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.
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For the first Alternative Kitchen Garden Show episode for 2012 I am once again opening my seed box to examine some of the forgotten treasures that lie within. And to mark the beginning of the Year of the Dragon, I have chosen plants with an oriental theme.
Find out about soy(a) beans, podding radishes, kintsai (Chinese celery), Stem lettuce, Chop suey greens, two distinctive aubergines and kiwis.
I have been clearing out my seed box and updating my seed database, so today I’m sharing some of my Unsown Treasures – seeds I had forgotten I have: Okahijiki (Salsola komarovii), Ice Plant (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum), Lemon bergamot (Monarda citriodora), Lab Lab beans (Dolichos lablab or Lablab purpureus) and Jicama (Pachyrrhizus erosus or Pachyrhizus tuberosus).
And our AKG Correspondent Thomas is back to show us around a community garden project in Melbourne, Australia. This is the composting area he describes in the show:
There’s still time to enter my Write Club 2011 guest post competition, which is running until the end of September, and of course you can take a look at all of the Write Club 2011 entries so far and vote for your favourites.
In this episode Emma talks about things to do in snowy gardens and winter sowing. To find out more about winter sowing, check out WinterSown.org and for more on sowing and harvesting crops throughout the winter have a look at What to sow in autumn & winter on the Real Seeds website. If you can’t see your garden under the snow then perhaps Indoor Salads would be more your thing at the moment!
We also have our first report from AKG Correspondents Robb and Jackie from the Sustainable Living Project. If you’re interested in becoming an Alternative Kitchen Garden Correspondent then read the FAQ. And if you’re looking for more information on the free book offer, then head over to the Green Shopping Catalogue.
This is a bumper episode, all about greenhouses and seed sowing. I cover why gardeners love having a greenhouse, how to decide whether or not to heat yours, how to sow seeds and what to do with excess seeds, and what you could be doing in your greenhouse throughout the year.
If you’re new to seed sowing then you may also like episode 5; episode 11 is all about caring for the resulting seedlings. I gave a tour around my greenhouse, the Grow Dome, in episode 49, and if you’re interested in getting the most out of an unheated greenhouse over winter then you should really check out my recent review of Eliot Coleman’s latest book – The Winter Harvest Handbook.
I’m catching up with my seed sowing, and marvelling at the shapes and sizes that seeds come in. Have a look at my seed photos on Flickr. And if seed morphology is something that interests you, keep an eye out for Seeds: Time Capsules of Life, an amazingly beautiful book by Rob Kesseler and Wolfgang Stuppy.
And if you haven’t already done so, please take a minute to choose your favourite AKG episodes so far, in my short survey.
There might not be much going on in the garden, but as February approaches the gardening community is gearing up for the events of the year – seed swaps.
If you listened to episode 28 on seed saving then you might have home-saved seed to swap this year, or you may just have some left over from last year!
Seed swaps are a great way to help conserve heirloom and heritage seed varieties. For more about those, listen to Patrick from Bifurcated Carrots in episodes 22, 23 and 24. You can also listen to an episode of BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme in which they visit Brighton’s famous Seedy Sunday. That link also shows some other seed swap events.
If you’re anywhere near Coventry you can check out Garden Organic’s seed swap at their Potato Day in Ryton Organic Gardens. Or you can check out one of the many internet gardening forums that hold seed swaps at this time of year.
If you end up with surplus seeds then you could consider donating them to a local school with a gardening project or to Thrive, the gardening charity that builds and maintains horticultural therapy gardens.
Welcome to new listeners who have found their way here from the show review on the Hippyshopper website.
This week’s show is on saving seeds from your garden and which plants are easiest for beginners to save seed from.
If you’re looking for a book on the subject, I can recommend Back Garden Seed Saving, a British book by Garden Organic’s Sue Stickland that explains the basics of seed saving and gives detailed instructions for saving seed for all common vegetables. It’s a good book for beginners.
Seed to Seed is a book by American author Suzanne Ashworth that is highly recommended (although I have yet to read it) and is more comprehensive if you’re looking to expand your seed-saving knowledge – it covers 160 different plants.