaction

The title is a misnomer. Perhaps it is ironic, but I’m not literary enough to remember the nuances of such terms. At any rate, it is inaccurate. The moose ribs I cooked up last week were anything but fast food, and that’s one of the reasons they were so good. The cooking itself took time (ten …

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A New Market?

I was having dinner with a neighbour the other day and she asked me if I needed any dried greens. She was referring to turnip tops and kale. She had just come across a large, forgotten jar and with the onset of spring it was high time to use them up. I declined, because her …

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Pancake Tuesday

Seasonal eaters, whether they are gardeners, foragers, or locavores reading the labels at the grocery store, know that the lean time of year isn’t during the dead of winter. Then, storerooms are still stocked with plump sacks of potatoes resting contentedly beneath jars of pickled beets that glow like rubies in the dusty shine of …

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Farmers Need Funds, Too

If you ate today, thank a farmer. If you know where your food comes from, thank them even more. Knowing where your food comes from can be a challenge, especially in the North. Why should a person support a local farmer when the food they sell is often more expensive than what can be found …

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February Seedlings

Anything can happen in February, weather-wise. It can be -30°C one day and 5°C a few days later. The sun can be very warm and the spring starts diminishing the snow and icing up the roads. January is a month of hibernation and rest. But February is a month of cabin fever; hence Rendezvous. February, the …

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Seed Catalogues Launch Dreams

“There are two seasonal diversions that can ease the bite of any winter. One is the January thaw. The other is the seed catalogues” – Hal Borland, American journalist (1900 – 1978). Seed catalogues evoke memories of summer breezes and warmer times; they are wonderful to peruse on a cold blustery day. We often receive three, …

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The Proof is in the Pudding

Ah, Christmas — the time of year when magazines abound with recipes promising taste sensations derived solely from rainbows and snowflakes. At least that’s my assumption because they are the only things not on the list of excluded ingredients. Consider a delectable chocolate cake that carries no sin because it has no fat, sugar, or, …

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Bigger is Not Always Better

In the 1970s farmers in the United States were told to “get big or get out” as a way to promote larger, corporately owned farms. Since that time, the population of people living on farms dropped from 25 percent to 2 percent, with those who work full time on a farm dropping to .1 percent. …

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Happy Birthday Eeyore

In chapter six of A.A. Milne’s classic, Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore has a birthday. Miserable to begin with, and sure to become so again soon after, we leave Eeyore at the end of the tale at perhaps the happiest we’ve ever see him — because of a useful pot, and something to put in it. …

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Home Grown

The phrase “food security” is becoming common, and it can be interpreted in several different ways. Whether it is a lack of food due to environmental conditions, the inability to access nutritious food because of financial restraints, or the lack of food due to remote location — these are all are considered examples of “food …

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Saving the Harvest

One of a gardener’s goals at the end of summer is to preserve the food harvested. This takes many forms , from allowing a potato to set skin so it won’t dehydrate in storage, to the pickling root crops , to the canning of fruits , to the blanching of vegetables for freezing. One form …

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Nuts to you

The rain was turning to slush against the windows of the plane as we scooted down the tarmac a few weeks ago, on its way to becoming the first snow of the season in Whitehorse. I was headed south and in good company —it seems that seasonality is a trait shared by many Yukoners, feathered …

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Clandestine Crabapple Caper

Yesterday the sun sank behind the mountains at the same moment as the final round of applause burst forth from the tents lining the roundabout at Shipyard’s park — a poetic end to the farmer’s market season. Well, the end of Thursday markets at least; this year, the Saturday affairs will continue through the end …

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Seed saving

Seed saving is a time-honored way of keeping certain plant traits growing. It used to be a common practice among gardeners. This year we have decided to keep seed from some of our vegetables. The challenge is to prevent similar plants from cross-pollinating. I find it amazing, the plants that will cross with each other. …

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Off The Beaten Path

I was re-routing some electrical cables through some bushes the other day, and what did my little eye spy? Not one, but two beautiful Agaricus mushrooms, one quite large and already flattened out like a pancake, the other with its veil still intact. This combination is ideal for identification. I promptly sliced them off at …

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Living in the Yukon, people want to enjoy summer to the fullest, “summer” being those 14 to 21 days randomly sprinkled across June, July, and August. Gardeners are no different.The perception of many is that a long, hot summer brings an abundance of produce normally grown in hot houses down south. In truth though, a scorching summer …

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Salmon in the Morning

When a gate opens to fresh Alaska King salmon, you simply must walk through. There are many types of salmon, but Alaska King is always a treat, and I recently had the pleasure of finding one in my possession.In the late hours of one afternoon, my future mother-in-law was finishing up at the office when a …

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Home writ large and small

Ah the glory days of a Northern summer!It’s the few short weeks when I take the covers off of the garden beds (always ready to run out at night should the temperature dip), and the days when the lakes are swimmable (not just dip-able). It’s the season of outdoor festivals, hiking and camping trips, and …

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Set the Summer Calendar, as Fireweed Begins to Bloom

What can one tell a Yukoner about fireweed? Isn’t it like talking to an Inuvialuit person about ice? Fireweed’s colours, height and flowering times are fairly familiar in the body of literature known as ‘northern knowledge’. Here is my attempt at expanding on this: When I think of a species of plant or animal I …

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Your Goose is Cooked

Unlike the southern provinces where ducks and geese are around for a few months, migratory bird hunting is not a popular activity here. But those who do make the effort can readily get birds for the freezer. Preparing these birds for the table is really quite easy, but, sadly many would-be or used-to-be bird hunters …

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Fava Beans

One of the biggest animal raising expenses in the Yukon is feed. So I am always on the look out for crops we can grow that will meet the nutritional needs of the animals. When I find something that might work I give it a try in the garden. If it does well, I feed …

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Give and Take

I feel a bit like Gollum. I am squatting on my haunches, slurping delicious juices from my fingers as I delight in a fresh pike. Perhaps muttering to myself a little. Except I’m picking out the bones, whereas Gollum relished them with a crunch. And my fish is piping hot — J.R.R. Tolkien’s pity-worthy character …

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The Return of Salad Season

I was shopping at my local free store the other day when I stopped in the middle of a wave to a fellow browser. He peered at me, and I at him, for a good minute before I said tentatively, “Dom?” His grin affirmed my suspicions and as we caught up we shared a chuckle …

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In spring, while we wait for the snow to melt, we check on the chives to see if there will be enough for a taste. Once the snow is gone we keep an eye on the rhubarb. This year I was also watching for asparagus to return. Last year I seeded asparagus in a flowerbed …

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Full Boar 2014

Katie Munroe and Colin Urquhart grew up in New Brunswick. Munroe’s family threw a big community party every spring — there’d be a whole roasted pig and pipe bands. Munroe’s dad taught Urquhart the art of pig roasting. “I was his number one apprentice,” he says. “Then I started dating his daughter.” Now, the couple …

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Alpaca Fun Facts

Alpacas See them in yarn-form at this year’s Fireweed Community Market

Springing into Spring

In the Yukon there isn’t really a spring; rather, it’s an early summer. What I, as a Yukoner, refer to as “spring” is actually the time when the snow melts away — it can be as warm as summer, but the leaves and flowers haven’t come out, yet. No matter, though, spring is always a …

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The Days Are Just Packed…

An incessant beeping. I become aware of a pillow, and the sound becomes my alarm clock. I silence the offending device with more luck than aim. I feel out of sorts, extracted so roughly from my dreams. I am certain that the makers of alarm clocks engineer them with minute precision to attain the exact …

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A Celebration of Spring

Spring… there is nothing quite like it. Living here in the North, we generally have a long winter followed by a long spring. It seems to take forever to finish melting the snow and warming up the ground. To help keep us going, the pussy willows are out, as well as the crocuses. But to …

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It Looks Like a Tomato…

I was in the grocery store the other day with a friend. Picking up a bag of winter produce she said, “I wonder if they will taste like tomatoes… At least they’ll give the idea of a tomato.” This had never occurred to me before. Even though it is a mere shadow of the fruit fresh off …

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The Real Dirt

A few years ago, a neighbour told me my garden needed to be amended with some dirt. He was referring to the stereotypical black soil that can be purchased from either big-box stores or a local distributor who harvests the soil from old marshland. Neither source promised high nutrients for the vegetable garden. Here in …

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Taking The Long View

Eating seasonally teaches long-term thinking I love watching tomato seedlings poke their tiny shoots out of the soil, eagerly seeking sunlight — or UV light from a bulb, as the case may be. With the coming of spring it’s easy to feel like there will be abundant food from the ground any time now, but …

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A Frozen Pipe Dream

I went to Vancouver a few weeks ago. I wasn’t looking forward to trading sunny skies for rainy ones — although the temperatures were going to be much warmer than the -24°C temperatures here. Before I left, Allan asked me to bring back some spring with me. When I got there, it was indeed spring. …

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Spring Sprouts

“Spring has sprung,” cries my body as it soaks up the sun streaming through my window at two o’clock on a glorious March afternoon. It retracts the statement the following morning as I crouch, shivering to light the fire. But, ever hopeful, it repeats the whole affair each day, confident that soon, it will be …

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Lichen, anyone?

I delight in winter travel, especially once the snow pack has settled. It’s early this year, and I’m already able to break away from the packed trails and wander the woods to my hearts content. Whether on skis on snowshoes, I inevitably follow the tracks of some other creature, and, given my proclivities, I look …

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Homemade Seed Tapes

Winter can be frustrating for gardeners.  There are days when it feels like spring won’t get here soon enough. Combine this with the knowledge that when it does, there is only a small window of time available, and a gardener can become anxious. Last year, I tried to get a head start on planting the …

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Food Security

Winter; a season many people dread. The extra work of shovelling snow, the layers of clothing, the cold temperatures, and even the shorter daylight hours are something to be endured. But I like winter, and always have. To me, it’s a time of working together — even if it is just to get a vehicle …

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A Quiet Yukon Christmas

Twas the week before Christmas and all through the farm. Not a chicken was stirring, they’re all in the barn. All summer they roam, but when once the snow flies, our hens will not go out to where the snow lies. They scratch up the bedding and look for some treat; it might be a …

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A Chicken and Egg Story

Last year our chickens stopped laying eggs. For the first time in a decade we had to buy eggs instead of selling them. The egg strike, as one of our customers called it, lasted five months. But by the time they started laying again, their replacements were already in the barn. The life of a …

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Living on Farmer Time

I have always wondered why we need to adjust our clocks for daylight saving time here in the land of the Midnight Sun. It was originally adopted in Europe to extend the evening daylight hours during the summer months. Sure, it is necessary if we are to stay in sync with the rest of North …

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Winter Gardening

Years ago I was asked by a Japanese helper what kinds of plants grew here in the winter. I laughed and said nothing grows, it is all frozen solid. She was amazed. In many places they rotate their crops based on the season. Heat-loving plants like tomatoes and peppers can be followed by crops that …

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Just Exactly How Big is Big

It’s going to be all antlers, horns, and skulls for hours on end next Saturday at the Big Bull Night. From 5 p.m. until way past dinner time, big game hunters will be bringing hardware from animals they harvested to the Yukon Inn, and Yukon Fish and Game Association guys will be waiting with measuring …

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The Joy of Homegrown Tomatoes

Nothing tastes quite as good as a garden fresh tomato. Here in the North these are rare enough to find, but this past summer we had enough heat to grow tomatoes outside without any protection from the elements, though we did fence them off from the laying hens. I started seedlings indoors around mid-March. And …

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Talking Turkey

Because turkeys are a North American bird, it makes sense to have them for the North American holiday of Thanksgiving. There are about 15 different kinds of turkeys ranging in colour from a slate-blue to the bronze of the wild birds. The most commonly raised breed of turkey looks nothing like it’s wild predecessors. It …

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Edible Yukon:Hip to the Lingo

Harvesting in the wild often puts me into a contemplative state. Perhaps it is the repetitive action of the hands – the eyes moving slightly ahead of the fingers seeking out the next berry or leaf. Perhaps it is simply being unplugged from electronic and mechanical sounds. Whatever the cause, two things occurred to me …

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Yukon Harvest Time

I can’t believe it’s almost over. This summer was one of the best on record as far as gardening goes. We always had lots of produce to harvest and a sell at the markets. But the garden doesn’t stop producing just because the Fireweed Community Market is done for the season. In fact, there are …

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To Frost or Not To Frost

With the beauty of the fall colours comes an increase in the ever-present danger of frost. For some, this is evidence of a balance between good and bad, for others it is proof that we can have our cake and eat it too. Ice on the puddles is an indication that a transformation is taking …

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Friends with Benefits

It’s easy to remember the three kinds of symbiosis if you apply them to your past relationships. Parasitism is where one species benefits and the other is hurt. Commensalism is where one species benefits and the other is neither hurt nor helped. Mutualism occurs when both species benefit. In addition to human romance, symbiosis is …

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Edible Yukon: The Pearl Fishers

Golfers, fighter pilots and magicians all share two honours: being featured prominently in the half dozen VHS tapes we owned when I was a kid, and having their own peculiar vocabulary. Berry pickers share the latter and the frequency of words like windfall, galore, paltry, and slim-pickings in overheard conversation can help identify this common …

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Food Forest: Those Aren’t Weeds

Growing a vegetable garden can be an emotional rollercoaster. This gorgeous summer we just enjoyed was good for the veggies, but it was also perfect weather for taking off for a week. It must have been a summer of tough decisions for some gardeners. Staying home allows for attentive watering, creating the highs of homegrown …

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Helpers Extraordinaire

A few weeks ago I met a guy from Ontario who asked if it would be possible to help out at the farm. Of course I said, “Yes.” He was wanting to continue our conversation about farming in the Yukon, and we were trying to talk while I was watching our booth at the Fireweed …

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Edible Yukon: Harvesting Joy

In June I patiently await each new plant that emerges from the forest floor along my daily walks. In July, I feast my eyes on colour and pick the odd mushroom or batch of greens for salad. By August I have felt the signs and allowed my inner ant to take over from my summer …

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Wild Berry Picking In Your Own Backyard

Late summer and early autumn is berry-picking time across the Yukon. Low- and high-bush cranberries, soapberries, Saskatoon berries, blueberries, strawberries, cloudberries and raspberries are each a picker’s delight. In addition to foraging, you can easily cultivate berries in your garden, giving you easy and (hopefully) bear-free access to berries. Raspberries are especially easy to grow. …

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Growing a Community

It’s been a good season for growing vegetables in downtown Whitehorse. Gardeners at the Whitehorse Community Garden celebrated their bounty last Wednesday with a potluck table covered in dishes made with produce harvested from their plots. There was a chocolate cake made with beets, rhubarb ice cream, Caesar salad with home-grown romaine lettuce, and plenty …

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Edible Yukon: Fishing for Moments

Aspiring fisherpersons soon learn that catching and eating are only two of many landmarks in the journey of fishing. While I see fishing as a food gathering activity, I also appreciate the hours spent alone in beautiful wild places, ideal for contemplation. On one occasion, instead of a brace of grayling I came home with …

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A Charming Guide Down Nature’s Path

Beverley Gray knows plants. They’ve intrigued her since early childhood and she has since accomplished a lot in the name of greenery. Gray opened her herb shop, Aroma Borealis, in Whitehorse 15 years ago and has continued to expand her knowledge. She’s studied herbalism, yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, spiritual healing and reflexology. She’s also written a …

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Edible Yukon: Feast of Flower

Have you ever been transfixed by northern lights soaring in shimmering skirts of greens and blues? Watched mountain peaks glowing in the sun’s last rays? Been stopped in your tracks by a lone rosehip, deep red against the snow? In a land often painted with a backdrop of white, Northerners appreciate colour. In the spring …

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Seeking the perfect tomato for Northern summers

My grandfather’s backyard was a gardener’s dream. Flat as a postage stamp, with deep, rich soil and daylong exposure to intense southwestern Ontario sunshine. My grandfather, a gentleman and tobacco farmer, had an incredibly green thumb. Among his harvests were tons of heavenly tomatoes. The tomatoes were never mealy or white-fleshed, but deep red all …

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Where are the Bees?

With summer comes the sound of songbirds and the hum of insects. Often insects are seen as nuisances — pests that need bug dope to keep them away. And while I absolutely hate biting bugs there are some insects I find very interesting and necessary for gardening. With ladybugs around aphids won’t be a problem …

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PHantastic Soil

It is a good idea to find out a bit about your garden before planting anything in it. What will grow in a plot of soil depends on what is in it, how compact the soil particles are and the pH level of the soil. The required nutrients are reliant on what is to be …

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Hardy Choice for Low-Maintenance Indoor Gardens

When you are looking for a tough indoor plant, sanseveria trifasciata (or more commonly called snake plant) is a hardy choice. These sturdy plants are also a good pick for new indoor gardeners who are looking for plants with minimal maintenance. The sanseveria thrives in low light conditions and is an excellent choice for low-maintenance …

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Help Your Plants Find the Light

Light is the main requirement for your seedlings once they have emerged from the soil whether they are flowers, vegetables or herbs. Having a sunny south bay window may not be enough intense light to prevent the seedlings from growing tall and spindly. Although it is too early to plant in your greenhouse, unless you …

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Organic Gardens Live and Breathe Naturally

When it comes to organic gardening, many gardeners are not exactly sure of the definition. Beyond the avoidance of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides on their plants, an organic gardener works to achieve a harmonious balance among natural systems, while leaving the environment with replenishment of its resources. There are many good reasons for going organic. …

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The Wild Abundance of Food

It’s only recently that most people have forgotten how to forage for food. For thousands of years, First Nations communities across Canada lived on food provided by nature. Berries, barks, plants, flowers and herbs were cyclically harvested for food and medicine. Colonization changed the relationship between people, the land, and wild foods but a forager’s …

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Pollination: Let the Bees Do It

With the days getting longer and nights warmer, the plants in your greenhouse should be thriving. Your greenhouse plants, tomatoes, cucumbers or squash, may start to send out their first flush of flowers. If you’ve bought plants locally, you may have bought plants with flowers or even little tomatoes already on the vine. If this …

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Fresh Ideas for Container Gardens

With less and less time to maintain gardens, containers are becoming more and more popular as an alternative to mass gardening. Not everyone has time for full-fledged gardens, which is why container gardening just hits the spot. Any container that can hold soil can become a planter, as long as it has adequate drainage. When …

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Veggies Like a Warm Bed

If you haven’t planted your garden, now is definitely the time to get growing. Remember to plant your seeds — such as carrots, beets and lettuce — fairly shallow. The depth of the seed bed that is required for root vegetables should be fairly deep (eight to 10″) for the development of the vegetable, but …

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Rumble in the Greenhouse: Ladybug Vs. Aphid

With warmer weather, your greenhouse could be growing more than just your vegetable plants. Insects thrive in the warm humid environment and it usually takes a few weeks before it is noticeable to the average gardener. Most people are aware that aphids are attracted to pepper plants. I’ve always maintained that if you grow your …

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Venturing into the Unknown

All good things must come to an end and two days ago this was true for our piglets. It’s been eight weeks since they were born and we usually wean them between six and eight weeks. We determine the time based on how well the mom is dealing with them. When pigs are eating they …

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Getting Your Greenhouse In Order

At this point in the season, maintenance is the goal for keeping your greenhouse productive now and in the coming month. Despite the snow at the beginning of June, the plants in your greenhouse should be growing rapidly. I would recommend keeping an eye on the following potential trouble spots: air circulation and fungal problems. …

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Strawberry Fields Forthcoming

With visions of Strawberry Shortcake, Strawberry Milkshakes — in fact, with strawberries of any shape and size — I got bamboozled into our strawberry escapade on our greenhouse operation. I didn’t know much about growing strawberries, but my husband insisted that they could be grown here, so trustingly I went along with the concept. The …

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Spring Means New Life

There are pussy willows, crocuses and chives growing in the garden. Migrating birds are returning to Swan Haven and mallards are swimming in the ditch just down the road. On the farm we see new life in spring as well, although it isn’t as reliant on the weather as crocuses and returning geese. Every spring …

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Plants Helping Plants

One of the more interesting characteristics of plants is that plants are affected chemically by the aroma from leaves, roots and by soil micro-organisms. Knowing which plants like each other and which don’t, and planting these together, is what is known as companion planting. Companion planting is the planting of different crops in close proximity …

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Our Egg Situation

My husband Allan got a goose egg last night. He wasn’t hurt as some may suspect, rather he found an actual egg out in the goose pen while doing chores. Lately the egg situation on the farm has been nonexistent. Our laying hens stopped giving us eggs some time just after Christmas. For the first …

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Tomatoes: The Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the Few

One sunny August afternoon, I walked into our “Tomato” greenhouse only to find my husband, Frank, yielding a machete (OK, a large knife) chopping off the tops of all the tomato plants. Positive that the heat finally got to him and he’s gone berserk, I yelled: “What the heck are you doing?” The long rows …

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Curb Your Enthusiasm

We have all seen spectacular homes and gardens that catch our eye and cause us to pause during our busy lives. Gardens that are so beloved that they become an essential stop on neighbourhood walks. Often, a sight that people both remark upon and remember. Curb appeal is visual interest created at the front of …

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Salvaging a Short Growing Season

It’s been obvious to gardeners for some time that this summer has not been favourable for vegetable gardening. The lack of sunny days combined with cool nights is just not the best for ripening of tomatoes. Outdoor vegetables such as cabbage and cauliflower are also very late in forming heads. The hope for these crops …

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Amaryllis In The Winter: The Plant That Keeps Giving

Now is the perfect time to prepare amaryllis bulbs to enjoy during the winter months. By planting amaryllis bulbs now, you can enjoy fresh blossoms throughout the holiday season. Of all flowering bulbs, amaryllis is among the easiest of bulbs to bring to blossom. By starting amaryllis bulbs now, in your home, you will enjoy …

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Wreaths All Around

Holiday wreaths have long been a tradition of Christmas. Some religions consider circular wreaths as representative of eternity. Wreaths have long been a sign of greeting that embraces nature’s goodness. When made with evergreen branches, the wreath becomes a symbol of everlasting life. With fresh greenery, it adds hope and new life. Throughout the holiday …

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Celebrating Traditions of the Holiday Season

There are few holidays more revered in tradition than Christmas. In our hearts and minds, Christmas holds a special place all its own. For most of us, we recall the traditions of Christmas as nostalgia that takes us back to our childhood. Christmas traditions connect us to our past. Through the brightness of the Christmas …

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Making Culinary Art from Local Trees

You know that thing that happens when you taste something and it is so delicious that the experience goes beyond just eating something to this ethereal, transcendental, whole body experience? High-end chefs are always on the hunt for a new source of that experience and according to Whitehorse cook and author Michele Genest, there is a …

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Growing a Sense of Community

Many Whitehorse gardeners are planning to grow an extra row of vegetables to donate to the food bank this year. Whitehorse is one of the 35 communities across the country that now participates in Grow-A-Row. The program is the brainchild of two green thumbs in Winnipeg, Ron and Eunice O’Donovan. In the summer of 1986 …

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Right Plant, Right Location

We all love to buy new, lush green tropical plants. But what can we do to help maintain the plant’s original lushness and colour? Start by selecting the right plant for the right location. First, look to the light. Most plants derive the majority of their energy from the light. Direct sunlight is considered to …

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Flowering Azaleas: Beautiful Indoors and Out

The azalea plant is among the most colourful and beautiful of flowering shrubs. Domesticated to become an indoor flowering plant, many varieties can be placed outdoors for the Yukon summer months and wintered indoors. By following a few simple tricks of the trade, you can grow azaleas to produce a flowering period of three to …

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Head Starts and Crop Rotations

In early spring it is very hard not to dream of the summer growing season. Gardeners who want an early start often start plants indoors. These are usually the heat-loving plants like tomatoes and peppers. With our very short growing season it is to the Yukon gardener’s advantage to start other plants as well — …

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Tiny Little Pieces of Life

I got my seeds today! Seeds … tiny little pieces of life, stored until spring arrives to awaken them. It is this miraculous life that makes them so attractive to gardeners, especially after a long, cold winter. Each seed has its own set of requirements hardwired in them. It is up to the gardener to …

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Plant-Propigating Possibilities

Plants are natural self-propagators. Along with producing seeds, plants have a unique ability to allow for broken stems and leaves to re-root themselves and produce new plants. One can take advantage of this natural phenomenon by performing plant propagation, by taking cuttings from plants and following a few simple techniques. The ideal time to take …

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Plantscaping with Cacti and Succulents

Cacti and succulents make for ideal indoor plants. In their impressive forms, cacti and succulents offer a broad range of exotic varieties. Whether designed in a minimalist, dry garden or simply enjoyed planted on their own, these easy-to-care-for plants are ideal for the low-maintenance gardener. A succulent is described as a plant with thick foliage …

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Safe Solutions for Plant Pests

At some point, many gardeners will experience plant pests and diseases. By selecting all-natural, organic products such as the popular neem oil to care for your plants, you can safely and effectively treat many common plant ailments. Neem oil, derived from the pressed seed of the Azadiracta indica A. Juss (the neem tree), has been …

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Spring Forward With Flowers

It has been a long time since we have seen the colour outdoors. For most enthusiastic gardeners, we await that day, when we can embark into our gardens, with the greatest of anticipation. Spring flowering bulbs bring forth a multitude of colour, fragrance and personality. An antidote to the cold outdoor temperatures, spring flowers are …

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Deep in Snow and Going to Seed

When we moved to Whitehorse, from Saskatchewan, I had been led to believe that gardening here was next to impossible. Then I visited Yukon Gardens and was inspired. They had all the ‘regular’ garden plants that seemed to be doing very well. That’s when I knew it wasn’t impossible. But it was still years before …

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Potting Up & Potting On

Sooner or later, plants outgrow their original pots and need to be transplanted. Many tropical houseplants thrive by being planted in proper-sized vessels with regular replenishment of nutrients. First, proper potting soil is essential for a plant to establish a healthy root system. Most tropical plants thrive using sterilized planting mediums. Sterilized potting soil is …

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Why Wait for Spring?

There is great excitement to starting plants from seeds. By selecting ornamental and preferred plant varieties, while giving favoured flower and vegetable varieties a head start, you have the opportunity for a summer garden that bursts with enthusiasm … a little early. From blue Himalayan poppies to the award-winning geranium, “Rozanne”, to space-saver cucumbers and …

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Cool Container Combos

Many gardeners are exceptionally eager, at this time of year, to create hardy planters that will withstand the cooler, Northern spring temperatures. Take a fresh start to the season with a hardy collection of flowering and foliage varieties that will blossom with an abundance of colour while withstanding the cold night temperatures. I look for …

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Savoury Edible-Plant Gardening

Edible-plant gardening is a doubly exciting venture. We all know that food tastes best when it can be consumed soon after harvest. By growing edible plants in your windowsill, you take advantage of the fresh harvest at your finger tips. Herb gardening is a rewarding and useful experience. Consider experimenting with plant varieties not available …

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A Flower with a Timeless Message

The traditional flower of Easter is the glorious white lily longiflorum. Well-known as the Easter lily plant, this flower is symbolic of beauty, hope and life. With its natural beauty, grace and fragrance, the Easter lily has decorated homes and churches during the symbolic holiday, for hundreds of years. The natural form of this plant …

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Dig Those Diggin’ Pigs

They don’t dig like dogs, with their front feet, but with their noses. It is unbelievable how strong their nose muscles are. They can even lift fence posts out of the ground with enough time and effort. So one of the first things needed for keeping pigs is a strong fence. When we first started …

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Go Green When You Green-up!

For many, preparing the lawn for summer enjoyment is a highlight of spring. With anxious anticipation, gardeners spring forward to green-up their outdoor living spaces. Greening up the outdoors can also work toward creating another green: the environment. By carefully choosing responsible alternatives to harmful pesticides and chemical use, you can enjoy a lawn that …

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What’s ‘Up’ in the Garden

They’re up … radishes and swiss chard that were planted only a week ago are now pushing up through the soil. The radishes looked like they have been up for a while, too, but I didn’t notice them because I was still planting other parts of the garden. When Allan watered last night, they became …

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Alluring Spring Lilacs

Who can resist the fresh spring fragrance of a flowering lilac? For many gardeners, the lilac is an all-time favourite; the first spring blooms are awaited with great anticipation. By carefully selecting and planting more than one variety, you can have an abundance of fragrant lilacs in your home and garden, all summer long. Hardy, …

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Gifts That Keep Giving

Trees are gifts that truly keep on giving. They increase oxygen in the air, absorb carbons, recycle moisture into the atmosphere, filter harmful pollutants, prevent soil erosion and create shade and shelter in the landscape. A new tree is a wonderful addition to any garden. Start by selecting the right tree for the right location. …

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Sweet Blooming Spirea

Tough, easy to grow and durable are musical words to a Northern gardener’s ears. To add to the symphony, spirea is an adaptable plant that is relatively fast-growing and easy to maintain. In the many spring, summer and fall flowering varieties, spirea offers a multitude of hardy and beautiful choices. Spirea plants can be found …

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Successful Perennial Gardening, All-Summer-Long

Perennial gardening has long been a favoured pastime for Yukon gardeners. Now is the perfect time to take a good look at the perennials in your garden, decide which perennials to plant where, shuffle existing plants around your garden and fill in empty spaces with new favourite varieties. Perennial gardens can look stunning, from early …

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Your Summer Guide to Containers and Hanging Baskets

All gardeners love having beautiful containers and hangings baskets in their gardens. By carefully choosing varieties that are ideally suited for your garden, along with providing regular routine care and maintenance, you can enjoy having everlasting blooms all summer long. First, take a look at your gardens natural environment. It is important that you know …

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Positively ‘Peony’

Peonies are a beautiful, prolific flowering shrub that casts a spell, throughout the summer, with their incredible fragrance. Prized for their large, fragrant blooms and stellar foliage, peonies come in a wide range of colour, from white to yellow to coral, and from pink to purple to red, in a myriad of cultivars that will …

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The Joy of Weeding

Well it seems that summer is here. The heat that we have been getting has been a bonus for the garden. Everything is up, even the corn that I planted outside in containers. Usually in the Yukon, one of the main challenges is to keep enough heat on the plants and to prevent frost. Not …

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The Plant of the King’s Fragrance

Not everyone grows the standard tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers in the greenhouse … There are gardeners who love to grow exotic flowers, and orchids are one of many plants that fall into this category. Your greenhouse is an ideal place to grow orchids because of the special conditions of temperature, humidity and light that can …

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‘Rosy Choices’ for the Yukon

Loved the world over for their nostalgic beauty, roses have long been celebrated by artists, composers, florists and gardeners. Though many varieties of roses require extra care and attention, there are roses that are hardy enough for the Northern Yukon climate and actually require very little extra attention. Roses are an excellent choice as an …

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They’re Not Just Pretty (They taste great, too!)

One of the delights of owning a hobby greenhouse is that that there are many varieties of plants that can be grown in its warm, humid climate. Often we tend to think of growing mostly tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and that certainly was the case when we grew vegetables commercially. There are greenhouses that are dedicated …

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Pass the mint, please …

If you have just one little empty spot in your greenhouse, I would consider planting just one or two peppermint plants. Peppermint does grow outdoors, this is true, but it grows profusely in the greenhouse. I learned this by accident as for years I had planted peppermint outdoors and it did so-so. Mind you, our …

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To Market, To Market …

I usually plant more vegetables than I am going to personally use because I like to attend the farmers’ markets in Whitehorse. It started out that I was just bringing the surplus of the garden, but soon it became a reason to plant more. When I started to attend the market, it was being held …

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Growing Fresh Air’ with Houseplants

Many people enjoy indoor tropical plants because of their natural aesthetic appeal and comfort qualities. It is also believed that surrounding office workers with healthy plants helps to reduce stress. Beyond looking nice, plants also play an integral role in cleaning the environment. Considered the “lungs of the Earth”, plants produce life-sustaining oxygen and produce …

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Incredible Edible Herbs and Flowers

Fresh herbs and edible flowers are always in vogue in culinary kitchens. From the most-basic chef, to five-star hotels, herbs and edible flowers offer culinary delight that provides a finishing touch to summer cuisine. In pretty petals of golden-orange, tasty and colourful calendula officinalis offers a savory, buttery saffron flavour while a glass of bubbly …

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The Plant That Heals

From minor scrapes and sores, to bug bites and burns, the healing medicinal properties of the aloe vera plant have been known to cure a wide range of common ailments since biblical times. The thick, fleshy gelatinous gel, found within the stems of the aloe vera, offers a multitude of natural healing properties. The aloe …

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Plant a ‘Rainbow’

Gardeners love the burst of colour of daylilies. In a widely available choice of colour, size, texture and blooming period, this adaptable perennial is excellent for Northern gardeners. Daylilies look great in borders and mass plantings or as a focus in container gardens. They also reduce erosion in steep areas. With an infinite number of …

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Time to Reap What You Sow

I have a few heads of cabbage and broccoli amongst my flower beds, and I check their progress almost daily. One day, recently, I noticed the telltale signs of yellow on the broccoli florets and thought, Uh oh, better harvest these right now before they get over- mature. The next day, one of the cabbage …

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Give Peas a Chance!

This year we have been having record temperatures. With the heat, some plants start start to bolt to seed. My spinach has done this and the radishes were finished weeks ago. The lettuce is starting to make heads, which leads to seed production. One challenge in gardening is to prolong the time we can harvest …

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Save Those Seeds!

A few years ago I received a delightful gift consisting of an assortment of home-grown, home-dried tomato and pepper seeds. What a delightful gift, I thought, and with Christmas only around four months away, now is the time to try saving seeds from your own plants to share, give as gifts or keep for next …

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Growing Sweet Trees in the North

After a great deal of research, the University of Saskatchewan has developed cherry trees that are cold tolerant to -45. Ingrid Wilcox describes several of these varieties, the best known and most successful of which is the Evans Cherry Tree.

Unearthing Harvest Treasure

It’s fall. I know that no one wants it to be fall, but it is hard to deny. With every season, there are vegetables that are in decline and those that have just reached their prime. Root crops are usually biennials, which means they store up energy in their roots the first year, then flower …

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Herbal Flavour Well-Preserved

With harvest in full swing, I am often asked for suggested uses of herbs other than drying or freezing. To enjoy your herbal harvest year-round, I like to keep a selection of herbal vinegars on hand. To make herbal vinegar, gather herbs early in the day before the sun has a chance to bake the …

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Celebrate the Best of Fall with Ghoulish Fun

What could be more fun this fall than hosting a Halloween party to remember? Celebrate this holiday by gathering together family and friends for an evening filled with ghost-chilling tales, frightful food and good ol’ Halloween laughter. This Halloween, try making your own party invitations. Check out the smashing pumpkin or creepy skeleton invitations at …

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Celebrate the Season

Thanksgiving celebrates the best of qualities in a holiday: family, festivities and great food. This holiday season, take time to decorate your home using a little of nature’s own harvest bounty. There are many fun and simple ways to embellish your home using autumn’s rich and natural palette. Take a fresh look at your outdoor …

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A Gaggle of Geese

In the fall, wild geese migrate south. But domestic geese are bred for meat, so they are almost too heavy to lift off the ground and therefore can’t migrate. They do, however, still have similar instincts as wild geese, as far as gorging themselves before winter. This year we had eight geese on the farm …

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Surviving and Thriving in Winter

Northern gardeners understanding the concept of winter hardiness. “Will my perennial plants or bushes survive the winter?” is no easy task.

News from the Barnyard

With winter finally here, the farming workload seems to lighten. Winter is a time of rest and contemplation. It is also a time to recuperate from the busy summer season. Normally we just have laying hens in the barn, over the winter, so the chores take almost no time at all. But this year we …

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The Right Office Plant

Plants not only add life to dreary environments, they also filter harmful pollutants while adding oxygen to stale air. Studies also show that plants help to reduce stress levels in the workplace. Choosing plants that thrive in the office can be a challenge. Consider these few tips to choosing healthy plants for your office: First, …

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Wintering Your Tropical Houseplants

With outdoor conditions turning colder, and the hours of daylight decreasing, it can be a challenge to keep tropical houseplants looking lush, during the winter months. Try to maintain optimum light for your plants. Move sun-loving plants, such as palms and ficus varieties, close to a window. You can also increase light levels, in poorly …

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Enjoy the Seasonal Scent of Paperwhite Narcissus

One of my favourite fall projects is planting containers of paperwhite narcissus bulbs. Known for their exquisite beauty and incredible fragrance, popular paperwhites are especially loved as an indoor flowering plant during the winter months. What is most impressive about this traditional plant is the sweet-smelling scent that springs forth from the most delicate miniature …

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Mistletoe Made Merry!

Kissing underneath the mistletoe is among the most favourite of traditions celebrated during the holiday season. But where did this unique symbol of the season come from? The interesting telltale folklore of the mistletoe dates back well into the Victorian age. Mistletoe has as many customs and traditions from various cultures as the meaning of …

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The Signs Point to Spring

The pussy willows are out! Willows are one of the first plants to show any signs of life in the spring. Even with mounds of snow on their roots, they still seem to be able to sense that it is time to awaken for another season. With the warm temperatures that we have had recently, …

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Spring Forth Into Your Garden

Most gardeners await the spring season with the greatest of anticipation. We watch patiently for those first bulbs and perennials to spring forth into our gardens. As the last of the snow melts and the days become longer, we know that soon we will be out cultivating our gardens. On the first warm day of …

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The ‘Love Apple’ Needs Love

With the snow so deep, it seems impossible that spring will ever arrive. Gardeners, however, take things into their own hands and start seedlings in the sunniest window they can find. Onions, tomatoes, peppers and leeks are just some of the seedlings that are started as early as February. There is nothing quite like watching …

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Manure Tea and Mud

One of the main spring tasks is to clean out the barn. On our barn we have two four-foot doors at each end to help with the easy removal of the manure. With the doors wide open, the chickens take advantage of having no fence and go exploring. They usually don’t go too far as …

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Cool-Weather Container Combos

Like most gardeners, I await the first planting of my outdoor urns and containers with anxious anticipation. For early season plantscaping, I look for unique combinations of cool-weather flowers and foliages hardy enough to withstand the fluctuating spring temperatures. Preferably, I like to use perennial varieties which are enduring enough to spend the later part …

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Gardening is About Community

”Gardening is about community” is part of a phrase that caught my eye in an e-mail I received today. And I agree. I didn’t learn to garden without someone teaching me pruning methods for tomatoes or what a weed looked like in its early stages. My mother was a huge influence in my gardening and …

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Ready, Set, Sew your Seeds!

As the spring days become longer and the sun starts to shine, now is a perfect time to think about planting seeds for summer’s bounty. If you are a seed-saver and have seeds from previous years, avoid the disappointment and try a simple germination test. To test the seeds viability, take a piece of paper …

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Where the Chickens Roam

With the warmer weather we have been having, my thoughts turn to spring. I am wondering if this year I will be able to get into the garden earlier than last, or will I have to wait until June. Even without the warmer weather, my thoughts would probably still turn to spring. There is only …

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Fall’s Bittersweet Song

Fall is a bittersweet season. The mountainside is absolutely glorious with the sun shining off the golds and reds. The days are still warm enough to work outside comfortably. The later-season vegetables like broccoli and cabbage are at their prime. And root crops are still going strong. But summer is coming to an end and …

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Munch On a Bunch

Flowers in your garden are at their most prolific at this time of year and some of the flowers are not just pretty to look at … but are also good to eat. The colours and textures that flowers bring to your garden can be enjoyed at the table if you open your kitchen and …

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Invasive Plant Species Affecting The Yukon

The concern surrounding the rapid spread of invasive plant species is one that is felt across the country. Fortunately, most of the invasive plants causing serious harm in Canada will not survive in our northern climate. However, there are some destructive invasive plant species, right here in the Yukon, which deserve our attention. An invasive …

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Garden Design With Ornamental Grasses

In their natural form, grasses add excitement and curiosity to any garden setting. With the slightest breeze, senses illuminate with the swaying motion of the plants. Ornamental grasses have both strong form and texture which gardeners adore. The grass palette is a great, low-maintenance way to add visual interest to your garden’s landscape. In their …

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A Pre-Harvest Harvest

Whenever the beginning of August rolls around, I think more of harvesting the fruits of my gardening than the actual gardening. And harvesting has been the in progress for a couple of weeks already. The Swiss Chard has been cut and has re-grown twice now. I just trim the upper leaves leaving about 15 centimetres …

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Unleash the Ladybugs

Last week, I spotted a ladybug while visiting a garden in Dawson City. It was rather exciting to see a ladybug that far North and, not being a resident there, I asked whether sighting ladybugs is a frequent occurrence or rather something unusual. No one seemed to know, but it does seem to indicate that …

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Everything Has Its Season

The garden is just buzzing these days. I noticed a lot of bees while I was pulling up the radishes that had bolted. Even after the plants were on the wheelbarrow, bees were still harvesting the pollen. I couldn’t help but wonder what radish honey would taste like, but I guess it would also be …

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Easy Outdoor Summer Entertaining

There is something very special to be said for enjoying a summer evening of dining outdoors. Nature brings its own relaxing effect: the grass between your toes, outdoor landscape and beautiful sky. Relax and take pleasure in several easy make-ahead dinner menu ideas using garnishes found right in your own garden. For a summer twist, …

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Maintain Your Greenhouse Well

Understanding good greenhouse techniques encourages healthy plant growth and, as the growing season is well on its way, it would be a good time to reassess your plants’ performance to see if there are areas which can be tweaked for better results. Consistent care and monitoring the plants’ growth contributes to good cultural practices. If …

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Know Your Tomato

Did you know that banana peels and eggshells help to make your tomatoes grow? When buried in the bottom of a planter or spread around the roots of your tomato plants as you transplant them into the greenhouse, fresh banana peels act as slow-release fertilizer providing potassium and trace elements. The peels should be cut …

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Winterize Your Greenhouse

Getting your greenhouse ready for winter could be a matter of just closing the door and walking away, something to worry about next spring. But you will be much better prepared for the next gardening season if you spend a few minutes winterizing the greenhouse now. Removing all plant residues from the greenhouse is one …

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The Joy of Gardening

I have discovered that gardening is more than a past-time; it’s a way of life. For me, gardening is both therapeutic and inspirational. There is something that relaxes and rejuvenates the soul which stems from the planting, nurturing and harvesting process. I was fortunate to have discovered a love for gardening at a very young …

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Getting Ready for Fall Gardening

Now is the perfect time of year to finish up summer landscape projects, prepare garden beds for the winter as well as plan for next year’s garden. For a harvest of hues, choose a variety of plants for late-season colour. With a little planning you can have rich autumn colour, bright foliage along with attractive …

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The Tulip’s Rich History

Can you imagine selling your house, your car or your recreational cabin for a rare type of tulip? No? Neither can I. However, in around 1634, people in Holland did just that. Tulipmania had hit Europe, first in France between 1610 and 1620, then in Holland in 1634. Tulips came quite late to the Western …

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Dig the Taste

One of the best types of vegetables to grow in the Yukon are root crops. Most root crops can take late frosts in the spring, so they can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked. They also don’t require high amounts of heat units which aren’t plentiful up here anyways. I like …

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Next Year’s Garden Season Begins Now

Although this year’s gardening season is winding down, next year’s season is just beginning. I heard quite a few years ago, that someone was experimenting with planting crops such as carrots and beets in the fall with the expectation that they would be much further ahead in harvesting than spring-planted carrots. I was too busy …

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Taking Note of Good Peas

If you like peas, and many Yukon gardeners must for they can be found in most gardens, you’ve had lots of company throughout history. Dried peas found at an archeological site near Thailand have been carbon-dated to 9750 BC according to the Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development Information pamphlet regarding fresh produce. Eating fresh peas …

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Companion Planting in the Garden

Just like people, plants thrive when in the right company. Camaraderie in the garden is something one might not necessarily think of, however the benefits of putting plants together in the right relationship is quite notable and interesting. In companion gardening, varieties of herbs, vegetables and flowers work together in partnership to nurture and protect …

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Composting Nature’s Black Gold

Composting is a great way to involve the entire family in an environmentally friendly outdoor project. But what exactly is compost and how does it get from the kitchen to the ground? Compost is the organic material that remains after biodegradable substances have completely broken down into rich, dark humus. Gardeners refer to this rich …

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Get Your Greenhouse Ready

Hey, Yukon! It’s gardening time! Time to get that greenhouse ready! If your greenhouse has a supplementary heating system, chances are you’ve already begun planting, and your greenhouse is up and running. For those people whose greenhouses lack a heating unit, now is the time to prepare the greenhouse and get it ready for those …

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Designing with Climbing Vines

When it comes to adding visual interest in outdoor spaces, no landscape would be complete without a luxurious vine growing in the garden. There are a number of vines hardy for our climate which combine vigour and density to create a pleasing vertical backdrop to an outdoor landscape. Among the most popular flowering vine is …

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A passion for piglets

Last spring, we took both Kali and Sienna to visit Boris, the boar. So this fall we were waiting with bated breath for them to give birth. Sienna was first, and we learnt a lot from that situation – mostly what not to do. We had thought that in September it would be warm enough …

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Eat Your (Northern) Broccoli!

This past September, I was privileged to attend the seventh annual Circumpolar Agricultural Conference in Alta, Norway. Alta lies just below the 70°N latitude, which makes it a bit farther north than Old Crow. The Circumpolar Agricultural Association (CAA) was founded in 1995 in response to the ideas created at the first Circumpolar Agricultural Conference, …

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A Time to Be Thankful

Summer ended abruptly this year. When the first snowfall came, I was very thankful that all of our veggies had been harvested. Harvesting is backbreaking work at times, and having snow on the ground and a cold wind only makes it harder to do, especially with root crops. After the second snowfall a few days …

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Some Like It Cold

With the snow blowing around and the temperatures dropping, most people and animals prefer to be indoors. This isn’t the case for the geese and one of our pigs, Kali. The geese are in a yard attached to a small building and they have the option of going inside. In fact, their water is in …

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H2O 101

Now that we are almost at the end of June, I find my plants are growing very fast. I’ve already harvested the first of my Tumbler tomatoes at the end of May, as well as some of the chili peppers. Regarding peppers and cucumbers, I am harvesting the fruit on the smaller side thus giving …

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Perennial Planting for Northern Gardeners

Now is the perfect time of year to think about adding new perennials to your garden. First, take a look at your existing garden. Note the amount of sunlight, current soil conditions and exposure to wind. Most garden centres will categorize their perennials based on the amount of sunlight required (i.e. shade, semi-shade and well-lit …

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Hot Fun in the Summertime

Due to some travelling adventures in Latin and South America, I was introduced to chili peppers in the last 10 years or so. Approaching the use of chili peppers cautiously, I did acquire a taste for them, enjoying their legendary heat as they added a jolt of stimulating flavour to food. Peppers range from spicy …

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2010 Perennial Plant of the Year: Baptisia Australis

Each year, the Perennial Plant of the Year Committee selects a perennial plant which meets the following criteria: suitable for a wide range of climates, low maintenance, pest and disease resistant, readily available in the year of release, multiple season of ornamental interest and easily propagated by asexual or seed propagation. Selected for its outstanding …

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Creating Curb Appeal

When it comes to buying a home, the attraction of love at first sight is highly valued among potential new home owners. If you are selling your home, curb appeal will help attract potential buyers. Often, when purchasing a new home, buyers will decide whether or not to look further based on the home’s curb …

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Water and Warm Soil Keep Cukes Sweet and Refreshing for Summer

When I think of cucumbers, I think of the idiom “cool as a cucumber” , which may be based on the fact that even in hot weather, the insides of cucumbers remain cooler than the air. Cucumbers, the second most popular greenhouse crop after tomatoes, certainly do not like cool weather. In fact, they thrive …

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The Right Time, The Right Place

With the hot weather this past Victoria Day weekend, I planted all my vegetable seeds. But my vegetable transplants are still getting the deluxe care treatment, kept in a cold frame or the greenhouse until I’m sure the last of the frost is past. In some of the Yukon’s outlying areas, this could be as …

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Reap What You Sow … Now!

The sun is shining, the snow is melting off of the roof and it is starting to feel like spring. But we are still in the month of February and spring is a long way off. Still, there are things that can be gardened indoors even in February. Tomatoes, peppers, onions and leeks all need …

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Ode to Beets

Most vegetables have their share of pests and problems. If it’s too wet, mildew will attack peas or tomatoes. An early fall frost can kill many of the garden vegetables commonly grown up here, such as lettuce and potatoes. Radishes, cabbages and others of that family have a beetle (I don’t know the name of …

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Volunteers and Other Visitors

Volunteering is something that a lot of people do to give back to their community. Sometimes it is more than that. Some volunteers go a very long way to help out others. We have had people volunteer to help out on the farm. Some were travelling around the country and took part in a program …

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Mother Goose

They say birds of a feather flock together. When you visit our barnyard, you will see that the chickens don’t like to spend much time with the geese. In fact, most things give the geese a wide berth. Even our dog, Schwartz. The geese tend to patrol the barnyard in a very stately manner, hissing …

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Will It Germinate?

Children, when learning to garden, show this quite plainly when they dig up a seed to see if it is doing anything. Sometimes this actually slows things down. And even though a seasoned gardener may have faith that everything will come up, they too sometimes have the urge to dig into a planted row and …

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Making a Mark(et)

From swiss chard to arctic charr, from jelly to jewelry – all this and more is on offer at the Fireweed Community Market at Shipyards Park. The market, which runs from 3-8 pm every Thursday from mid-May to mid-September, first set up shop in its present location in 2005. “In the late ’90s, I visited …

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Peas Aplenty

I decided to go with the larger package. It is a variety that has done very well in the past. It was almost funny, when I opened the parcel with my seeds. I know I ordered a large pack but I really hadn’t visualized what that would look like. A packet of pea seeds bought …

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Schwartz on the Job

One of my pet peeves is dogs (no pun intended). More specifically, other people’s dogs that come onto the farm. One reason dogs were domesticated was that they were territorial and would protect their territory and their pack. Farm dogs are here for security of the pack, which includes humans and farm animals. Our dog, …

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Better Late Than Never

Spring! There is just something about it that gets the blood moving. It could be the excitement of new life pushing its way up from the cold, rocky ground the way crocuses do. Or the ability to go off the beaten path to explore. Not having to wade through knee deep snow does make a …

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Multi-tasking Time

Springtime on the farm is one of the busiest times of the year. Harvest is busy, too. You’re racing the frosts and fall rains to get everything in without losing anything. And everything harvested needs to be processed in some way, so that the harvest is stored for the winter. Harvests on our farm seem …

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New Life, New Challenges

Well, spring has sprung. I am seeing the evidence of this everywhere. Trees and bushes are starting to bud, grass is coming up and crocuses are in full bloom. The geese are back and heading further north. The barn is getting cleaned out and the garden is drying off, although it isn’t quite dry enough …

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Changing Accommodations

Every spring, we start preparing for chicks. This usually means a rearrangement of how animals are housed. In the fall we usually move everything into one building or at least to a central area. This makes chores a bit easier, as we aren’t slogging through knee high snow, or fighting the north wind to feed …

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Living Self-sufficiently

There’s more to farming than feeding animals and planting seeds.” This is a quote from my husband, Al. When he said this a few weeks back we were talking about the firewood he had just finished bringing home. He’s right, too. The typical farmer tends to be a “Jack of all trades, master of none.” …

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Talking Turkey

While I grew up on a farm, it wasn’t until after I started farming as an adult that I realized how many phrases in our everyday language have their roots in farming. Money management can be a harrowing experience, but we are told by investment companies not to put all our eggs in one basket. …

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Flipping the Calendar

In mid-July, I dream of January. For most people it’s the other way around. Cold temperatures have never really bothered me and, after a very busy summer, a time of respite is very welcome. But I am still farming … in a way. I pore over seed catalogues to select the varieties we want for …

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Leading by Example

Twenty five years ago Lucy and Jack Vogt left Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and came north looking for work. They found it in Dawson City. Every year, during the short growing season, the Vogts make the Saturday drive into Dawson to sell their vegetables and bedding plants at the Dawson City Farmers Market. It is hard …

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Christmas on the Farm

Dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh, o’er the fields we go, laughing all the way, ha, ha ha. Bells on bobtail ring making spirits bright, what fun it is to ride and sing a sleighing song tonight….” This is a common Christmas song heard at this time of year. And while most …

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Cool Veggies

Most people associate fresh vegetables with summer, especially in the Yukon. So when my cousin came for a visit near the end of October, she wasn’t expecting anything to be growing in my garden. She is from southern Manitoba, where seasons are longer than ours and she hadn’t heard of harvesting in October. When she …

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Hands-On Harvest Celebration

The Celebration of the Harvest takes place at Shipyards Park again this year on Thursday, this time with a special visit from mythologies past. Demeter – the harvest goddess from Greek myths who also goes by the name Ceres in Roman legends – will be at the festival, talking about the triumphs and stories of …

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A Little Horse Sense

Afew people have asked about horses, and with the white fluffy stuff sticking to the ground in the last week or so, maybe this is a good time to take a look at these guys. I’ve worked with horses for almost 40 years, but always from the ground. Last time I got on a horse, …

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Facing the Frost Threat

One of the most beautiful seasons in the Yukon is autumn. But with that beauty comes the threat of frost. In fact, frost is probably the cause of the beauty. Frost is also one of the main challenges a gardener in the north has to deal with. Living this far north we don’t have to …

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Like a Moving Meditation

There’s a saying Fay Branigan thinks everyone should know: “Feed your body, nourish your brain and soothe your soul through gardening.” For the past two years, Branigan has been the owner of what’s officially called Cliffside Country Store and Greenhouse, but is better known as Cliffside Gardens. Branigan grew up on a farm in northern …

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Larry and a lake trout

Ice-out Lake Trout

The three most targeted fish species in the Yukon are lake trout, Arctic grayling and pike, and are sought after in that order.

The Juggling Act

Sometimes farming takes on aspects of a circus act more than anything. In early spring, you throw one ball up in the air and order some chicks. Then another ball follows when you order a few piglets or goslings or both. With only two or three balls in the air, it seems quite reasonable to …

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Considering Food Security

Well, it’s harvest time again. Whether you’re a gardener, hunter, berry picker or farmer, the freezer starts to fill up for us all. Not so long ago everyone did some sort of fall harvest and food preservation. Large chains of supermarket type stores have almost done away with this sort of practice. It is possible …

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Ordering a Garden

January is seed ordering month for me. It usually involves sitting down with two or three of my favourite seed catalogues, my garden journal and a cup of hot beverage in front of the fire. First I plot out what should go where in the coming spring. I try to rotate crops every year. This …

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Moving Sienna

With the wind blowing and the temperature almost at zero as I write, it doesn’t seem like a typical Yukon winter at all. But I am thankful that it is warm – not because I find the cold too hard to bear, but because Sienna has to acclimatise herself to the winter again. And that …

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Changing Quarters

I always enjoy watching the interplay of one species with another. So when Allan decided it was time for the piglets to start using an outside pen along with their inside one I wondered what the eventual outcome would be—because the pen they would have access to was the one the geese were in for …

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Bloom to Bloom

On July 30 and 31, Dawson City will be visited by two judges, scrutinizing the town in the Communities in Bloom (CiB) program, and ranking it against other Canadian communities. This is the fourth year Dawson is running in the program. In a “five bloom” scoring system, Dawson has earned five blooms in three out …

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Google Gardeners

I made my first real gardening faux pas this week. I cut down the rhubarb. All of it. Sawing through the base of the stalks with a kitchen knife, the adrenaline rush was intense as the stalks fell, one by one, their huge leaves making satisfying crashes. I got really into it, hacking the leaves …

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Feeding Your Micro-herd

Hi! This is your micro-herd talking. You didn’t think you were keeping livestock, and we can understand that. We are really really small. But signs of our work are everywhere. We are the bacteria and fungi in your soil. You know those plant roots that gradually disappear? That’s our handiwork, and we have news: your …

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Mush Rush 101

The mossy floor of old growth forest is soft and damp. I breathe the air; warm and thick. My exhalation of carbon dioxide draws mosquitoes to descend on me like a plague, biting through my jeans to my flesh. “There!” my striped-touque, flannel-plaid-clad guide, Jeffery Mickelson, says from behind me. I retrace my steps and …

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Flowers, the Language of Love

The language of flowers, often referred to as floriography, was commonly used as a form of communication in the Victorian era. 

Echinacea: The Mystical Cure-All Plant

Among the most striking of all North American native wildflowers, echinacea, or more commonly called coneflowers, once spread across thousands of kilometres. Appreciated in gardens and nature for thousands of years, their daisy-like flowers provided early settlers one of their most important medicinal plants. For centuries, people have been using echinacea to treat a host …

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To Breed or Not to Breed

I have been asked a couple times lately for my opinion on the breeding suitability of certain mares. I’m no expert, but I thought I would offer up some thoughts on the subject. Now I know how easy it is to simply say, “I love my mare. And having a baby around will be so …

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All About Roses

You might think that the Northern climate is too cold to grow beautiful, flowering roses. Think again. If your garden has an sunny location, with good air circulation, chances are you have an ideal place to grow roses. From the hardiest hansa rugosa rose, to the richly fragrant white blanc double de coubert, to the …

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Get Those Seeds Planted

Now is the time to start seeding your vegetable plants for the outdoor garden. Vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli benefit from early seeding as this extends your growing season. By seeding four weeks before planting outdoors, your plants will have a good start on the growing season and you can look forward to …

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The Chicks Will Love You

Spring means chick season. It’s the time of year for ordering and receiving baby chicks here in the Yukon. In fact, I will have already received my first batch by the time this paper is released. In our sometimes unpredictable spring weather, it is very important to be properly prepared for the arrival of these …

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Young People Nice to Have Around

The Generation Ys are competent and motivated employees, who offer a wide range of skills, talent, life experience, academic knowledge and work potential. These younger professionals who, unlike their Generation X descendants haven’t reached 30 yet, bring a new energy, drive and a “why not” attitude to the workplace. Plus this new generation of tech …

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This Waiter Wears Mitts and Headlamp

Mitts? Check. Headlamp? Check. Everything else? Check. I step outside. The temperature isn’t too cold, warmer than previous years but not outrageously so. I can see the stars twinkling overhead. Despite the fact that the sun is now completely set, I can still see reasonably well with the starlight reflecting off the snow – and …

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Starting Spring Seedlings

Herbs, vegetables, annuals, perennials and wildflowers can all be grown from seed. By using a combination of the right seed, good quality soil and a little tender loving care, you will have abundant blossoms ready to transplant, into your garden, after the first full moon in June. A great family project, starting plants from seeds …

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A Cherished Symbol of Easter

As the traditional flower of Easter, the lily longiflorum is highly regarded as a joyful symbol of beauty, hope and life. Two of the greatest charms of the lilium longiflorum, or Easter lily, are natural form and fragrance of this well-loved spring plant. Here are some tips for choosing healthy plants that will last throughout …

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