Ep. 3-20: Foraging Texas | Dr. Mark ‘Merriwether’ Vorderbruggen


If you’re in Texas and have ever wondered whether a wild plant you came across was edible you may have stumbled across Foraging Texas in your research. The website is run by Dr. Mark ‘Merriwether’ Vorderbruggen, who by day is a scientist and by nights and weekends, well, he’s still a scientist but he’s also a forager, wild crafter, and explorer. Most recently he wrote a book about foraging!

I’ve used his website a lot over the years, not just for deciding if a plant is edible or not, but also for easy identification for particular plants that haven’t shown up in a field guide. His website is extremely resourceful with an index of a plethora of edible plants as well as links to where you can take a class from him. I happened to attend a class of his last November along with past podcast guest Julie Rorrer. It helped bridge that gap for me, where I knew a plant was edible but I was still hesitant to take that leap to eat it.

In this episode, Merriwether covers the ethics of foraging and gives a great beginners guide to getting started with foraging. This podcast is focused on Texas but many of the plants mentioned can be found in other areas of North America. If you are interested in foraging, reach out to Merriwether and attend a class or use his Instagram and Facebook pages to find out what expert foragers may be in your region. Merriwether is extremely knowledgeable and you can easily become engrossed in learning all sorts of tidbits from this conversation and from his classes!

As a side note, in the introduction of this episode I mention my friends Marc and Eliana, who are birding in their VW Bus Valentina across the US from Miami to Alaska and back. They were at my house over the weekend but my plans for recording a podcast episode with them did not get squeezed into the many things we did, including birding, over the weekend. I hope to have them on when they return next fall from their trip, but until then you can follow them at Birding By Bus on Instagram or over on Facebook.

If you enjoyed the episode, please let me know in the comments below or by leaving a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts!

Download Ep. 3-20

Show Notes
+Merriwether’s Into the Borderlands outdoor journal.
+Foraging Texas
+Idiot’s Guide to Foraging
+@merriwetherforager on Instagram


Ep. 3-19: Why You Garden


Last fall I asked gardeners to submit a short voice memo about their “why” for gardening. I was hoping to create an episode that showcased you, the listener. While I didn’t quite get the number of recordings as I was hoping for, I was delighted to receive the ones that were sent and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to them and putting this episode together! It couldn’t have come together without y’all!

Many thanks to Eren Hays, Jill McSheehy, Peter Donegan, Leanne Tarleton, Danette, Gavin, and my sweet son Forest for their contributions to this episode!

Download Ep. 3-19


Ep. 3-18: Grow Milkweed Plants | Brad Grimm

If you’ve ever thought growing milkweed for the monarchs seemed to be a difficult task, then this episode is for you. While some milkweed species are available commercially at nurseries, many species that are endemic to each of our own backyards can be more difficult to find. And if you are able to find those in seed form, knowing how to germinate them with success can even be trickier!

I first came across Brad Grimm on Twitter when I was still using the social media site. He became interested in growing milkweed for the monarch butterflies after a disappointing trip to a California roost site in 2013 and has been working to establish and expand his own milkweed population since then. In addition, he is working to provide an educational resource for others attempting to do the same thing.

This episode pairs well with Episode 3-10 where I discuss my experience raising monarch butterflies. I learned several interesting things in this podcast in regards to other germination techniques and I think I will be giving a few a try soon!

Be sure to check out the show notes below and to sign up for milkweed madness!

Download Ep. 3-18

Show Notes:
+Grow Milkweed Plants
+Brad’s post about water germination of milkweed
+@growmilkweed on Twitter
+Grow Milkweed Plants on Facebook
+Grow Milkweed Plants Group on Facebook.
+@growmilkweedplantson Instagram
+Trudi’s Winter Sowing website


Ep. 3-17: All The Seeds: Native Plant Edition


A couple of weeks ago the Native Plant Podcast had Ian Caton of Wood Thrush Native Plant Nursery on their show and I found the episode fascinating. I clicked over to Ian’s website and found myself falling down the rabbit hole of the interesting native plants he had for sale and was happy to see he had seeds for sale as well. Priced as a reasonable $2 a packet, I couldn’t help but use some Christmas giftcard money to stock up on some native seeds for spring! This episode covers the seeds I ordered, similar to Episode 3-13: All the Seeds. The show notes link directly to the plants I ordered on his website. I just placed an order with Prairie Moon Nursery so there’s a good chance I’ll be recording another episode about that order in a few weeks!

Until then, happy growing!

Music: “New Day” by Lee Rosevere

Download Ep. 3-17

Show Notes
+Aconitum uncinatum
+Asclepias exaltata
+Coreopsis pubescens
+Eryngium aquaticum
+Gaillardia aestivalis var. aestivalis
+Gentiana saponaria
+Saxifraga pensylvanica
+Senna marilandica
+Silene stellata


Ep. 3-16: Permaculture in Texas | Talking Tree Farm: Sylvain & Sarah Clavieres

Last June my husband, son, and I went for a weekend trip to San Antonio. Our last stop before we left town was the Pearl Farmers Market on the north end of the River Walk. A coworker of mine had raved about the Pearl Farmers Market for several years and while we had been able to visit the Pearl shopping area and restaurants (get some tacos at La Gloria!) on a previous visit, this was our first time to the market.

As we were walking through the vendors, I stopped when I saw the word permaculture listed to describe Talking Tree Farm. As much as I was familiar with permaculture from books, podcasts, and gardeners applying permaculture principles to their own gardens, I had never seen a permaculture farm selling goods at a market! Completely enthralled, we talked to Sylvain and Sarah Clavieres for a bit about their produce and farm, and I ogled at Sarah’s beautiful handmade jewelry. They had been featured in an issue of Edible San Antonio and had several copies to give away for customers so I picked one up. After taking a photo of the two of them—I had to have proof of a permaculture farm in Texas!!—we drove back to Houston and I contacted Sarah shortly after about possibly coming on the podcast. The timing wasn’t right at the moment for them as they were about to leave the country but I kept a mental note to touch base with them later in the year. Well, time slipped by and it wasn’t until I pulled out that Edible San Antonio magazine several weeks ago that I remembered the encounter. Luckily Sarah and Sylvain were game to come to come on the podcast and have a chat about their farm and what they are working to create for San Antonio. Seeing permaculture in action, actively providing food for the community, and creating a different and unique method of agriculture in an area where mono crops are the norm—well, I consider what Sarah and Sylvain to be working towards to be the step in the right direction for food systems in Texas.

You can keep up with Talking Tree Farm via the link above or through their other social media sites below and definitely plan to stop by and check out their produce the next time you are in San Antonio! And I’m quite certain I completely mispronounced Sylvain’s name! My 2 years of high school French from 20 years ago has absolutely been caked in rust!

Music: “New Day” by Lee Rosevere

Download Ep. 3-16

Show Notes
Talking Tree Farm Website
@TalkingTreeFarm on Instagram
Talk Free Farm on Facebook
The Pearl Brewery Main Website links to the restaurants, farmers markets, etc are within.


Ep. 3-15: A New Garden Ethic | Benjamin Vogt

I can’t recall just how I came across Benjamin Vogt’s original blog, The Deep Middle, but I’ve been an avid reader of his writings for at least five or six years. His posts were always ones that sought to poke the bear, if you will, ones to provoke you into thinking about your own relationship to gardens and nature, or how we relate to our landscapes.

When I found out he had a book being published I was intrigued to read a more in-depth treatise on his thoughts about what purpose/function our gardens should be serving and added it to my list of books to read for 2017. If you listened to Episode 3-11, I talked about all of the gardening books I read last year and his was one of them. My odyssey in taking a deep dive with how our gardens function beyond our desires as humans started with Bringing Nature Home and The Humane Gardener (see Nancy’s episode 3-5), and concluded Vogt’s book. While the first two bring more of a science and perhaps touchy-feely aspect to the story (and there’s nothing wrong with that at all! I like those aspects!), this book digs deep into our cultural and philosophical viewpoints as gardeners—and humans. It’s a gardening book and yet it can easily be applied to other aspects of social movements we have been experiencing in the US (and worldwide) the last several years. Honestly, this book deserves to be read, then re-read, and re-visited once a year to see how it still applies to our lives, and where we can better ourselves as gardeners and stewards of the land.

If you are looking to be challenged on your views on gardening, this is an episode to listen to. And even if you aren’t looking to be uncomfortable with your plant choices in the garden, you should probably put some ear buds in and listen while you prep your garden for spring.

A note on the audio: The audio my end is crackly. I seem to be having this problem more often when I record during my lunch break at work and not at home. I’m looking into the cause—bad wifi, too much electronics near my computer…not sure what is going on. I was not able to fix my portion of the audio to remove the crackles. Benjamin, however, comes in very clear and that’s what you want, to be able to hear him!

Music: “New Day” by Lee Rosevere

Download Ep. 3-15

Show Notes:
Monarch Gardens, LLC
Benjamin’s Houzz Articles: There are tons and a lot of great design information tucked in there!
Other Press for Benjamin and his book
Native Plants as Moral Choice via GardenRant
A 21st Century Garden Ethic via Gardening Gone Wild


Ep. 3-14: The Common Milkweed Nursery | Jennifer Kleinrichert & Steve Ross


Several years ago I started reading a blog called The Common Milkweed. I think I was searching for other nature and garden bloggers and came across Jennifer’s blog—but honestly I can’t remember how I landed on the website—however, I was hooked! Over the years they added in The Common Milkweed Nursery and slowly I began interacting more with comments on the blog—call it my way of making up for the way social media has overridden bloggers—we all miss the comments we used to get on our blogs.

I invited Jennifer and Steve onto the podcast to talk not only about their nursery but also offer some perspective on their ethic for gardening and land management, and to talk a bit about being “nature nuts”. I encourage you to take a deep dive into their blog and soak in some of the things they write about. I often find myself at loss of how to appropriately write how I feel when I’m out hiking and exploring natural spaces and I think Jennifer and Steve are able to express those feelings that I’m not able to put down on this virtual paper we call blogging.

It’s a longer episode than usual because I felt they had so much to offer, so please stick with it! You’ll find something interesting out in almost every segment and I definitely came away wanting to dig deeper and be an even better steward of our own property than we already are.

If you enjoyed the episode, leave me a comment down below or hop over to iTunes or Stitcher and leave a rating and review!

PS: The milkweed in the photo above is Asclepias perennis—not common milkweed. It doesn’t grow in Texas endemically so I don’t have a photo of it!

Music: “New Day” by Lee Rosevere

Download Ep. 3-14

Show Notes
+The Common Milkweed YouTube Channel
+NRCS Funding Opportunties
+Nursery Manual for Native Plants & alternate link at the USFS Nursery Manual for Native Plants

Updates from Podcast Guests
+Amy Stross, of Tenth Acre Farm and guest on episode 2-13 had her book The Suburban Micro-Farm picked up by Chelsea Green Publishing! Big news! If you want to pre-order you can use the discount code SMF40
to get 40% off if you order by January 31, 2018 on the publisher’s website. You can also pre-order on Amazon, too!
+Jill McSheehy from the Beginner’s Garden Podcast, who was on episode 3-3 has created an online class called The Beginner’s Garden Short Cut for newbie edible gardeners wanting to learn a bit more before diving into their first garden.


Ep. 3-13: All The Seeds


I’m working on getting more guests scheduled for upcoming episodes but until then you’ve got me once again for a solo episode! I recently made a seed purchase from Botanical Interests after I received a gift certificate from my friend Chel. Chel had sent it as a thank you over Christmas for keeping tabs on her while she went through Hurricane Irma. You can read Chel’s hurricane entires here. Chel and I used to run Sprout Dispatch along with my brother—take a look through the archives, there’s a lot of good garden writing there! I thought I’d share some of the seeds I ordered and talk a little bit about what they were!

At the end I mention a ‘wintry mix’—I recorded this on 1/15—the mix is happening now! Everything is iced up, we had some issues with our well pump being frozen and it is going to be a mess!

On to the seed order. Here’s what I bought:
Calendula Pacific Beauty
Echinacea ‘Purple Coneflower’
Echinacea ‘White Swan’
Spinning Gourd
Black Velvet Nasturtium
Palmer’s Penstemon
Black Swan Poppy
Lauren’s Grape Poppy
Holy Basil/Tulsi
Mrs. Burn’s Lemon Basil
Dill ‘Bouquet’
Dill ‘Tetra’
New Zealand Spinach
Shiso Perilla
Habanada Pepper
Pink Banana Winter Squash
Daikon Radish
Red Siberian Tomato
Glacier Tomato
Bluebonnet ‘Sundial

+My experience growing Lauren’s Grape Poppy.
+Holy Basil from You Grow Girl

Music: “New Day” by Lee Rosevere

Download Ep. 3-13


Ep. 3-12: Bamboo, Plant Obsessions, and Creating Ninth Ward Nursery | Mark Sanders

Welcome to the Jungle

A post shared by Ninth Ward Nursery (@ninthwardnursery) on

What if you took that step from selling the extra cuttings and propagated plants from your garden on Craigslist and Ebay to the next level and upped the game to build your own full-fledged nursery? Sounds like a dream, right? Well, Mark Sanders of Ninth Ward Nursery in New Orleans, Louisiana did just that in a few short years, from selling bamboo in his backyard to purchasing an empty lot in the Ninth Ward and converting it into a plant nursery. Soon he was expanding the business into providing landscape design and consulting services. And in five years??? Who knows!

My conversation with Mark covers his passion for bamboo, how he turned that bamboo obsession into a business, general plant geekery, and what it is like to fly by the seat of your pants when creating a business from scratch. I’ve been following a lot of different New Orleans and Louisiana gardeners and landscape designers over the last year or so and it was great to finally get to chat with one of them. Even if you aren’t familiar with gardening in the south, muchless in Louisiana or New Orleans, you will really enjoy this episode!

Music: “New Day” by Lee Rosevere

Download Ep. 3-12

Show Notes
+Ninth Ward Nursery
+@ninthwardnursery on Instagram

A few photos from Mark:

Our spray paint layout in our flower garden.


Ep. 3-11 : Good Garden Reads

I love reading and gardening books are one of my favorite non-fiction genres to read! In this episode I talk about the garden/garden adjacent books I read this year and I hope you share books you read!

Music: “New Day” by Lee Rosevere

Download Ep. 3-11

All links go to the author’s website.
Books Mentioned:

  1. Second Nature by Michael Pollan
    +Weeds Are Us

  2. This Life is In Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family Undone by Melissa Coleman
  3. Bird Watcher’s Digest Butterflies Backyard Guide: Identify, Watch, Attract, Nature, Save by Erin Gettler
    +Erin’s podcast episode

  4. Epic Tomatoes: How to Select and Grow the Best Varieties of All Time by Craig Lehoullier
    +Media listing for Craig Lehoullier

  5. Grow Curious by Gayla Trail
    +Gayla’s What’cha Growin’? Podcast

  6. Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway
  7. The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife by Nancy Lawson
    +Nancy’s podcast episode

  8. Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens by Doug Tallamy
    +Dr. Tallamy on the Native Plant Podcast
    +Dr. Tallamy on the Joe Gardener Podcast
    +Dr. Tallamy on the Timber Press Podcast

  9. A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future by Benjamin Vogt
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