This is a curated group of posts and articles that I have shared over the past week with the listener community and in the Free Facebook Group: the Still Growing Podcast Group.
The Garden News Roundup is made up of a dozen different segments - from updates on past guests to articles featuring fascinating folks in the world of horticulture I'd love to chat with (and that's something that I call the dream guest segment.) I also cover news and information on special topic areas like sustainability and science.
The Garden News Roundup segments are designed to honor the commitment of the show: to helping you and your garden grow. The full list of segments includes:
- Guest Update
- Continuing Ed
- How to / DIY
- Plant Spotlight
- In the News
- Dream Guest
What's nice about covering these segments in the weekly Podcast is that you can stay pretty informed of the latest news in horticulture and gardening just by listening to this part of the show each week. Furthermore, you can easily check out these curated articles and posts for yourself because I share all of it with the listener community in the FREE Facebook Group: The Still Growing Podcast Group.
All right let's kick things off with the Guest Update Segment. Past Guest Jen McGuinness (SG539 SG538 SG534) over at the blog Frau Zinnie (http://frauzinnie.blogspot.com) shared The Gardener's August Calendar and her august garden chores. That's always a wonderful source for information and inspiration for things to do in the garden. I love reading that.
And then past guest Laurie Neverman (SG541) of the blog Common Sense Homesteading (http://commonsensehome.com) shared an amazing post. This was truly amazing. She shared a before and after of her homestead called Our Homestead – Then and Now – How Things Have Changed and it's quite stunning what they've been able to achieve in the years that they've been on this property. So the pictures compare and contrast different aspects of this property over the past 13 years. The original pictures are from 2004 and they're contrasted with the pictures from 2017. It’s always so fun to look at because these types of retrospective pictures on our gardens and our properties. Year over year, we can feel like we're not making much progress. But, the years add up. It's always fun to look back and realize just how much you've gotten done. That was fun to see!
In Sustainability, there was a great post in the The Dallas Morning News (www.dallasnews.com) and the headline was Weed control doesn't have to be toxic . They bring up things like corn gluten meal as a natural weed and feed fertilizer. Organic contact killers that you can use include:
“Vinegar, essential oils, hydrogen peroxide, cinnamon and fatty acids. There are several fatty acid and plant oil products on the market including BioSafe, BurnOut, EcoSMART, Monterey Herbicidal, Scythe and Racer.”
When I read about that BioSafe it made me think of a post that a listener recently shared in our group. He wrote this:
“Cleaning isle from weeds scientific way. In our garden association, cleaning isles between plots is an all-summer exercise. This year I tried the "Weed Control" product from the BioSafe company: http://www.biosafe.net/product/biosafe-weed-control.”
He learned about BioSafe listening to the podcast of Paul Parent. It's an organic herbicide safe for humans and pets – and does not go into the soil. It kills all the green objects and then he shared pictures of his results. It was great to look at those pictures and see the results of using BioSafe on his paths.
Listener John Silverio brought up a post I shared a while back called Tic Tac Seed Storage and it was this great idea to store your seeds in empty Tic-Tac boxes. If you have leftover seeds from your garden Tic-Tac boxes are a great way to store them. So, I added that back into the Sustainability Segment this week as well.
In the Continuing Ed segment, The Herbal Academy (theherbalacademy.com) shared a great post called Who Else Wants To Learn About Spanish Moss?. And then their article correctly starts out,
“For starters, Spanish moss is neither Spanish in origin, nor is it moss! Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) is actually an epiphyte, an “air plant” that grows hanging from tree branches, gathering its nutrients and water from the air.”
This was a great post - if you want to learn more about Spanish moss.
How to / DIY
In the How to / DIY Segment, Organic Gardner Australia (www.organicgardener.com.au) shared a good article - a very good article - titled Sprout your own seeds and then using the sprouts as super foods. And here's what they wrote.
"Sprouts are the powerhouse of super foods. They’re also easy to grow. We show you how.
Organic sprouting seed is available from seed suppliers or health food shops. Try sprouting alfalfa, broccoli, chickpea, fenugreek, kale, lentil, mung beans, mustards, quinoa and sunflower. You can grow sprouts in a large glass jar, colander, hemp sprout bags, sprouting jar or dome sprouters.”
Then it goes on to talk about the jar method. This was a very good article for the How to / DIY Segment this week.
Then also in the How to / DIY Segment, succulent expert Deborah Lee Baldwin shared a great video on “How to Create a Mounded Succulent Arrangement” and here’s the link: Succulents, Shells and Summer. I especially loved this because she's incorporating the use of shells. This video is actually a potting demo that she did at Roger’s Gardens. It’s an excellent DIY video to watch.
There were a number of plants in the Plant Spotlight this week.
First up is Allium Ambassador. This was the post that was shared by Phoenix Perennials and they wrote:
“COMING THIS FALL! Allium 'Ambassador' has fantastic six inch spheres on tall stems that bloom between 'Globemaster' (May) and A. giganteum (June/July)”
So, Allium Ambassador allows you to keep that bloom going all season long.
Then the blog Veg Plotting (http://vegplotting.blogspot.com) shared some great ideas for pollinator plants in a post called Plants for butterflies. They included:
- "Perennial cornflower, Centaurea montana
- Globe thistle, Echinops ritro
- Perennial wallflower, Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve'
- Phlox paniculata (they seem to prefer the white over the pink flowers)
- Ice plant, Sedum spectabile (NB now renamed as Hylotelephium spectabile)
- Verbena bonariensis"
It's a great list.
In the News
In the News this week, The Outlaw Gardener (outlawgarden.blogspot.com) shared a great post called Pot Addiction and A Look Around the Greenhouse. If you love containers, you’re not alone. Lots of listeners wrote in and said they have this very issue.
Beth Engle said her garage is filled with pots not in use, “and I've got to make room for those that have to come back in”.
Then I wrote her back and said,
“Me too - and they're just too awesome to let go of. I have many repurposed around the house as well. Small pots hold eyeglasses cheater's for me, pens and pencils, ear buds for the kids ,wall chargers for all their devices, cables, Chapstick, etc. Then I told her the kids won't know how else to organize or corral things without containers.”
So that was a fun look at container addiction.
In the News here locally, was a great story about Why Japanese beetles are particularly bad this year. Entomologists at the University of Minnesota agree that these destructive pests are absolutely thriving right now - especially in Minnesota - and the cold wet springs that we have usually kill them. Unfortunately, this year we had a very warm spring – and as long as it's above 50 degrees, Japanese Beetles can be active and feed on roofs.
In the Dream Guest Segment this week is bartender Brendan Ambrose of the restaurant Firefly. This was an article called Rooftop to Glass at Firefly that was featured in Washington Gardener Magazine (http://washingtongardener.blogspot.com) written by Ana Hurler.
Bartender Brendan Ambrose said “Forget farm to table. I'm growing your drinks rooftop to glass.”
Brendan started working at Firefly about a year and a half ago. His signature drinks combine his rooftop harvest with 24 years of bartending experience and the result is something that is, “both classic and fresh”.
Brendan makes cocktails such as the Transformation Cubed. A gimlet with a house-made basil-lime cordial poured over an Aviation sphere, and the Aw Snap! It's a gimlet with house-made basil-lime cordial poured over an Aviation sphere and then he's got a fun drink called the Aw Snap!. It's got Plymouth Gin, Cointreau, sugar snap pea and tarragon cordial, and rosemary-lemon thyme syrup in a Genepy Des Alpes misted glass.
If you're interested in checking out Firefly, it’s adjacent to the Kimpton Hotel Madera in the Dupont Circle neighborhood and Brendan kind of took on this whole rooftop garden challenge all by himself. He said:
“I had just started as a bartender and in passing one day I heard someone say, 'You know it’s a shame what happened to the rooftop boxes’ … So in hearing this, I ran up to the rooftop and it was literally just four 6-by-6 foot boxes that were just over-weeded and a mess. I didn’t even think they were growing anything. I would come in everyday about a half-hour or hour early an do as much as I could. Now, a year and a half later, we are really starting to see the fruits of our labor.
Herbs are the garden’s main focus, but Ambrose hopes Chef Jammir Gray will be able to incorporate more produce in future dishes as the garden continues to grow.”
This was a very inspiring story and that's why bartender Brendan Ambrose is in the Dream Guest Segment this week.
In Science this week, was an article that was called The other milkweed caterpillar: Milkweed tussock moth, Euchaetes egle How to identify different types of bees . I wrote this to the listener community when I shared it,
“Heads up Monarch Nation. If you planted milkweed, you're probably also seeing Tussock Moth – not just monarch caterpillars on your plant.”
In fact, you could be seen quite a few of these little guys and they look like they're ready for Halloween because they're mostly black and orange, with a little bit of white - and very furry looking.”
Listener Beth Engle reminded,
“Don't touch them. I can't believe they didn't mention this in the article because people can have reactions to their hairs. From Wikipedia, “Many tussock moth caterpillars have urticating hairs (often hidden among longer, softer hairs), which can cause painful reactions if they come into contact with skin."
So, another reason to be very careful about the caterpillars that you're picking up in the garden. Also, a good reminder to check your milkweed - because of your milkweed’s getting devoured, you just might have a Tussock Moth Caterpillar infestation. So make sure to check your milkweed!
Also in Science, Mother Nature Network (www.mnn.com) shared a great article that was called How to identify different types of bees. Now, what was fantastic about this article, is that they included these amazing photographs of bees close up so that you could distinguish between all the types of bees. Everything from honeybees and bumblebees, to carpenter bees, Mason bees, blueberry bees, squash bees, and so on. Listeners really appreciated the detail in this article.
Then finally in Science this week, there was a great post in the Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/). I thought this was very fascinating. And the title of it is called “Roses are red violets are blue. Now, thanks to science chrysanthemums are too! Scientists create the world's first BLUE chrysanthemum.”
This post was shared at the end of July and it's taken scientists thirteen years of research to create the blue chrysanthemum. They used DNA from a butterfly pea and Canterbury bell and transferred it to a plant bug and then the microscopic bug carried the blue genes into a chrysanthemum. Now that's crazy.
And then when the seeds were taken from the plant, a year after the process began, the chrysanthemums grew and they emerged with blue petals.
And then, I bet all the scientists did a dance… and then went out for drinks.
The chrysanthemums are gorgeous and it's been verified as true blue by the Royal Horticultural Society.
In Shopping this week, there was an article that I stumbled on called, Nurturing a Rare and Gourmet Strawberry Plant, and this article was all about the Marshall Strawberry.
This article caught my attention because right in the beginning it talked about the Chicago Botanic Garden and lead horticulturist for the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden, Lisa Hilgenberg (SG549). Lisa was featured on the show back in episode 549.
The subtitle for this particular blog post was, “How did the Chicago Botanic Garden end up sharing one of the most sought-after strawberry plants in the world with a three-star Michelin restaurant?”, and it all begins with information about the Marshall Strawberry.
The Marshall Strawberry has a very interesting history. In the early 1900s, it was a widely grown strawberry. In fact,
“James Beard, the legendary cook and television personality, once said he thought the Marshall was “the finest eating strawberry in America.” But by the 1950s, the Marshall had largely been replaced by other cultivars because, due to disease and its short shelf life, it became an expensive strawberry to produce. By 2007, the USDA National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Corvallis, Oregon, was one of the few places to even have Marshall Strawberry plants. Now, a handful of private growers are trying to bring it back to prominence.”
This is where an artist from Maine comes into the story.
Her name is Leah Gauthier and she's one of the only certified distributors for the once critically endangered strawberry.
If you go to her website, MarshallStrawberry.com, Leah sells the plants as they become available. In fact, nine plants are available for this year (sorry – I mean eight plants are available for this year...). Once they're sold out, the next batch won't be available till 2019.
Now there's a fun success story with the Marshall Strawberry that involves the Chicago Botanic Garden.
In 2012, Lisa Hilgenberg (who was on our show last year) was given three Marshall Strawberry plants from Leah. In fact, Leah happened to be living in Indiana at the time and she drove the plants personally to the Chicago Botanic Garden to deliver these Marshall Strawberries. Lisa got the plants in the ground right away. In fact, one was promptly stolen afterwards. Can you believe that?
But, just a year later, Lisa was able to propagate 50 of the strawberry plants. That's how the Chicago Botanic Garden the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden becomes part of the story of preservation and conservation for this unique strawberry.
Then this article goes on to describe how Lisa ends up having a chance meeting with a chef from the French Laundry in the summer of 2016. He then gets one of the plants from Lisa. Now, he is incorporating the Marshall Strawberry into some of his dishes at French Laundry.
Then another chef, from Great Dixster, happened to stop by and he also got one of the Marshall Strawberry plants.
Every year, when I read about a story like this, I sometimes get inspired to just try to track one of those plants for myself - for my own garden - and that's just what I did. I went over to Leah’s website MarshallStrawberry.com and I bought one of her nine remaining plants for a whopping $45. So now we'll see if I can keep it alive. That was my big splurge for this year.
If you’re interested in giving that Marshall Strawberry a try - you'd like to try to grow it and help be part of the preservation and conservation of this very unique strawberry - then head on over to Leah’s website MarshallStrawberry.com.
Now I'm waiting and very excited to see my little strawberry come in the mail. I'll let you know all about it and how it goes over the next year.
All right. In Inspiration this week, there was a great post. It was shared on House Beautiful (ww.housebeautiful.com), and it was titled See 30 Acres of Sunflowers in Bloom - This Weekend, 30 Acres of Sunflowers Will Be In Peak Bloom. This post shows 30 acres of sunflowers that were in peak bloom right outside of Washington D.C. in Poolesville Maryland. Those pictures were absolutely beautiful
Then, Gardenista (https://www.gardenista.com/) just shared a wonderful post called 10 Garden Ideas to Steal from Chinese Feng Shui Masters . I was very inspired by this article. It included lots of easily implemented ideas, in addition to some pretty lofty goals for the garden. The images were amazing. And this article was written by Michelle Slatalla.
In Recipes this week, is an Avocado Toast Recipe that was featured on Food52 (https://food52.com) and in a moment of kismet, past guest Deborah Madison (SG533) the author of Vegetable Literacy, recently shared on her social media that,
“Avocado Toast is much fancier today, but I did publish a recipe in l990 in The Savory Way for two avocado toasts! As always, lots of herbs, pickled onions, olive oil ....they've been one of my staple go-to foods for decades!”
Now, the people who grow up eating Avocado Toast generally keep it pretty simple. You've got avocado toast and then one or two accouterments.
Some people include thinly sliced raw onions and lots of lemon, others reports of growing up with avocado tomato and alfalfa sprouts sandwiches as classic.
My neighbor grew up having avocado sliced and smushed on a bagel or a piece of toast - that was breakfast for her growing up.
If you enjoy Avocado Toast, I'd love to hear your sentimental way of making Avocado Toast. Now I'm getting hungry…
For this week's Quotables segment, I have something very fun for you - a special guest poet...
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“Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson.