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Oct 12, 2020

This episode is about hens and hops. First up, we head out to Port Hope and learn raising urban chickens, not just for the eggs, but for the companionship. 

Next, Ben Cullen, the youngest generation of the Cullen garden dynasty, tells us about hops as an ornamental. They’re not just for IPAs any more.

Signe Langford on Raising Chickens

Signe Langford is a cook, a book author, a gardener and a lover of all things chicken. She grew up with hens and then, years later, rediscovered their wonders as an urban chicken activist in Toronto, bylaws be damned. These days she has four hens, she calls them her girls, in Port Hope, Ontario, another community not so keen on the practise. But Langford is devoted to her girls, not just for the eggs, but for their beauty, personalities and friendship. 

Happy Hens and Fresh Eggs book cover

Ben Cullen on Hops as a Hedge

Ben Cullen and his father Mark wrote about hops as an ornamental in the 2020 edition of the Harrowsmith Almanac. So, I wanted to catch up with Ben to get the lowdown on how a key ingredient in beer can also be an important part of a beautiful garden. 

End Notes
Want more Harrowsmith? No problem. Visit our website. And, you can read Vanessa's story on ticks in the Spring 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,