Black in the GardenSettle in and spend some time with "Plantrepreneur" Colah B. Tawkin on her podcast Black in the Garden. Described as an "intersection of Black Culture and horticulture," the show seeks to create space for diverse voices in the gardening world. Tawkin's selects episode topics that "directly influence and impact Black plant keepers as we blackily impact and influence the world." These topics include authentic business practices, plant styling, and Black liberation. Readers may especially enjoy the May 12, 2020 episode, "5 Survival Lessons from our Plants," which contains wisdom stemming from horticulture during a pandemic. As of this write-up, more than 30 episodes (of various lengths) have been released and listeners can find them on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Radio Public, among other platforms. Looking for additional content from Tawkin? Find her on Instagram, @blackinthegarden. Posts include teasers and highlights from shows, as well as bonus content and (of course) some great plant photographs.
New Southern Garden PodcastDoes your latest landscaping project have you in a rut? Dig yourself out of the trench with New Southern Garden. Hosted by horticulturist Nathan Wilson, the show tackles a variety of gardening topics, from invasive species to nature's health benefits. What makes the show unique is that it welcomes user questions (which listeners can contribute using the form on the Contact Us page) and offers responses and tailored tips in monthly Q&A episodes. New Southern Garden also covers a range of gardening best practices in 20 minute "half episodes" such as tips for growing a vegetable garden (see Half Episode 61 "Thoughts on Vegetable Gardening"). Most installments are about an hour and focus on a range of subjects, from the historical symbolism of flowers (see Episode 58 "The Meaning of Flowers with Monique Evancic") to the scientific benefits of being outside (see Episode 59 "A Prescription for Nature").. At the link above readers will find more than 65 episodes, as of this write-up, as well as a few Articles and Videos. Podcast episodes are also available on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, and other popular streaming sites. Wherever you tune in, Wilson invites you into his horticultural community. As he states, "let's grow something new ... together."
On the Ledge PodcastOn the Ledge is a podcast on a heroic mission: "saving the world's houseplants, one episode at a time." Jane Perrone, a journalist and gardener, hosts the show and runs its corresponding blog. Readers will find both the podcast and blog at the link above. Recent podcast episodes discuss terrariums (see Episode 149) and terrestrial ecology (see Episode 148), while the most recent blog posts cover rare houseplant varieties and picking the perfect gift for friends or family who love gardening. Novice horticulturalists may especially enjoy the show's site, as it has a series of episodes designed with newcomers in mind. The page linked above houses a list of curated episode guides such as "Complete Beginners, Start Here..." and "Hints, Tips, Questions, and Answers." Experienced horticulturalists may enjoy some of the episode guides that follow, sorted by species (e.g. "flowering houseplants" and "succulents and cacti") and topic (e.g. "sustainability" and "houseplant styling"). Of course, listeners are always welcome to binge all the episodes (find the more than 150 episodes on most major podcast platforms).
Quickcrop BlogMore than a decade ago Andrew Davidson and Niall McAllister moved their families to the Irish countryside to plant new roots, figuratively (in new homes) and literally (as they each started small produce and livestock farms). Now the duo is on a mission to share what they learned about gardening through Quickcrop. While the organization is, in part, a for-profit business selling everything from garden beds to garden bulbs, the Quickcrop Blog is entirely free and full of incredible insights. Posts are sorted into categories by topic, including: Beginner's Section, Garden Projects, and Growing Tutorials. These categories are flagged in an orange box next to each post listing, allowing readers to sift through the plethora of articles quickly. The blog is frequently updated, usually with a new post every week. Recent entries discuss growing techniques for carrots and tomatoes (see the May 5, 2020 and May 14, 2020 posts) and how to have a successful garden from your windowsill (see the May 8, 2020 post). If you are more of a visual or auditory learner, you may enjoy the Quickcrop YouTube channel, which features video tutorials covering how to grow a variety of crops. You can find all of these videos on the Learn page (accessible after clicking the Quickcrop Home tab) under Plant Videos A-Z, or by scrolling to the bottom of the home page and selecting the "Video Tutorials" link under the Learning heading.
Cultivating America's GardensOn view at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History is the exhibit Cultivating America's Gardens, which traces the history of gardening in the United States from the 1600s through the present. The exhibit was launched in May 2017 and runs through August 2018. For those who can't make the trip to Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian offers this companion online exhibit. Cultivating America's Gardens is comprised of seven sections, each of which are accompanied by digitized material in the Smithsonian collection. For instance, in the first section, Gardening for Science, visitors can view a map and sketch of a mourning dove by English naturalist Mark Catesby and images from Asa Grey's 1858 book Botany for Young People and Common Schools. The Gardening for the Common Good section features a 1919 newspaper comic by J.N. Darling entitled "War Garden to Do its Duty" and the cover of a 1943 issue of World's Finest Comics, which depicts Batman, Robin, and Superman tending to a victory garden.
Hidcote Virtual ToursBritain's famous Hidcote Manor boasts some of the most recognizable and well-regarded gardens in the UK. With Hidcote's virtual tours, readers can instantly explore the red borders, plant house, or old garden. The 3D visuals truly bring viewers serenity within a screen. Enjoy lush vegetation, perfectly pruned hedges, and beautiful flora. Add in sound effects (using the icon in the lower right corner) to make the experience even more authentic. On rainy summer days the website makes an excellent backdrop for tea, reading, or conversation "in the garden." Navigating each garden's views is rather intuitive, and the home page also briefly describes how to use your mouse, keyboard, or computer keys to adjust your viewing perspective. In addition to the immersive virtual tours, readers can learn more about Hidcote on other parts of the site. For example, scrolling to the bottom of the page, readers will find links to related articles, including a piece on Hidcote's history. [EMB]
Soil and Plant Nutrition: A Gardener's PerspectiveAs gardeners know and this resource concurs, "good soil management is critical for crop productivity." This informative article, Soil and Plant Nutrition: A Gardener's Perspective, discusses many soil management techniques that will help readers cultivate great gardens this summer (and beyond). These techniques include tilling soil to increase porosity and water-holding, balancing nutrients from plant and animal matter, and checking soil drainage capacity. The article offers some place-specific commentary pertinent to any readers in Maine, as well as universal insights (such as the major functions, physical makeup, and chemical activity of soil). Readers new to gardening can also benefit, as the article highlights popular soil science terms (italicized throughout) that will increase gardening literacy. University of Maine Extension Professors Lois Berg Stack and Mark Hutchinson originally wrote the post in 2011 and updated its contents in 2016. Both specialize in horticultural fields. The article is part of the University of Maine's Maine Master Gardener Volunteers Manual. Readers who enjoy this piece may want to check out some of the manual's other horticultural topics (cataloged on the left-side panel), including "Composting," "Vegetables," "Food & Nutrition for the Home Gardener."
USDA Plants DatabaseThe PLANTS Database provides standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its territories.
When to Plant Vegetables: The Garden Planting CalendarAnyone who has planted a vegetable garden knows that the ideal time to plant can vary widely by geographic location. The National Gardening Association has created this tool, the Garden Planting Calendar, to help. This website will appeal to new gardeners as well as experienced gardeners in new cities. Simply type in a select zipcode, landmark, or city to access a handy chart of when and how to plant all varieties of vegetables. Selecting a specific crop from the generated list pulls up detailed information and images. Readers will also find information about when to start sowing vegetables and when to (if necessary) transplant vegetables from indoor to outdoor gardens. In addition to this chart, visitors can check out quick planting strategies for both the fall and the spring.
TED Talk: Ron Finley: A Guerrilla Gardener in South Central LASelf-proclaimed "gangsta gardener" Ron Finley is changing the conversation on food and community in his south-central Los Angeles neighborhood. On a mission to transform his neighborhood "from food desert to food forest," Finley successfully reformed land-use laws to expand access to sustainable produce and increase his neighbors' capacity to grow their food. In his TED Talk, he discusses his purpose, vision, and perspective. As he puts it: "Gardening is my graffiti. I grow my art." Finley's work continues to inspire sustainable food movements by using gardens as a tool for education and transformation. And, though his speech was just over 10 minutes long, it has garnered significant attention and praise, racking up more than 3 million views. In addition to the video readers will find a transcript of the talk, which is available in 34 languages. While the presentation is several years old, you can stay up-to-date on Finley's continued work on his website (ronfinley.com). The site gives readers more information about the background and current work of the Ron Finley Project, as well as access to other articles and videos about the project's impact.