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, Uncategorized

All about Kohlrabi

kohlrabi
We recently brought in a case of locally & organically grown Kohlrabi into the produce department of the food Co-op I work at. I’ve gotten many a few questions of “Kohl-whati? Kohl-whatchamacallit?” Which lead me to the realization that I didn’t know much on this wonderful vegetable myself.. Thus my inspiration to learn more about this vegetable & to share with you what I learned!

About Kohlrabi:
-It’s a member of the Brassica family; kale, cabbage, broccoli & radish are some other members of this family. Brassica family crops are know for their antioxidant properties & are generally considered to be cancer inhibitors!
-It’s very popular in German speaking countries, and this is where we get the name “Kohlrabi” from, Kohl meaning “cabbage” & Rube or Rabi meaning “turnip” in German.
-There are two types of Kohlrabi: purple & light green/white Kohlrabi.
-Kohlrabi’s flavor is reminiscent of broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but milder & sweeter. It has the texture of radish with the sweetness of jicama.
-Kohlrabi is a nutritious plant high in Vitamin C, potassium, B6, and various minerals.
-Kohlrabi is commonly mistaken for a root vegetable, but it isn’t. It’s actually and enlarged stem that grows just above the soil line.
-Kohlrabi was first grown in Europe in 1500 and imported to America 300 years later.

What to look for when buying Kohlrabi at the store:

-A bulb that is 2-3″ in diameter will have the best flavor & texture. When bulbs get large they become tough & woody.
-Bulbs should be firm & not spongy with no visible brown spots.
-Bulbs that are spherical are ideal, tapered bulbs tend to be woodier.

How to prepare/eat:

-Both the bulb & leaves are edible raw or cooked.
-The leaves can be used like collards or kale.
-In order to use the bulb you must first peel off the tough outermost layer with a vegetable peeler. Inside is a crisp, juicy vegetable!
-Once the bulb is peeled, you can grate it & use it raw in salads, slows, or spring rolls. There are many ways to cook it: you can add it to a chunky vegetable soup, puréed in a soup (esp. tasty with celery root or potatoes!), cook as fritters, roasted with other hearty veggies, or steamed (then can be used in other recipes like frittatas, stir-fries or pasta dishes).
-Kohlrabi bulbs are also tasty when fermented or pickled!
-Kohlrabi freezes well: peel & slice it, blanch it for 2-3 minutes, drop into an ice bath, pat dry, then freeze.

How to grow it yourself:
-Kohlrabi is a biennial.
-Sowed to maturity takes 55-60 for most varieties.
-It’s subject to the same pests & disease as other brassica crops – cabbage worms are the biggest problem.
-Sow seeds 1/4-1/2 inch deep, thin to 2-5″ spacing. Maintain adequate soil moisture.
-Seeds can be started indoors & transplanted outside when ground becomes workable. Sow outside in early spring, make small plantings every 2-3 weeks for a continuous spring & summer harvest.
-Kohlrabi can withstand some frost. Plant like you would late cabbage in mid-summer for a fall crop.
-If growing during hot weather, seedlings will appreciate shade.
-When to harvest: bulbs will have best flavor when picked small, ideal size is 2-3″ in diameter. Once they get large they will become tough & woody.

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!

garden, tiny house on wheels

Our Garden Journey: Year Two [2015]

With my first year of gardening under my belt, I was feeling good. I extended the season by growing sprouts in my kitchen, and by growing microgreens in my bedroom throughout the winter of 2014!

Early in January 2015 we met with our architect who was designing the plans for our TINY HOUSE ON WHEELS! It had taken us a year from when we decided to “go tiny” to get to this meeting. I knew that 2015 was going to be the year of us making our tiny house dream a reality. Because of this, the garden wouldn’t be my #1 priority. But I couldn’t help but start seeds and trust that I would have someplace to plant them in a few months.. I started my seeds in my bedroom on 3/18/15.

Our tiny house construction began on 4/16/15.

We moved from our apartment in Chicago (goodbye patio container garden!) into our tiny house on 5/22/2015. I took my seedlings along with me, and several days after moving in, I planted my seedlings in my trusty 5-gallon buckets, and into the ground (scary territory for me!)

I also emptied my worm bin, getting 19 #’s of worm castings. There were HUNDREDS of worm eggs!


Our garden suffered many challenges over the season: 
-My in-laws landscapers weed whacked the entire garden bed taking out all of my leafy greens.
-The garden bed flooded and remained underwater for several days at a time after any rain, killing the rest of the plants that hadn’t been weed whacked!

We did have a few victories though! We got a small harvest of tomatoes:


We also got a few other plants to produce:

Overall, 2015 was not our best year of gardening! I learned hard & fast about how important it is to have good draining soil, full sun, and landscapers who don’t kill all your veggies! I learned a lot over the year. I knew 2016 was going to be a way better gardening year… ‘Cuz we were moving ourselves & our tiny house to NORTH CAROLINA! 

garden

Our Garden Journey: Year One [2014]

The year is 2014, we were in the process of dramatically changing our lifestyle. We had changed our habits, our diet, & found our food co-op.. I felt a real sense of urgency to begin growing *some* of my own food, from seed. We were living in Chicago at the time, in a small one bedroom apartment in Avondale. We didn’t have much room for a garden, but we did have a small patio. We were able to fit 20 5-gallon buckets on our patio! On 3/17/14 we started seeds in ziplock baggies & our journey as gardeners began!

Pictures of our garden & the plants we grew ❤

TOMATOES: black & red cherry tomatoes!

GREENS: swiss chard, kale, beet greens, spinach, red deer tongue & lily’s lettuce


ROOT VEGGIES: 
beets & carrots


BELL PEPPERS: red bell pepper


HERBS: mint, sweet & lemon basil


PEAS: snap peas


FLOWERS: violas, lettuce, mint & basil flowers 

Before I knew it our first year of gardening was over!