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Mar 1, 2019

The Rundown
This episode of Harrowsmith Radio is about hydroponics, subtropical fruit in Canada and the stars in the winter sky. We begin on the opposite coast from last episode. Last time we visited a salt maker in Bonavista, Newfoundland. This time we travel to Salt Spring Island off the coast of British Columbia. There we find Jane Squier, who’s nurturing a citrus grove under glass (well, poly, really). Next we look up, way up, and ask Harrowsmith’s resident astronomer, Rob Dick why it is that the night sky in winter looks so clear? 

Jane Squier
Jane Squier has learned that when life hands you a greenhouse you make lemons, and limes and lettuce and basil and, well, all manner of hydroponic produce. Jane started hydroponic gardening in Calgary, back when hydroponics was just a wacky idea and an article in Harrowsmith, she used for inspiration to build a thriving greens business based on the Nutrient Film Technique (NFT for short). These days Jane has a 6,000 square foot green house on Salt Spring Island. 

She’s just wrapped up her career as a purveyor of butter lettuce and basil and is using her ingenuity, some backyard swimming pools, a solar-powered anaerobic digester and a Inspector Gadget coat full of gizmos to grow 30 varieties of citrus, avocados, pineapple guava and more. You can learn more about Jane and her garden of earthy delights here.

Rob Dick
Rob is one of Canada’s foremost writers and educators on astronomical topics. He's also passionate about reducing light pollution and promoting science literacy. He explains why the stars, planets and other celestial objects in the winter night seem so bright and clear.

You can learn more about Rob here.

End Notes
Want more Harrowsmith? No problem. Visit our website. And, you can read stories by Jane and Rob in the Winter issue of Harrowsmith Magazine. It's on selected newsstands across Canada or you can order subscriptions online at


By the way, the music in the podcast? It's by good ol' Canadian singer, composer and friend of the 'cast,  David Archibald. You can find more of his music at his website,