EVER GROW AN OPEN-POLLINATED or heirloom variety from seed, only to have it not look or taste like the photo on the packet—or even like the “same” variety when you grew it before? Maybe not your fault! Seeds aren’t like widgets; someone has to take care of the living genetics to make sure subsequent generations remain true to type, and even continue to evolve. But who’s doing that critical, demanding work? In a new series, we’ll meet seed farmers who are, and hopefully get you shopping smarter than ever before. Our first expert Q&A is with geneticist and longtime plant breeder Dr. John Navazio—senior scientist with the Organic Seed Alliance—who helps set the scene. I’ve bought a copy of his recent seed book to share with you as well. [read more…]
Margaret's free weekly public-radio garden podcast, from WHDD in Sharon, CT, the smallest NPR station in the nation.
UH-OH. MY HALLOWEEN DECORATIONS (a.k.a. pumpkins) are frozen solid to the front steps, and at the next thaw will become orangey puddles, I suspect. Christmas lights? Similarly a bit behind schedule—and I haven’t even pondered any holiday shopping. But I saw that my crafty gardening friend Gayla Trail had once again outshone me with a roundup of homemade gift ideas, including lavender-laced caramels, herbed salts, bath “tea bags” and more. She visited with me on this week’s radio show to give us the details (including a chance to win one of the fun garden T-shirts she designed). [read more…]
YOU NEVER KNOW who you’ll bump into at the public-radio station in tiny Sharon, Connecticut. The latest: Dr. Kim Tripp, a botanist who directed the gardens and science at the New York Botanical Garden when I was editorial director at Martha Stewart. She is an expert in woody plants who, as I did, chose to start over at midlife. We spent time together last week talking exceptional trees for the home garden, and also heard her second-act story—how at age 50 she took student loans and went to medical school, becoming an osteopathic physician who now practices across the street from Robin Hood Radio’s studios, where our conversation on my latest show took place. [read more…]
WONDERING HOW—and when—to prune Hydrangea paniculata shrubs whose blooms are browning off now as late fall takes hold? (That’s one sprouting after a light pruning in spring, above.) Or whether you can plant grocery-store-bought garlic and get a crop next year? These are among the recent questions you’ve asked, that I answered on this week’s edition of my public-radio show. [read more…]