The Harrowsmith Northern Gardener


210 pages
Contains Illustrations, Index
ISBN 0-920656-22-6




Reviewed by Ann Tudor

Ann Tudor was the former Managing Editor of Canadian Book Review Annual and had her own Toronto-based crafts company, Honest Threads.


After four years as gardening editor of Harrowsmith magazine, Jennifer Bennett has consolidated her knowledge and experience to create the book for northern gardeners. The ten chapters cover planning (“Strategies & Speculations”), soil (“Digging & Delving”), when to plant (“A Movable Spring”), a list of the culture, harvest, and problems of the most common northern vegetables (“Alphabetical Vegetables”), general problems of tending the plants (“As You Reap So Shall You Sow”), herbs (“A Northern Bouquet Garni”), container planting (“Of Balconies, Bins & Boxes”), the end of the season (“Harvest Days, Frosty Nights”), and “The Regional Gardener,” which includes a short annotated bibliography for each of five Canadian regions. The book concludes with mail-order sources (for seeds, plants, and garden supplies), a glossary, and a detailed index.

Harrowsmith Northern Gardener is filled with infon-mation. Charts are used to simplify quick reference checks on such topics as notation of plant families (p. 38), space efficiency (pp. 23-24), vegetable yields (pp. 25-26), the best plants for container growing (pp. 150-53), and even pollination of vegetable crops (pp. 122-23), among others. The numerous photographs (most in colour) and line drawings contribute additional information.

The book’s value, however, lies in its text. Bennett obviously knows her onions, and she writes about them (and about everything else) very clearly. Although her own level of expertise is high, she gives the feeling that she remembers very well the problems encountered by the beginning gardener. The book can be read from cover to cover, it can be read piecemeal, or it can be used as an excellent reference source for the northern gardener.


Bennett, Jennifer, “The Harrowsmith Northern Gardener,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 13, 2024,