garden

My Favorite Gardening Podcasts

Due to our moving to the countryside, I have a longer commute to work.. Therefore I have plenty of time to kill, and my favorite way to take advantage of this time is by listening to gardening podcasts! I gain so much from listening to these podcasts, so I felt it necessary to share the love and help promote them! Here is a list of my favorite ones that I think you should check out!

good life
#1 Good Life Revival: Permaculture, Rewilding, Homesteading

This podcast is the work of Sam Sycamore, a permaculturist, forager, writer, musician, and upcoming market gardener. Up until episode 31 he was living in Kentucky but is now relocating to Indiana to work/live on a farm. He generally publishes one episode a week but he also started a book club project that can be accessed via his patreon page. I discovered Sam through his Farm and Forage Challenge that he hosted the summer of 2017. Sam is very intelligent, and I love the way he articulates his thoughts and point of view. A lot of the Good Life Revival podcasts feature a guest interview, and I thoroughly enjoy the intellectually stimulating conversations he shares with his guests. The Good Life Revival is certainly the podcast I look forward to listening to the most each week, and I hope you give it a listen!
Some of my favorite episodes are: 30, 29, 20 (though all episodes deserve several listens)

joe gardener
#2 The Joe Gardener Show with Joe Lamp’l

This podcast is created by Joe Lamp’l, the host of the TV series Growing a Greener World. Joe is a life long gardener, and you can hear the love he has for gardening in each episode of his podcasts. I have just recently started listening to his podcasts, and have not listened to each episode yet. His podcast and guests are generally very science based, and it’s great to know what is being said on his episodes is going to be factual. Along with the episodes being chock full of information, he posts very detailed notes for each episode in the note section and on each corresponding page on his website.
My favorite episodes so far are: 34-36 (on gardening myths AMAZING) 3-5 (on tomatoes SO GOOD).

sow edible
#3 Sow Edible Permaculture Podcast
This podcast is the work of Stacy and Amy, a married homesteading duo located near Raleigh, NC. This family is very inspiring, as they built and designed their off-grid home their selves, and they operate their permaculture farm as a family unit. Their podcast is the story of their journey on their land, and I would recommend listening to it from the beginning to end. I find it fascinating to follow along with their story, and find their podcast to be both entertaining and educational. As they live close to me, it’s excellent to hear their experiences with the plants they grow as it’s very applicable to me! I wish they posted more frequently, but I am always happy to get an update on what is happening on their homestead! They also do some guest interviews, and I also enjoy those episodes.
My favorite episodes: I can’t pick one – I’d just start at the beginning and listen to them all!

organic gardener
#4 The Organic Gardener Podcast
This podcast is ran by Jackie Marie Beyer, a teacher, artist, journalist, and gardening enthusiast. This podcast features Jackie interviewing fellow gardeners, farmers, and entrepreneurs. Each episode generally follows the same format, and Jackie usually asks each guest the same general questions. I really appreciate Jackie’s personality and find my self chuckling several times during each episode due to her enthusiasm and excitement (birds of the same feather here) about gardening and her guests. This podcast has A LOT of episodes and I’m constantly impressed with how many episodes Jackie churns out. She also has a gardening facebook group.
Some of my favorite episodes: 170, 202, 208

permaculture
#5 The Permaculture Podcast 
This postcast is created by Scott Mann. He is a permaculturist and his podcast is an amazing body of work. The topics of his episodes are varied but many focus on the social aspects of permaculture. Most episodes are philosophically engaging, and I appreciate how each episode leaves me contemplating what was discussed for hours. Scott Mann is a very inspiring individual and I always learn something new from his podcast. You can expect a new episode once a week!
Some of my favorite episodes: 1719, 1702, 1643, 1638, 1617.

garden

All About Mint.

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In my garden at home I’ve declared this year, “The year of Mint”! I added many mint varieties to my garden & have enjoyed learning about this herb. My favorite varieties have been strawberry mint, catmint, penny royal, chocolate mint and the classics: peppermint & spearmint. I’ve enjoyed many a few cups of homegrown mint tea, and I hope this article inspires you to do the same!

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About Mint:
-Genus is Mentha, family is Lamiaceae (other family members are basil, rosemary, sage, oregano & catnip). There are 13-18 estimated species of mint. Hybridization between some mint species occurs naturally. There are well over 30 varieties of mint.
-Mint is found growing across the world, in Europe, Africa, Asia, N. America, and Austria. There were even traces of mint was even found in an Egyptian tomb!
-The name “mint” comes from a Greek myth.. As the story goes, there was a mythological Greek character named Minthe. She was a river nympth that Hades fell in love with. Hades wife learned of their affair & turned Minthe into a plant so everyone would walk all over her & crush her. Hades gave the plant a pleasant aroma so he could still enjoy her presence & smell her.

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How to prepare/eat/preserve:
-When cooking with mint, add it at the end of cooking to preserve it’s flavor & texture.
-When cutting mint be sure to use a sharp blade & cut gently. If you cut mint with a dull blade you will bruise the leaves & the flavor will be lost on the cutting board.
-Mint Tea: pour boiling hot water over fresh/dry leaves & let steep for 5-6 minutes.
-Add fresh leaves to: salad with ginger & lemon zest, a fruit salad, to a homemade smoothie or juice, to chocolate chip cookie dough, or use them to flavor vinegar or oil. You could also dip fresh mint leaves in melted chocolate & chill in the fridge until hardened.
-Make a Tincture: Chop enough mint leaves to fill a glass jar. Cover with vodka. Shake jar daily for 4 weeks. Strain off mint, and you have a tincture!
-Storing/Preserving: Leaves can be stored in the fridge in a plastic bag/container. Leaves can be frozen in icecubes. Drying: Mint can be dried by tying branches together & hanging upside down in a cool, dark place; when dried store in an airtight jar.

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Other Mint uses:
-Use peppermint essential oil on stomach & temples for headaches or on bottoms of feet to break fevers.
-Add mint essential oil or fresh/dried leaves to bath water!
-Mint water is effective in preventing nipple cracks & nipple pain when breast feeding.
-Menthol is the solid constituent of peppermint or corn mint oil. Menthol is used to flavor food products & in products like muscle rubs.
-As a steam: steep mint tea & remove from stove. Drape towel over your head/shoulders & lean over pot taking deep breaths. This should help clear sinuses.
-Sunburn soother: make a strong peppermint tea & cool in fridge. Apply to sunburn with cotton pads.

Medicinal properties of Mint:
-Used traditionally for stomach aches & IBS. It’s thought to increase bile secretion which speeds up & eases digestion.
-Also used for sore throats, chest pain & sore muscles. Mint contains Menthol, a natural decongestant that helps break up mucus & phlegm.
-Mint is high in antioxidants, is anti-inflammatory, and also contains a phytonutrient called perillyl alcohol which is thought to prevent cancer growth.

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How to grow it yourself:
-Mint is a Perennial Herb, it can grow year round.
-Mint prefers moist, wet soil that has good drainage. Mint can grow in full sun (as long as soil remains moist) or partial shade.
-Consider mint to be a ground cover – it will spread quickly (some species are even considered invasive!). To prevent this, grow it in a container (12-16” wide is ideal) on a hard surface, or sink your container into the ground.
-Mint plants spread through vegetative reproduction by producing lateral stems, either underground as rhizomes or above grounds as runners.
-Pests: Susceptible to spider mites, flea beetles, cutworms, cabbage loopers, and a few other pests.
-Propagation: Propagating by seed is generally considered unreliable for a few reasons: seeds are highly variable & may not end up being the same as the parent plant, and some mint varieties are sterile. It’s best to propagate by division, or by taking cuttings from the plant or it’s runners. Mint plants will need to be divided every few years, in late winter-early spring.
-Harvesting: You can harvest individual leaves from your plant at any time. Once plant is established you can also pinch off growing tips (leaving one third of each branch). Once mint starts to flower you can cut it down to 1” from the ground. You can generally get 2-3 harvests per season.

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Mint products we carry at Deep Roots Market:
-Fresh mint in the produce department.
-Dried Spearmint & Peppermint in bulk herbs & spices.
-Mint tea bags in Wellness.
-Peppermint & Spearmint Essential Oils in Wellness.
-Mint plants: I have a small selection of my homegrown mint available at the co-op! They are selling fast, so pick one up while they are still available!

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garden

Our Garden Journey: Year Three [2016]

New year, new state! We left Chicago on 2.26.16 with all our belongings, the kitties, and our house in tow. Our hearts were full & ready for our new home state: NORTH CAROLINA. We arrived at our new parking spot bright-eyed & ready for this new adventure. We had found a good place to park our house with nice hosts that we met through craigslist. We had really lucked out with finding the perfect people! They own 10 acres of land, have a micro-animal sanctuary & offer lots of vegan-friendly events through their event center! It’s such a blessing to live with & create community with like-minded folks! They agreed to let us put in a garden next to our house! We took a few days to get our house situated, and all of our systems working properly.. Then it was time to get to the gardening!

Lasagna Garden Beds: On 3.3.16 we prepped our four garden beds using the “lasagna gardening” technique. This technique was low-labor & easy to do: We covered the grass with cardboard, then layered straw, leaves, compost, food scraps & manure. We topped the beds with top-soil, I got one pickup truck bed of soil & also added 2 cu ft of higher quality bagged soil to each bed.  We added a bamboo trellis to bed #1.

Our Seedlings: We started our seedlings on 3.6.16!

Early Mistakes (a.k.a. valuable learning lessons!) : When we first arrived in March is was SO WARM.. Compared to Chicago… Which lead to be a little presumptuous & think that it was OKAY to start transplanting plants out.. I was very, very wrong.. Many plants died. I killed ALL of my tomatoes =( I also ran into another learning experience: the manure we had added to the beds was pretty fresh, and therefore all of the plants we put into the beds got nitrogen-burned & died =( Our beds took a few months until they were ready to be planted in.

Cover Crop: This was my first time planting a cover-crop. I scattered some clover & radish seeds over the bed & raked them in. The radishes perished due the the manure within a month (see above image), but the clover grew happily. I learned that baby grasshoppers love young clover, and many of them lived out their youth in my clover patch. It was fun to watch them grow up, and see them chomping on the clover!

Figs: We bought our first fruit tree at a plant sale, an Ischia Fig tree, we named the tree Chia & potted it up in a bigger pot. We got two figs off of Chia! I also experimented with rooting fig cuttings & had success, though all the cuttings did die…

Shiitake Logs: I had a great opportunity to go check out a local farm, and help the farmer inoculate Shiitake logs! For each hour I volunteered I got to take a log home with me! The spawn we were working with was Night Velvet Shiitake!

Sprouting/Microgreens: I love growing sprouts & microgreens forever, especially when there isn’t much growing in the garden beds!

Flowers: While I didn’t plant any flowers, I tend to always let some of my plants go to seed to provide pollen to the sweet critters that visit my garden!

Purslane: While working my job as a landscaper, I found some wild purslane growing.. I brought the plants home & transplanted them in my garden. My love for purslane grew throughout the season.. Thus “Purslane Gardens” was officially born!


Our garden growing throughout the year: Our summer garden wasn’t very impressive.. Not enough time & the beds weren’t very developed yet. By the time fall came, a lot of plants had self seeded themselves. I had also quit my landscaping gig, and had more energy to be out in my garden. As of 11.2.16 we were still frost free & our peppers, tomatoes, & basil were still growing. Our fall garden was quite productive & we had various greens grow uncovered all winter long. Our best winter crops were lettuce (3 different varieties, but we loved sweet valentine romaine the most), bok choy, & turnips.

*SOME* of our Bounty! We of course harvested more than this, but here are some of the highlights of the year!

2016 was my most productive gardening year to date! I finally got some experience creating garden beds on the earth, and had some decent success. I learned a lot about weeds, North Carolina weather, and the other new challenges I will continue to face as a gardener. The longer I garden, the easier (sort of) it gets.. Experiences turn into knowledge & familiarity with the rhythms of gardening. It’s my favorite thing I do in my life, and I hope this glimpse at my year of gardening has inspired you to get out there & grow something!