show episodes
 
Ellen Zachos and C.L. Fornari help you discover the amazing world of plants: in the garden, in the wild, and on your plate. They show you how to grow plants successfully, how to enjoy your natural surroundings, and how to make the most of your harvest, whether it's cultivated or foraged. (Spoiler alert: they don't always agree!) You'll find three different topics in each episode, plus email questions from listeners.
 
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show series
 
Ellen and C.L. discuss whether the use of mulch robs the soil of nitrogen, and we take a dive into the Polygonaceae family…smart weeds and knotweeds. We give you the scoop on two informative webinars for anyone interested in growing hydrangeas, and answer a question about the odd, jelly-like forms that a listener has found on some junipers. 1:42 Tr…
 
In this encore episode, Ellen explains what to make with under-ripe wild grapes and C.L. persuades listeners to combine some creamy brie cheese with those homegrown tomatoes. Next we explain that the end of the summer is the ideal time to propagate everything from woody ornamentals to annuals and perennials. Now that cooler weather is on the horizo…
 
What can you pickle this summer? Should you buy a tree that’s tiny? Ellen and C.L. discuss these topics, plus what to do with bare or just unattractive spots in the garden, and whether summer planting makes sense in July. :29 What’s for dinner: Pickles. 7:12 Insider Information: Don’t be afraid to start with small shrubs and trees! 12:30 Eat/Drink/…
 
Have you wondered how, or if, mulch kills weeds? Have you tried to grow a citrus plant from a seed? Ellen and C.L. discuss these topics, and answer Dianna’s question about her kousa dogwood that isn’t doing well. Plus C.L. tells Ellen and our listeners about a robot that weeds in gardens. :28 Plant Noob: Does mulch kill weeds? 6:47 Eat/Drink/Grow: …
 
Have you seen the photo of plastic forks, tines up, in the garden? Wondering about spraying fertilizer on the leaves of plants to give them added nutrients? And how about that auto-flowering type of Cannabis…should you be harvesting in July? :36 True or False: Plastic forks in the garden? 7:21 Eat/Drink/Grow: Foliar feeding. 18:20 Love Letters and …
 
Ellen and C.L. talk about the difference between raspberries and blackberries, give suggestions for plants that grow well in the tiny spaces in rock walls, and discuss whether you should panic when you see bugs on a plant. We end with a listener’s question about a perennial garden filled with early-summer bloomers. :30 What’s For Dinner: Raspberrie…
 
C.L. and Ellen have suggestions for edible flower petals, whether you want to use them for visual or taste appeal. Hear a discussion about taproots - what are they and what they mean for you – and hear if you need to be concerned about crop rotation. :38 What’s For Dinner: Flowers petals! 5:53 Eat/Drink/Grow: Tap roots. 20:18 Love Letters and Quest…
 
Ellen and C.L. discuss ways to use the mint you grow, the basics of harvesting garlic, and ways of supporting vegetables and newly planted trees. Plus we answer a listener’s question about spraying fertilizer directly onto foliage. :33 What’s for dinner: Mint beyond mojitos 4:12 Insider Information: Harvesting Garlic 17:46 Eat/Drink/Grow: Plant sup…
 
Ellen and C.L. talk about a common insect that causes damage in many vegetable gardens: flea beetles. Next they address questions and issues that arise when houseplants have been put outside for the summer, review an inspiring new book, and answer Ryan’s question about possible ground cover crops for weed suppression in flower farms. :28 Plant Noob…
 
C.L. and Ellen discuss what to do if your tree dies, and what actions to take when something has already happened and you need to respond or do your best to fix it. :30 True or False: You should remove dead trees from your property 6:24 Eat/Drink/Grow: After the fact. Or, I’ve already done it! Now What??? 22:00 Love Letters and Questions: Sandi ask…
 
:38 What’s For Dinner: Dill. 8:59 Eat/Drink/Grow: “Is it too late to plant?” 20:14 Insider Information: What alliums do. 22:42 Love Letters and Questions: Donna re: miniature lemon cypress tree In this first of five June episodes, C.L. and Ellen talk about growing dill, planting in the summer, and what allium foliage does when these bulbs come into…
 
In this end-of-May episode Ellen and C.L. discuss using lettuce to wrap tasty fillings, for a meal or snack. We explain what a botanist does, the importance of several types of diversity in our yards and gardens, and answer Pete’s question about applying Mediterranean style to a Minnesota garden. :28 What’s for dinner: Lettuce Wraps 3:22 Insider In…
 
The Plantrama team discusses the best way to fill a raised bed, why the practice called hugelkulture is getting so much buzz, a podcast recommendation, and finding a garden mentor. :30 Plant Noob: Why you shouldn’t fill a raised bed with only compost. 5:24 Eat/Drink/Grow: Hugelkultur 16:29 Check THIS Out!: a plant podcast that C.L. loves. 18:48 Lov…
 
Have you ever bought an envelope of seeds that had no instructions on it? Do you have clay soils where you garden? Ellen and C.L. start the program with these topics, then move onto invasive plants in the landscape, and the differences between different types of potting media. :30 True or False: It’s okay to send out seeds without any germination i…
 
It’s pasta for dinner, and everything coming up roses in this episode of Plantrama. Ellen shares her nettle pasta recipe, and C.L. talks about a quick way to use any garden greens with linguine. We discuss the highs and lows of growing roses, and end by answering a listener’s question about catkins. :37 What’s For Dinner: A go-to garden or foraged …
 
In this episode Ellen and C.L. celebrate spring salads, discuss organic fertilizers and discuss the many ways to grow vining Clematis. :28 What’s for dinner: Spring Salads 6:24 Insider Information: Organic fertilizers 11:03 Eat/Drink/Grow: Clematis This episode is brought to you by our friends at Rainwand.com…
 
The Plantrama team gives those new to vegetable gardening some advice about raised beds...how deep, what to fill them with, and whether they need a weed barrier underneath. We talk about how to remember what you’ve planted, without sticking ugly labels next to every plant in your garden. In a new segment, we tell you about a couple of great things …
 
Do you need a special fertilizer for Cannabis budding? Do you need special fertilizers for different types of plants? Do some fertilizers work better than others, and can you make your own out of food scraps? These questions answered and more in this episode. :33 True or False: In order to get Cannabis to bud, you have to use special “bloom” fertil…
 
The Plantrama team gets their fingers sticky with strawberry juices today as we talk about foraging for wild berries, and how to grow strawberries in your garden. Hear about the types of plants, protecting berries from critters, using this plant as groundcover, and more. We end with some thoughts about soil temperatures. Here is a great chart from …
 
Spring Greens, Plants for Arbors, and Forced Bulbs In the last episode for March Ellen and C.L. answer the last batch of questions collected at the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival in Seattle. Many of these focus on plants for arbors and pergolas. :28 What’s for dinner: Spring Greens 3:37 Insider Information: Can a night blooming Cereus grow in…
 
Ellen and C.L. address more questions from the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival in Seattle. We discuss the herb that gets no respect, Parsley, plus keeping outdoor furniture dry, escaping the insect invasion in your outdoor living areas, and how we started a podcast...and how you might start a garden business too! :40 What’s for dinner: Parsley…
 
Hear about how to garden if you move frequently, creating consistent gardens in sun and shade, colors that work together, and growing strawberries in a greenhouse. That and keeping the neighbor’s dogs from killing plants when they urinate on them. With thanks to our sponsors: Storey Publishing, Gardener's Supply Company and Botanical Interest Seeds…
 
Questions from the 2022 Seattle flower show continue, with blue, mophead hydrangea blooming and pruning in our main segment. Ellen and C.L. also talk about pH for vegetable gardens and peonies that stop blooming. This episode brought to you by our friends at Dramm - makers of rainwands and other garden gear. :45 The Plant Noob: How important is soi…
 
C.L. and Ellen answer questions that were submitted at the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival in Seattle. They discuss pruning raspberries, great plants with white flowers, and how to get rid of fungus gnats. 1:31 What’s For Dinner: Raspberries! 10:14 Eat/Drink/Grow: Gardens with White Flowers. 21:56 Insider Information: Fungus Gnats With thanks …
 
If you’re bored with your usual breakfast, this episode is for you. We also explain photoperiodism, talk about starting pepper seeds and growing them in the garden, and answer a listener’s question about Lantana. :30 What’s for dinner: Breakfast Alternatives 8:11 Insider Information: Photoperiodism 10:56 Eat/Drink/Grow: Peppers 25:55 Love Letters a…
 
Do you grow citrus indoors for at least part of the year? Learn to be the bee! We also suggest plants for the “COVID cranky” (and who isn’t?) plus becoming a local or niche garden expert. :34 Plant Noob: Pollinating Citrus You’re Growing Indoors 4:24 Eat/Drink/Grow: Plants for the Covid Cranky 18:36 Plant Empowerment: Becoming a local or niche gard…
 
Have you ever wondered if plants talk to each other? Do you want to have a big number of perennial plants cheaply? Would you like to know what it takes to grow Cannibis from seed? Ellen and C.L. cover these topics in this episode. :30 True or False: Plants talk to each other. 7:22 Eat/Drink/Grow: Growing Perennials From Seed 21:06 Love Letters and …
 
In this episode Ellen and C.L. talk about cilantro and coriander...one in the same plant. We have agreeing opinions about Stevia, and explain the reason that it takes awhile for some new introductions to reach the marketplace. The podcast ends with Anne’s question about hauling weeds to the compost...necessary? :30 What’s For Dinner: Coriander/Cila…
 
This episode starts with ideas for cooking with dried mushrooms. We explain how to tell the difference between pine, fir and spruce trees, do a dive into Ericaceous plants, and end with a question about taking cuttings and transplanting houseplants in the winter. :30 What’s for dinner: How to cook with dried mushrooms 9:16 Insider Information: Pine…
 
The Plantrama team discuss a botanic term for plants that put leaves straight up out of the ground (no stems!), and answer a listener’s question about a Bromeliad that hasn’t made more blooms. Ellen and C.L. present a new segment: Plant Empowerment, which explains how to make a passion for plants into a profession. We start with custom container pl…
 
The Plantrama team discusses the common belief that eggshells provide quick calcium for plants. Next we look at the myths, misunderstandings and misuse of moss, and end with a question about making a terrarium. :30 True or False: Eggshells are good calcium for gardens 4:45 Eat/Drink/Grow: Moss. 21:37 Love Letters and Questions: Ricci asks about ter…
 
Ellen and C.L. talk about eating chestnuts, the perennial plant that’s commonly called hellebores, and what it means when you are talking about pesticides. We end with a listener’s question about growing foxglove plants from seed. :34 What’s For Dinner: Chestnuts 6:31 Eat/Drink/Grow: Helleborus 17:50 Insider Information: Define “Pesticide” 21:38 Lo…
 
We start out discussing what can be substituted for rice when you cook. Our main segment is about grafted plants, and we end with a discussion about vegetable seeds that you might want to start in the winter, and whether it’s worth it to save a poinsettia from year to year. :30 What’s For Dinner Alternatives to rice 9:58 Eat/Drink/Grow: Grafting an…
 
In this just-after-the-solstice episode, Ellen and C.L. discuss how to use juniper berries, supporting heavy amaryllis flowers, taking cuttings and Cyclamen. Ellen's Smreka recipe here. :30 What’s for dinner: What can you use juniper berries for? 5:00 Insider Information: Supporting heavy Amaryllis flowers 9:57 Eat/Drink/Grow: Taking Cuttings – whi…
 
In this episode C.L. and Ellen explain what “bare root plants” are and why you might want them. Next, they talk about the genus Dracaena, which includes some of the most popular houseplants. They end by disagreeing about general rules for pruning (sorry Morgan). :27 Plant Noob: Bare Root plants 11:55 Eat/Drink/Grow: Dracaena 20:21 Love Letters and …
 
If you’re wondering if you need to protect your perennial plants with a winter mulch, this episode is for you. Ellen and C.L. go on to talk about the moth orchids, the most commonly sold orchid and an easy one to grow. The show ends with a discussion about the pros and cons of leaving the leaves in your landscape and gardens. :30 True or False: Per…
 
Ellen and C.L. give ideas for the best low-tech kitchen tools, gift suggestions for all on your list, and tips for why ordering your seeds now is a good idea. We end with some audible plant-based listening suggestions for a listener. :29 What’s For Dinner: Some suggestions for must-have, low-tech kitchen equipment 8:42 Eat/Drink/Grow: Our suggestio…
 
From roots to leaves to flowers! C.L. and Ellen talk about the difference between yams and sweet potatoes, explain what a root nodule is, and discuss leaf-spot fungus, especially on house plants. The episode ends with a listener question about flowers for a Florida garden. :30 What’s for dinner: Yams Vs Sweet Potatoes 2:52 Insider Information: What…
 
It’s all houseplants all the time in this episode of Plantrama. Ellen and C.L. give advice about cleaning the leaves of indoor plants, talk about the many Calatheas that grow well with less light, and answer a question abot the tropical known as “money plant.” :36 Plant Noob: Ways to clean off houseplants in the winter 6:52 Eat/Drink/Grow: Calathea…
 
The Plantrama team discusses the advice to hang herbs upside down for drying, and whether you should prune evergreens now. We end with a letter from a listener about doing battle with the birds. :31 True or False: Hanging herbs upside down to dry them helps the flavors (or in the case of Cannabis, the cannabinoids) drain into the leaves/buds. 2:27 …
 
Ellen and C.L. talk about cranberry recipes that go beyond the traditional “cranberry sauce.” They discuss potting “soils” and their composition, and give a listener advice about a Dracaena fragrans (aka corn plant) that has gotten too tall. :31 What’s For Dinner: Cranberries 8:23 Eat/Drink/Grow: Potting Mixes 24:26 Love Letters and Questions: From…
 
C.L. and Ellen give you some different ideas for using apples this season, discuss planting bulbs with an auger on a drill, explain the term “old wood” and answer a listener’s question about tomatillo plants. :30 What’s for dinner: Apples or crabapples, anyone? 7:54 The Plant Noob: Using a hand drill and an auger to plant lots of bulbs. 14:19 Eat/D…
 
The Plantrama team discusses the importance of soil temperature when planting bulbs for spring bloom. In the main segment we talk about handling the amaryllis bulbs you have kept from last winter, and how to bring them into flower in December. We end with a question about how frequently houseplants should be fertilized. :29 Insider Information: Bul…
 
Ellen and C.L. discuss what root stimulator products are and if they are necessary when you plant. They also address why houseplants might drop leaves when you bring them back inside for the winter, and how to fit even more plants in your house. :32 True or False: You should use a “root stimulator” that is high in phosphorous 9:14 Eat/Drink/Grow: W…
 
In this episode we are making purées for use later in the winter, and considering when you might need to water in the fall. Ellen and C.L. discuss managing those pesky fungus gnats (tiny black flies) that can emerge from your houseplants, and we answer a question about using red pepper to deter rabbits, deer and other critters. :29 What’s For Dinne…
 
Hear about nuts for dinner, houseplants that will make you smile, and late-to-migrate hummingbirds. We also answer Kim’s question about perennial garden cleanup in the fall. :30 What’s For Dinner Nuts! 11:17 Eat/Drink/Grow: House Plants that will make you happy all winter 20:30 Insider Information: Supporting late-to-migrate hummingbirds. 23:18 Kim…
 
Hear about nuts for dinner, houseplants that will make you smile, and late-to-migrate hummingbirds. We also answer Kim’s question about perennial garden cleanup in the fall. :30 What’s For Dinner Nuts! 11:17 Eat/Drink/Grow: House Plants that will make you happy all winter 20:30 Insider Information: Supporting late-to-migrate hummingbirds. 23:18 Kim…
 
Ellen and C.L. talk about root crops – potatoes, and sunchokes – and what “open pollinated” means. We discuss the pros and cons of protecting plants for the winter, and answer a listener’s question about plants that draw flies. :36 What’s for dinner: Root Crops: Potatoes and Sunchokes 5:55 Insider Information: What does “open pollinated” mean? 10:3…
 
In this episode Ellen and C.L. talk about how to decide which tender or tropical plants to save indoors through the winter, how to preserve your garden or foraging harvest, and whether weeds choose to grow where they blend in. :32 Plant Noob: Deciding which tropicals/annuals to try and save through the winter. 9:05 Eat/Drink/Grow: Preserving The Ha…
 
Is compost – homemade or purchased – a good substitute for fertilizer? What is that thick growth in a tree? Ellen and C.L. answer these questions and respond to a listener about uses for pressed flowers. :26 True or False: Compost is fertilizer. 3:50 Eat/Drink/Grow: Witches’ Brooms 19:58 Love Letters and Questions: Kelly asks for ideas about what t…
 
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