The Alternative Kitchen Garden is Emma's gardening podcast. You can listen to any or all of the episodes straight from your browser by clicking the play button on the fancy player.
If you want to automatically listen to the latest and future podcasts, you can subscribe in iTunes or with RSS. If you want access to the whole back catalogue archive (100+ episodes), you can also do that in iTunes or with RSS.
Today’s show kicks off my month-long, virtual book launch to promote my latest effort – Jade Pearls and Alien Eyeballs. It tells the story of unusual edible plants, and the people who choose to grow them, and is being published as an ebook on 1st May 2014. You can read a preview of the book at Smashwords, but in today’s show you can hear me read a section from the book and talk about potatoes. I also catch up on all the news from the blog.
In the show today there’s an update on what (little) I’ve done on the allotment and good news about my graduation. If you’d like to read my dissertation, you can start here, and choose either the fully-fledged academic PDF download, or the more readable blogged highlights. You can also check out my research quests.
If you’d like to join in with the Plant Nutters (Virtual) Book Club there’s still time to find yourself a copy of Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden and settle down for a good read.
I review The Insect Cookbook and Amy Stewart’s The Drunken Botanist, and give you a heads up about some of the interesting books that are on the horizon.
If you’d like more details about the book then I reviewed it in back in May on the blog, and Dave’s website is Selfsufficientish.com, and you can find out more about his wild food walks and other events there.
During the show Dave also gives us his top tips for peat-free gardening, and if you want to know more about making your own leaf mould (or leaf mould in the US :) then listen to episode 32 of the show or check out my latest post on the BBC Gardening blog.
If you have a few spare pennies or cents then you can help support Kew’s work at the Millennium Seed Bank – The Alternative Kitchen Garden Seed Appeal is raising enough money to save an entire wild (edible!) plant species.
There’s more armchair gardening going on this week, with a look at On Guerrilla Gardening by Richard Reynolds. We find out what is (and what isn’t!) guerrilla gardening, why guerrilla gardeners exist and what they do. For more information, have a look at the online bibliography or the guerrilla gardening website.
The AKG Sprouts are sprouting some more seeds this week – cress, or other members of the cabbage family. This time all you really need is a tray or saucer, some tissue paper and some seeds! For more information on sprouting seeds, go back and listen to one of the really early episodes – episode 4 was about growing indoor salads.
AKG listeners this week have been talking about the Gardening Conversations podcast from North County Public Radio, which is available via iTunes (or if you follow the link you can get the feed address). And about making solar food dryers. And Mark is going to be making an appearance on Channel 4’s Come Dine with Me on Sunday 1st March.
And there are two gardening programmes to watch out for here in the UK. Grow Your Own Drugs starts on March 2nd (it’s a 6-part series) and Sissinghurst has already started.
There’s the first episode of a new feature – AKG Sprouts – for younger gardeners, all about making your own sprouting jar so you can grow your own beansprouts indoors while the weather is still cold outside. For more information on sprouting seeds, go back and listen to one of the really early episodes – episode 4 was about growing indoor salads.
And there’s the usual run down of what I’ve been doing in my garden, the emails you’ve sent in and what’s been going on in the gardening world. You can read my piece on the problems of chitting potatoes on the Guardian Gardening blog.
There’s a programme on permaculture on BBC 2 this Friday – A Farm For The Future – and you should be able to watch that on the iPlayer later if you miss it.
And keep your eyes open for a new series coming to BBC 2 soon, called Grow Your Own Drugs. Air dates are still to be confirmed.
AKG listener Peter has been making his own grow lights, using an online calculator to work out how many LEDs he needs; he’s also made a rocket stove to use on his allotment. And Lisa has been contemplating making her own solar heater.
We’re indoors today, talking about indoor air quality and sick building syndrome – and the part that houseplants can play in helping to keep us all healthy. I thoroughly recommend buying Dr B C Wolverton’s book, ‘How to Grow Fresh Air’ if you’re interested in this subject – it contains information about how plants clean our air, how to successfully care for houseplants and the top 50 plants for improving air quality, rated scientifically. (Buy from Amazon UK or US)
For reference, the plants mentioned in the show are: The Areca palm (AKA the yellow or butterfly palm), the Lady palm, the Bamboo palm, Rubber plants, Dracaena “Janet Craig”, English Ivy, the dwarf Date palm, Ficus alii, the Boston fern and the Peac lily.
This episode of the Alternative Kitchen Garden is on the basics of soil science. Learn about ‘sandy’, ‘silty’ and ‘heavy’ soils and how to find out what your soil is. (Check out the graph of soil texture mentioned in the show.)
But mainly we’re talking about cats – the problems they cause in the garden and how you can try to deter them from causing problems. Greenprints magazine tell us a story that might make us rethink our position on garden cats, and we learn how to make a special cat garden.
And if you’re on Facebook then you can come and join the new AKG Facebook group and say hello there.
On Friday 16th November I will be releasing a special edition of the AKG to support the BBC Children in Need appeal. In the run up to the show I will also be writing articles and blog posts on the same subject. If you have any stories, or hints and tips, about growing edible plants from pips and stones, then send me an email and I will include them in the show.