Events 2014

Richters 2014 Seminars

Many are available online. Check the links to the recorded presentations below.

Watch our 2013 presentations here!


With Steven Biggs, Food & Garden Writer

If Steven Biggs could grow only one flower, he would choose Brugmansia, a wondrously fragrant, exotic-looking tropical plant with trumpet-shaped flowers often as long as a wine bottle. It’s extravagant, it’s voluptuous, it’s flamboyant—and this tropical beauty never fails to elicit cooing from visitors. Also known as Angel’s Trumpet, it’s equally at home as a garden centrepiece, container-bound patio sentry, or in the flower border. In this talk, learn how to grow and overwinter tropical Brugmansia (and its cousin the Datura) in our temperate climate. Steven Biggs is an award-winning food & garden writer who spoke at Richters last year on his passion for growing figs. View the Recorded Presentation


With Tom Stem, DynamicGreens, Stouffville

Many people, including cancer survivors, are relying on wheatgrass juice to jolt the body back to health. Fresh wheatgrass juice is packed with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids and antioxidants. Tom Stem grows and produces wheatgrass juice on his family farm, located close to Richters, and ships his DynamicGreens frozen juice products to customers throughout North America. As an avid advocate for wheatgrass, and an everyday user himself, Tom will discuss why wheatgrass is such an amazing natural product and why you and your family should consider taking it for better health. View the Recorded Presentation


With Jeff Mason, Mason House Gardens, Uxbridge

Tired of being a watering slave to your garden? Had enough of fighting the garden hose? Jeff Mason, an advocate of low water gardening or ‘xeriscaping’, shows how to make your garden a water saving paradise. You will learn which plants to grow, how to prepare your soil, and how to protect your plants successfully over winter. Many popular herbs are actually pretty good drought tolerant plants and will fit right in to this style of garden! Jeff, along with his mother Majorie Mason, is owner of Mason House Gardens, an independent garden centre specializing in perennials and xeriscaping plants. View the Recorded Presentation


With Steven Biggs, Food & Garden Writer

If your veggie gardening space is limited, why grow the green beans you can easily buy. Instead, paint the supper table with a surprising array of coloured veg including red okra, purple beans, yellow carrots, rainbow chard, and golden beets. Then add an exotic touch with intercultural crops such as bitter melon or Malabar spinach, treats that are hard to find at the supermarket. If you grow veg or want to grow veg, but want to be a bit different, this talk is for you. Steven Biggs is an award-winning food & garden writer who spoke at Richters last year on his passion for growing figs. View the Recorded Presentation


With Johanne Daoust, Design Educator and Urban Gardener

Johanne Daoust micro farms a roof-top vegetable garden in downtown Toronto, a garden which has been described as a “first-class example of both urban food productivity and creative applied research.” An advocate for growing food safely in an urban setting she uses a ‘square foot, raised bed method’ of growing, along with sub-irrigated planter technology to grow her food plants. Sub-irrigated planter technology is like providing “a scuba tank for plants” because it creates an optimal growing environment by delivering water, oxygen and organic fertilizer directly to the roots of a growing plant in a water-tight planter. The system saves water, nutrients and time, and on Johanne’s Flickr page you can see how it produces spectacularly beautiful food. View the Recorded Presentation (Download the Sub-Irrigated Planter Handout) (Download the Edible Roof Planting Depths Handout)


With Kyla Dixon Muir, Riverdale Meadow Community Garden

Kyla Dixon-Muir can be found in the garden almost every week of the year, even in winter. She uses a system of ‘season extension techniques’ to add as many as two months in spring and another 2-3 months in fall and winter to her growing season. Her system of coldframes and raised beds does not cost a lot of money, and Kyla will show you how her system can work with low-cost or no-cost coldframes, many of which do not require construction skills. She developed her system while at the Riverdale Meadow Community Garden in Toronto where she has grown her own organic food for years. Per speaker’s request, this presentation was not recorded.


With Travis Philp, Greenshire Eco Farms, Lindsay

From fungal blight to raccoons in the night; there’s an organic solution to every gardening problem. Growing food without synthetic chemicals can be difficult but it is not impossible as some conventional farmers may have you believe. For thousands of years farmers and gardeners have managed to keep it natural, and given the health and environmental risks associated with chemical farming it’s high time we returned to a safer way of growing our food. Travis, a trained environmental and eco management technician, is a resident of Greenshire Eco Farms where he manages the permaculture garden beds and looks after crop planting, maintenance, harvest and the weekly filling of food boxes. View the Recorded Presentation


With Katalin Brown, Certified GAPS Practitioner and Pediatric Dental Hygienist

Lacto-fermentation is the art and science of crafting cultured foods, such as kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchi. Our ancestors knew the value of fermented foods, but with the advent of pasteurization and refrigeration the popularity of fermented foods has fallen away. But lacto-fermentation is making a big comeback. Fermented foods are loaded with live bacteria and enzymes that boost the immune system and promote intestinal wellness. Acetylcholine, a product of fermentation, helps to stimulate peristalsis (the movement of food through the intestine), improves blood circulation, prevents constipation, and helps crank up gastric juices when they are insufficient and down-regulates them when there is too much. For people coping with diabetes, fermented foods make no demands on the pancreas because sugars are already broken down. Katalin Brown, a certified GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) practitioner and a lifelong lover of cultured foods, demonstrates the art of fermentation using the open vessel and closed jar methods to make sauerkraut and a vegetable medley. For more information about Gut and Psychology Syndrome and the benefits of fermented foods, visit Katalin’s GAPS Ontario website. View the Recorded Presentation. An added bonus, here is Katalin’s favourite lacto-fermented vegetable medley recipe!


With Nicholas Schaut, Hop Farmer and President of the Ontario Hop Growers Association

Nicholas is owner and operator of Bighead Hops, a certified organic farm that grows hops commercially for Ontario craft breweries such as Muskoka Brewery, Great Lakes Brewery, Trois Brassuers, MacLean Ales, and Northwinds Brewing. As a founding member and President of the Ontario Hop Growers’ Association, he works with the community of hops growers to develop, support, and research, technical innovations for small scale growing, and helps to market locally grown hops. Nicholas also brews and enjoys the odd beer. View the Recorded Presentation

Herb Day May 4, 2014 In Praise of Artemisia
This year we celebrated Herb Day with an afternoon of seminars in praise of Artemisia, the Herb of the Year for 2014.


With Koidu Sulev, Richters Herbs

The artemisias are a diverse group of herbs. They include the ever popular tarragon, the French favourite for sauces, vinaigrette, and fines herbes, and the lesser known mugwort used to flavour rich meats and poultry. Other artemisias are used to flavour venerable liqueurs such as Absinthe, Vermouth, Genepi, Chartreuse and others. Indeed, the classic Martini cannot be made without the flavour of wormwood in Vermouth. And in the landscape, the artemisias reign supreme wherever a silver or grey is needed to create a beautiful, serene effect. Artemisias are also known to be very hardy and drought tolerant, and they adapt well to challenging garden situations. Koidu Sulev, a long time representative of Richters, shows how the artemisias can be a part of your garden, for food, medicine and good looks. View the Recorded Presentation (Download the Artemisia Handout)


With Carmen Lynde, CHT, RH, Vervain Inc.

Most of the artemisias are medicinal. They have been used for thousands of years by herbalists from East Asia and Siberia to Europe and North America. The Greek physicians more than 2,500 years ago noted their useful bitter qualities and how the artemisias can be important for good health. Bitter herbs like artemisia kick-start the digestive system, stimulate the liver, and boost the immune system. Carmen Lynde, a practicing medical herbalist with a full-time herbal clinic in Toronto, will explain why we may need to be taking bitter artemisias like wormwood, santonica and mugwort, as our lives become more sedentary and our body’s systems become sluggish. Besides running a busy practice, Carmen is creator of Vervain, an organic plant-based skincare line made by hand in small batches. She also serves as Richters online medical herbs expert. View the Recorded Presentation

For more information on this year’s Herb of the Year, check out our feature article Praising the Artemisias.
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