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MARGARET ROACH A WAY TO GARDEN
26 minutes | 3 days ago
A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – January 25, 2021 – Laura Parker on Seed Shopping
It will come as no surprise to regular listeners that I’m mad about small farm-based companies that sell seed grown without chemicals and with a regional focus. Seed matched to a particular set of conditions for best results. Today’s guest is the founder of one such company, High Desert Seed in Colorado and even though I don’t garden in the high desert, I confess I’m very tempted by the unique offerings like toothache plant and a gorgeous eggplant from India, all with wonderful stories behind them. Before Laura Parker founded High Desert Seed, she had many other seed adventures including working in India with activist and seed saver, Vandana Shiva and later back in the US becoming Executive Director of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association. She’s here today to talk about the importance of regionally adapted seed and showcase some goodies she’s working on and also drop some names of other companies whose catalogs we ought to be browsing.
26 minutes | 10 days ago
A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – January 18, 2020 – Leslie Halleck on Seed Starting Lights
I’m on my third generation of seed-starting lights, a journey that began back in the day when shop lights with so-called cool-white and warm-white fluorescent tubes combined were all we gardeners knew. Eventually I moved up to newer, high-output fluorescents, and now maybe the switch to LEDs beckons. But how does a person shopping for grow lights find his or her way through the array of possibilities out there? That’s today’s topic, with horticulturist Leslie Halleck, author of the book “Gardening Under Lights” to help simplify things. Sufficient light is maybe the biggest factor in the equation of success with seedlings and grow light technology is evolving fast. I asked Leslie to return to the show for a 101 on shopping for seed-starting lights suited to us as home gardeners.
27 minutes | 17 days ago
Nate Kleinman on Seed Shopping – A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – January 11, 2021
Parsley that was bred not for its leaves, but as a root crop. Or a winter squash with vivid green flesh, instead of orange. And perennial onions called potato onions that multiply. These are just a few of the wonders of genetic diversity I’ve been poring over in the new 2021 listings from the nonprofit seed cooperative called Experimental Farm Network, whose founder is here today to officially kick off seed-shopping season with me. Last year, during catalog season, I was introduced to Nate Kleinman, who’s co-founder of Experimental Farm Network dot org, a non-profit cooperative of growers, whose mission includes the core belief that agriculture can and should be used to help build a better world. I asked Nate back to my public radio show and podcast to widen our palette of possibilities to try this year from seed. Besides unusual varieties you may wish to make room for, he also suggested some other unusual sources whose catalogs to browse.
26 minutes | 24 days ago
Niki Jabbour on Cold Frames – A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – January 4, 2021
A neighbor with a new cold frame emailed me the other day, seeing colder weather finally in the forecast and wanting to know how to extend his season even longer inside the unit. Well, serendipitously, later that day I went to the post office and found a review copy of Niki Jabbour’s new book, “Growing Under Cover,” waiting for me, and had some answers for my neighbor. Despite living in Nova Scotia, writer Niki Jabbour is a year-round vegetable gardener, coaxing harvests out of every manner of season-extending device imaginable, from cloche to full-on polytunnel. She’s the award-winning author of books that include “Veggie Garden Remix” and “The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener.” And she returned to my podcast to talk cold frames, one of the tactical approaches in her newest book, Growing Under Cover, a book that helps us not just lengthen the season, but also outsmart pests and increase productivity.
26 minutes | a month ago
Ken Druse on Desert Island Trees – A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – December 28, 2020
They’re the garden’s biggest residents, relative space-hogs who also dictate a lot of what goes on with the patterns of light and shade. I’m talking about trees. Today, Ken Druse and I are going to name some names of favorites, our desert-island trees, if you will—the ones we can’t imagine gardening without. You probably knew it when you heard us try to narrow down our lists of desert-island shrubs a month or two ago on the podcast, that trees would be next. This time we tried to narrow down our list of must-have trees and explain why we can’t live without each one. You all know Ken, great gardener, great friend of many years, and author and photographer of 20 great gardening books.
26 minutes | a month ago
Duncan Himmelman on Native Groundcovers – A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – December 21, 2020
I’ve spoken recently on the show about my personal war on certain groundcovers I planted years ago that have turned out to be hideous thugs. Many other gardeners I hear from have likewise come to lament their overly cooperative, spreading plant choices, like rambunctious vinca or pachysandra. We all want groundcovers to do weed-suppressing duty and tie the garden together aesthetically, but the wrong choices can definitely backfire. Native groundcovers are a smarter alternative that will provide those and other benefits and they’re today’s topic. My guest to talk about making the change is Duncan Himmelman of Mt. Cuba Center, the noted native plant garden and research center in Delaware, where he’s the education manager. A course on native groundcovers taught by Duncan is one of the half-dozen on-demand recorded online courses that Mt. Cuba is currently offering.
27 minutes | 2 months ago
Kate Spring on Microgreens – A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – December 14, 2020
A “New York Times” column I did recently happily put me back in touch with organic farmer Kate Spring, who in our past conversations has always taught me how to think smarter about when to start seeds—like how to time succession sowings of vegetables for an extended harvest well into fall. This time she gave me a 101 on another kind of seed-sowing, but indoors, preferably under lights, and starting right now as winter descends. Today’s topic is mastering microgreens. Kate Spring, and her husband, Edge Fuentes, founded Good Heart Farmstead in Vermont in 2013, which serves up to 100 customers each season who subscribe to their CSA share program. Their organic farming business is kind of a hybrid business structure called an L3C, a low-profit, limited-liability company, where part of the mission is to support Vermonters in need of food access. Kate’s also a writer and the only person I know with her very own brand new yurt, which I can’t wait to hear about after having seen it be constructed on Instagram. Attachments area
26 minutes | 2 months ago
Chris Smith on Collard Greens – A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – December 7, 2020
Heirloom tomatoes and pumpkins you’ve heard of, but why shouldn’t heirloom collards get just as much love—and space in our gardens? Tell the truth: Have you ever even grown collards, whether an old-time variety or otherwise? You should, and to that end, National Collards Week begins December 14th, spearheaded by Seed Savers Exchange, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, the Utopian Seed Project and others, and that seemed reason enough to me to dig in and learn about this delicious green. To talk collards I called Chris Smith, a serious seed saver and permaculturist and writer. Though he was born in the U.K., Chris has a particular passion for traditional Southern crops. He’s executive director of the Utopian Seed Project, a crop trialing nonprofit working to celebrate food and farming, and his book, “The Whole Okra,” which we talked about on the show when it came out, won a James Beard Foundation Award in 2020.Attachments area
27 minutes | 2 months ago
Ali Stafford on Baking Books – A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – November 30, 2020
Yes, apparently more people gardened in 2020 than ever. And even before the holiday season was upon us, as it suddenly is, everyone was baking more than ever in this oddball year, too—and it seems publishing baking cookbooks at a prodigious rate as well. So today we’re going to virtually bake together, or at least talk baking—like whether you should blind-bake that pie crust before filling it, plus ideas for goodies from cookies to snacking cakes, too. When Alexandra Stafford, author of the book “Bread Toast Crumbs” and creator of the website alexandracooks.com, has visited the podcast before in recent years, we’ve usually talked vegetable cookery or soups, because we’re both big soup-makers. But 2020 is no normal year. And so what the hell? Let’s bake.
27 minutes | 2 months ago
Katrina Kenison on Comfort Books – A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – November 28, 2020
You’ve heard of comfort food and oh boy, have we all been hungry for that non-stop this crazy year. But how about comfort books—whether to keep yourself company as winter takes hold or to consider for gifting? That’s today’s topic with my writerly friend, Katrina Kenison, to help curate a collection for various tastes. You may know Katrina Kenison as author of several books, including “The Gift of an Ordinary Day,” and “Magical Journey” and “Moments of Seeing.” She’s a former literary editor at Houghton Mifflin, where she was series editor for “The Best American Short Stories” for 16 years and co-edited, with John Updike, “The Best American Short Stories of the Century.” Katrina’s also a yoga teacher and an increasingly keen gardener in her own New Hampshire backyard.
26 minutes | 2 months ago
Bjorn Bergman on Seedlinked – A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – November 23, 2020
What if I told you there’s a new way to shop for seed where your purchase yields not just the packets, but also educational support, and the invitation to share your feedback—to participate in a virtual seed trial essentially, citizen-science style. Now I know that was a mouthful, but it’s a brave new increasingly virtual world out there. And I want us to get in on the ground floor and learn more about the promise and potential of a newish entity called SeedLinked.com that a number of expert friends are part of. One who is participating tipped me off to a selection of curated seed collections that are part of the bigger digital undertaking. To learn more I called Bjorn Bergman, who curated the SeedLinked lettuce collection and is also part of the SeedLinked team. Wisconsin-based Bjorn is, like each of us, an avid gardener, and he’s also a long-time participant in various Seed Savers Exchange programs. And he confessed to being positively mad for growing and eating salad.
27 minutes | 2 months ago
Emma Greig on Feeder Birds – A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – November 16, 2020
A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – November 16, 2020 – Emma Greig on Feeder Birds A flock of robins visited my garden recently for a three-day long field day. By the time they decamped, I was down about 40 mature winterberry holly shrubs-worth of fruit, but we had fun together while the frenzy lasted. I love feeding birds with help from the garden plants or with supplemental birdseed too. And I love keeping records of who visits when. The annual winter-long citizen-science event called Project FeederWatch, from Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is just getting under way this week, as it does each November. So what better time to talk about just that: the best practices, and also what all the data is telling scientists and can tell you, too. Dr. Emma Greig leads Project FeederWatch at Cornell, a citizen-science effort with more than 30 years of history and more than 20,000 participants in North America who don’t just feed birds, but also share their observations. She joined me on the latest radio segment and podcast. [Carolina wren photo by Dan Pancamo, from Wikimedia.]
25 minutes | 3 months ago
Ken Druse on Desert Island Shrubs – A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – November 9, 2020
Shrubs: I think of them as the sort of human-sized plants, and they definitely are the backbone of the garden. Ken Druse and I each have a lot of different shrubs, and I asked him the other day, “If you could only have three, which ones would they be?” Well, that’s our topic today—desert island shrubs. You all know Ken, old friend, great gardener, and author and photographer of 20 award-winning garden books. He helped me try to narrow down our list of must-have shrubs to the real standouts, and explain why which ones made the cut.
27 minutes | 3 months ago
Duncan Himmelman on Weed Control – A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – November 2, 2020
“There’s always a weed out there, no matter when.” That’s what today’s guest, education manager Duncan Himmelman of Mt. Cuba native plant center in Delaware, said the other day to me on the phone. And that means now, even as we approach the quiet season, weeds are lurking, and we need to know when and how to target our efforts to control them. Duncan Himmelman, currently the education manager at Mt. Cuba Center, a renown native plant garden and research site, earned his doctorate in ornamental horticulture at Cornell before teaching college for 24 years. He’s also managed a large private estate and designed gardens for private clients, so he knows from weeds and weeding. We talked about weed ID (and why it matters); about removal tactics and why skipping the chemicals makes the best sense, and more. Attachments area
26 minutes | 3 months ago
Heather Holm on Bee-Friendly Gardens -A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – October 26, 2020
In a recent conversation with Doug Tallamy about ecologically minded fall cleanup, he raised the name of Heather Holm, and how some of the pollinator research she’s been part of lately is informing how he shifts his approach to garden maintenance this time of year, and again in spring. I wanted to hear more, so Heather’s here today to talk about how we can each support pollinators in our gardens beyond the season of bloom, in the offseason, too. Heather Holm is the award-winning author of the 2017 book “Bees,” and before that of “Pollinators of Native Plants.” Her expertise includes the interactions between native bees and native flora, and the bees’ natural history and biology. She joined me on the podcast to tune us into their needs.
27 minutes | 3 months ago
Ken Druse on Groundcovers- A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – October 19, 2020
What the word “groundcover” means has really changed in the years Ken Druse and I have been gardening. And I’ll admit right here, some of the choices that I made to do the job of covering the ground under shrubs and trees at my place are now plants I want to be rid of. Last time Ken Druse, author of “The New Shade Garden” and 19 other books, was here with us, we promised to talk when he visited again about my groundcover eradication program, targeted at one rampant perennial and what might go there instead. And that’s our topic today: groundcovers, out with the old, in with the new. Ken got me to detail what I am up to, and what I think are the next steps in turning large areas of mostly Asian plants into more desirable (and hopefully better-behaved) native ones.
27 minutes | 4 months ago
Julie Zickefoose on Bird Feeding – A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – October 12, 2020
One of the ways many of us have been getting through the last few months is by taking comfort in the outdoors, in all that nature and the garden has to offer—by slowing down, looking around, and connecting. One person I know who does that as her 24/7/365 life practice is today’s guest, wildlife rehabilitator and artist and author Julie Zickefoose. I have to admit to being a fangirl of Julie’s, and when I need a lift lately—and who doesn’t in this most challenging year of all?—I often scroll through her Instagram to follow her latest wild bird rescue adventure, or her unfolding meadow showing off yet another sequence of bloom and beauty. Or frankly, sometimes just to enjoy the antics and videos and photos of the newest member of her family, a charismatic dog named Curtis, and their deepening bond. And I’m not even a dog person. Julie’s here to help us all focus, to keep an eye on the outdoors, and also to get ready for bird-feeding season. We talked about goings-on to have your eye on this fall, and also about getting ready for bird-feeding season.
27 minutes | 4 months ago
Dennis Schrader on Overwintering Tropicals – A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – October 3, 2020
I think of them as investment plants, plants that might not be hardy where I garden, but that with a little extra work and the right strategy can be carried over year to year, even without a greenhouse or the perfect spot to do so. Nobody I know has more investment plants than the list of 1,600 unusual annuals and tropicals that Dennis Schrader and the team at Landcraft Environments propagates to sell wholesale to nurseries, landscapers, and botanical gardens. With his husband, Bill Smith, Dennis Schrader has since 1992 operated Landcraft Environments in Mattituck, Long Island—specialists in unusual plants that add seasonal color and texture, and the look of the tropics to the garden. He’d like to encourage us to start a collection, too, and offered tips on how to keep them happy—tactical advice on plants we should consider investing in.
27 minutes | 4 months ago
A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – October 5, 2020 – Doug Tallamy on Ecological Fall Cleanup
When I last talked to Doug Tallamy in February around the publication date of his latest book, “Nature’s Best Hope,” I didn’t want to go on and on about the advice in it about smart fall cleanup, which is one of the ways I know I’ve dramatically shifted the way I manage my own garden compared to 10 or even five years ago. But we were looking ahead to spring then, not fall. But now’s the time, and I’m grateful that Doug is back on the show to do just that. Want to plan your most ecologically minded garden cleanup ever, and understand the consequences of each potential action you can take? The subtitle of University of Delaware professor Doug Tallamy’s recent book “Nature’s Best Hope” is “A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard.” Meaning: The choices we make all year round, including the very important one of how we clean up in fall and again in spring, can help counteract an overdeveloped, fragmented landscape that puts the food web to the test. You and I are nature’s best hope, and I’m glad Doug joined me on the radio program and podcast to help us learn to support it.
26 minutes | 4 months ago
Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – September 28, 2020 – “Uprooted,” a Book by Page Dickey
The word “downsizing” was spoken more than once when Page Dickey and her husband were making plans a few years back to leave their beloved home and big old garden, called Duck Hill, in Westchester County, New York, for a new one. Well, the new piece of land turned out to be bigger than the last, and it has fostered in Page a whole new relationship to gardening—especially, a more intimate connection to nature and the property’s wild-ish areas. Starting over, and the surprises along the way, are the subject of Page’s new book, called “Uprooted: A Gardener Reflects on Beginning Again.” Page is a popular garden writer and author of numerous books, including her newest called Uprooted. And she was the co-founder of the Garden Conservancy Open Days national garden-visiting program. I was so glad to welcome her back to the podcast to hear about what happens when a gardener transplants herself.
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