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

Ep. 3-10 : Raising Monarch Butterflies

This episode covers my experience as a newbie keeper of monarch caterpillars. I raised a couple of sets of monarchs this summer and thought it would be worthwhile to pass on some of this information to other people interested in raising monarch butterflies, too. I am by far not an expert in this so if you hear something that I got wrong, please speak up and let me know! Please read through the links I attach as well before you embark on raising caterpillars on your own. The more knowledge you have going into this the better your experience will be!

Music: “New Day” by Lee Rosevere

Download Ep. 3-10

Milkweed tussock moth caterpillar—they use milkweed, too.

Oleander aphids on tropical milkweed.

Monarch egg

My egg raising container. Very fancy!

Initial cage set up when no plant is inside.

Chowing down!

Fat and happy—not too long before they will pupate.

In the J shape they sit in before they fully pupate.

A caterpillar only minutes before, the chrysalis portion of the life cycle has begun.

When a caterpillar eats around your chrysalis!

Chrysalides that have been moved and re-hung with floss.

Almost ready to eclose!

Just out of the chrysalis!

Ready to fly!


Asclepias viridis, green milkweed.

Show Notes:

+Rearing Monarch’s Responsibly
+How to Raise Monarch Butterflies Indoors: 21 Monarch Survival Tips
+How to Raise Monarch Butterflies at Home Part I
+How to Raise Monarch Butterflies at Home Part II
+Tropical Milkweed: To Plant it or Not, it’s Not a Simple Question
+Tropical Milkweed OK for Monarch Butterflies, “Just Cut the Dang Stuff Down”
+Raising Monarch Butterflies
+Butterfly FAQ: Is Relocating a Monarch Chrysalis OK? Yes, and Here’s Tips On How to Handle Them With Care
+Butterfly FAQ: How to move a Monarch butterfly chrysalis
+How to Easily Move a Monarch Chrysalis
+Rearing Monarchs
+Is Your Caterpillar Cage Killing Monarch Butterflies?
+Milkweed Locator from Grow Milkweed Plants
+Asclepias results from Native American Seed
+Milkweed Seed Finder from the Xerces Society
+Asclepias results from Prairie Moon Seeds
+Asclepias results from Johnny’s Selected Seeds
+Asclepias results from Botanical Interests
+What is OE
+Cold Stratification of Milkweed Seeds
+Parasites in Monarchs
+Pesticide contaminated milkweed
+How to Help Monarchs without poisoning them


Ep. 3-9: Fall Flower Garden Tour

Today’s episode is another garden tour, this time of our flower garden! During the episode I blanked out on a couple of the names but I hope I covered some of them in the plant list below. This is by far not a comprehensive plant list but just a smattering of some of the ones I mentioned in the episode. They do not go to any particular site, just ones I thought worked best for the information at hand. Check out some of the photos of my garden below, too!

Music: “New Day” by Lee Rosevere

Download Ep. 3-9








Show Notes:
+Update on the Side Yard Garden
+Compost Bin Update
+Ft. Lauderdale airport baobab article
+Downtown Hollywood, FL baobab trees

Some of the plants mentioned:
+Variegated Turk’s Cap Hibiscus
+Butterfly Ginger
+Senna corymbosa
+American beautyberry
+Almond verbena
+Clematis pitcheri
+Mexican Flame Vine
+Brugmansia ‘Snowbank’
+Salvia elegans
+Texas mountain mint
+Copper Canyon Daisy
+White firewheel
+Flame acanthus
+Tropical milkweed
+Amorpha fruticosa
+Salvia hispanica
+‘Wendy’s Wish’ salvia
+False nettle
+Justicia spicigera
+Passiflora ‘incense
+Aristilochia fimbriata
+Baobab trees
+Rhododendron canescens
+Rhododendron austrinum
+Abelmoschus moschatus
+Aristolochia trilobata
+Pseuderanthemum alata
+Miracle Fruit


Ep. 3-8: Hurricane Harvey & Gardening Through Natural Disasters

I wasn’t sure how to talk about Hurricane Harvey or even if I should even discuss it on the podcast. While I experienced some flooding issues related to my garden and yard, my house is still in tact. That said, I think it was and is valuable to talk about the storm and other natural disasters I’ve experienced first hand or adjacently. It’s a long episode, an hour, and honestly I can’t believe I talked to myself for an hour! I delve into some flooding events I remember as a kid and then work my way through various tropical systems I experienced starting in college and then through my years of living in Florida. I didn’t even talk about Hurricane Katrina (an internet friend lost everything), Hurricane Ike (hit Galveston and Bolivar Peninsula, affecting people I know in Galveston and Houston), or even Irma and Maria from this year.

Even if you don’t experience tropical weather events maybe you experience droughts frequently (hi there, California!) or wildfires (hello again, California! And you too, Oregon and Washington!) or you get tornadoes every spring or deal with floods because you are adjacent to a river system. Hopefully you are just really damn lucky and picked the best place to live and haven’t been affected by a natural disaster yet—I really do hope!

We all have something to work on in our gardens and lives to better prepare for a natural disaster and as I mention in the podcast, our gardens are not permanent. We must make do with what we’re given and hope for the best.

Music: “New Day” by Lee Rosevere

Download Ep. 3-8

Show Notes

My Flood Event Write Ups
July 2012 Flood:
The Adventure I Wasn’t Planning On
Memorial Day 2016 Flood:
500 Year Flood
Flood Video
The Garden Before the Flood aka: 500 Year Flood Day 2
Harvey Update

Fort Worth 1949 Flood
1949 Flood YouTube Video
The Flood of Forty-Nine: People in Trees, Horses on Roofs
Fort Worth Flashback: 1949 flood called worst in our history
Aerial View of Flood in Fort Worth in 1949
The FWPD Collection – Fort Worth Flood of 1949
In Fort Worth’s ’49 flood, West 7th was underwater, and that wasn’t all

Fort Worth 1989 Flood
Deja Deluge: Forty Years On, the Flood of 1989
Deja Deluge: The Flood of 1989 YouTube Video

1994 San Jacinto River Flood
River of Fire: Remembering the flood of 1994
The Flood of October 1994 Revisited
San Jacinto River Flood YouTube video
Flood of 1994: History could repeat itself
USGS Floods in SE Texas: October 1994

Tropical Storm Allison
16 years ago Tropical Storm Allison inundated Houston
HCFCD TS Allison Off The Charts Report
Remembering Tropical Storm Allison 10 Years Later

2004 Hurricane Season
Taken by Storm

2005 Hurricane Season
2005 Hurricanes by the Numbers

July 2012 NW Houston Flooding
100 Year Rainfall Event Drenches Houston Area
Flooding Causes Misery in parts of Montgomery County
Streets, houses flood as storms pound Houston

Houston’s Memorial Day 2015 Flood
Houston Flood 2015: How Does It Compare to Allison and Other Historic Floods?

Central Texas’ Memorial Day 2015 Flood
The Central Texas Memorial Day Flood 2015 Is One for the History Books
When The River Rises: The Wimberley Floods of Memorial Day Weekend 2015
Bastrop State Park Dam break

Houston’s Tax Day 2016 Flood

Space City Weather’s Tax Day Flood write-ups
Revisiting Houston’s Tax Day Floods 1 Year Later

Houston’s 2016 Memorial Day Flood
Magnolia Welcomes Sun After Rain Flood Community
Top photos from the 2016 Memorial Day weekend floods
HCFCD Spring 2016 Flood

Texas Tribune/Pro Publica stories
Hell and High Water
Boomtown, Floodtown

Hurricane Harvey
Why Houston Isn’t Ready for Harvey
Space City Weather’s Harvey Write-ups Lots of good links in their post Harvey reporting, but reading their up to the hour forecasts is worth doing.
Everyone Knew Houston’s Reservoirs Would Flood — Except for the People Who Bought Homes Inside Them
Texas Monthly Harvey Archives
Voices From the Storm from Texas Monthly
Hurricane Harvey NOAA Aerial Imagery
The forgotten but freakish damage from Hurricane Harvey’s eyewall in Rockport, Tex.
Hurricane Harvey Rockport YouTube Video
Slideshow: For southeast Texas, recovery after Harvey is slow
Town After Town Under Water in the 100 Miles From Houston to Beaumont

Hey everyone – so if you've read my latest blog post, you know that we have evacuated our flooded home, and have taken refuge with the family of my daughter's best friend. Their neighbourhood has been dry over this whole ordeal, but this morning, we woke up to this: sunny skies, but flooded streets. Because they've been releasing water from the overflowing reservoirs, the flooding continues despite the clear skies. Previously-untouched communities are now experiencing some street flooding (and worse – emergency evacuations continue), and we hear our house likely has another foot of water in it. The good news: we still believe that the neighbourhood where we're staying will escape the worst of it, and we might have a line on a place to stay and a car we can use from IMMENSELY generous friends. In the grand scheme of things, our family remains very lucky. #harvey #hurricaneharvey

A post shared by Karen Walrond (@heychookooloonks) on

Karen’s Harvey related blog posts. She has more interspersed over the last few months, be sure to check them out.

From podcast guest Nicole Poole.

One Houstonian’s Perspective on Weathering Harvey

Sara’s Hurricane Harvey Part I and Part II

(Scroll around during this time period for more photos/videos that I took)

And we've made it through Round One. Everything's still standing. Everything is very wet. We, unlike so many other neighbors, are safe and have our home. Alex and I had plenty of worries about what would await us when the waters receded enough to allow us entrance to the farm, and we have indeed been lucky. As we drove the road that leads to our farm and saw home after home underwater, cars completely submerged, fields that are now vast gulfs, people ferrying themselves down their streets in boats– the feelings of gratitude and sorrow have nearly overwhelmed us. We are so, so lucky, and we are so sad for those who have lost their homes and businesses. Offers of hospitality, labor and goodwill have come from so many of y'all out there. We are beyond grateful for them– your hearts have made all the fear much easier to bear. Round Two is still out there, and I hope we can hold fast through that one as well. We hope to offer the same generosity and selfless goodwill we've seen all around us; we'll all pick up and work together. Thank you, everyone. Our love and thoughts to those who have lost, we are holding you in our thoughts ceaselessly. #hurricaneharvey

A post shared by Moon Dog Farms (@moondogfarms) on

Hello Instagram Friends, we are doing well from the massive rainfall of Harvey. We came through the storm with very minimal flooding. The plants LOVED the rain and believe it or not, we are still having to water constantly this week. Houston has a long way to go in the recovery of Harvey and when the going gets tough, the tough get going. The outpouring of love and support from everyone in our local community plus the amazing support in the surrounding areas of Houston shows the cohesiveness of our country today. The city of Houston and surrounding communities are down but don't ever count us out. We have been working hard helping neighbors clean up and clear out debris from the storm. We will be open tomorrow. We would love to see you if you have a chance to stop by and say hi. You all make up the wonderful heart of Americans we have seen this past week. #houstonstrong #texasstrong #harvey

A post shared by Jimbo's Nursery (@jimbosnursery) on

From podcast guest Leanne Tarleton

Tropical Texana blog about Harvey.

If you made it this far in the link round ups, then I highly suggest you take a dive into Erica from NW Edible Life’s preparedness 101 posts


Ep. 3-7: Fall Edible Garden Tour


This is the first in a series of solo episodes for late fall/early winter. Back in October I recorded an audio tour of the the edible garden! I think you will enjoy this episode—there’s a chorus of crows to add some ambiance throughout the show!

All of the plants I mentioned are in the show notes. Links aren’t to any particular vendor, ie: not sponsored.

Music: “New Day” by Lee Rosevere

Download Ep. 3-7

Show Notes:
+Seminole Pumpkin
+Freezer Pumpkin Butter
+Mary Washington asparagus
+Brunswick Cabbage
+Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage
+Rosette tatsoi
+How to Make Ginger Bug
+Tonda di Parigi Carrots
+Parris Island Cos Lettuce
+Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce
+Fordhook Giant Chard
+Perpetual Spinach
+Easter Egg Lettuce
+French Breakfast Radish
+Nero di Toscana Kale

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