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
 
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…
 
The Plantrama Partners-in-Plants start by discussing how to eat the parts of plants we often toss out or put into the compost. Next, we talk about growing new plants from the seeds that you might see right now in your perennial garden. We end by answering a listener’s question about what might make a shrub or tree turn bright colors very early in a…
 
In this end-of-August episode, C.L. and Ellen discuss how to tell why the leaves on your plant are turning yellow. They explain that noticing which leaves are yellowing, and where they are, can help explain why this is happening. Next the Plantrama team explains some botanic terms, and discusses what to forage for or plant in your vegetable garden …
 
The Plantrama team talks about ideas for pasta salad and reipes using pineapple weed. We get you thinking about transplanting in the fall, discuss how to manage plants that self-seed just a bit too enthusiastically, and answer a listener’s question about scale. :30 What’s for dinner: Pasta Salad and Pineapple Weed 5:14 Eat/Drink/Grow: Preparing for…
 
The Plantrama duo discuss caffeine as an insecticide, and talk about corn, which is a grass and a great deal more. The episode ends with a discussion of picking green apples. :36 True or False: Caffeine is a natural insecticide. 7:42 Eat/Drink/Grow: Corn: it’s a vegetable! It’s a biofuel! It’s livestock food! It’s an autumn decoration! 18:49 Love L…
 
In this 200th episode of Plantrama, Ellen and C.L. celebrate with cake! Hear about Ellen’s berry pudding cake and C.L.’s beet cake. Next we talk about where to plant if you’re running out of room (remember topsy-turvy tomatoes?) and whether it’s okay to pack vegetables into a raised bed. 2:45 What’s For Dinner: Unusual cakes 8:13 Eat/Drink/Grow: Wh…
 
In this episode Ellen and C.L. talk about the blueberry harvest, soil acidity or alkalinity, Hydrangea paniculata plants, spraying foliage with water in hot weather and a magical way to control weeds. (And no, there is not magic wand for weeds…let’s just get that cleared up before falsehoods start to be spread. :40 What’s for Dinner: Blueberries 7:…
 
The Plantrama team talk about your outdoor office; making places on decks, patios, porches or even in the woods where you can work and create. We take a deep dive into Daylilies, and answer a listener’s question about mosquitoes. This episode is being brought to you by our friends at www.rainwand.com 1:30 Insider Information: Your Outdoor Office 5:…
 
C.L. and Ellen celebrate the summer season by talking about grilling, fertilizing, and carnivorous plants. We also discuss dealing with deer and growing edible plants in windy, urban situations such as rooftops and terraces. :38 What’s for Dinner ; Grilling: farmed and forager 6:00 Plant noob: Fertilizing 13:05 Eat/Drink/Grow: carnivorous plants 19…
 
We begin with summer cocktails in this best of Plantrama episode, then go on to talk about summer pruning, hail and dealing with storm damage. Ellen and C.L. are also united in their dislike of landscape fabric. 1:51 What’s for dinner: Summer Cocktails 6:46 Insider Information: Hail 9:36 Eat/Drink/Grow: Summer Pruning 14:54 The Plant Noob: Landscap…
 
In this “best of Plantrama” episode Ellen and C.L. encourage you to roast your veggies and foraged foods, whether you’re serving them immediately or freezing them for the future. We badmouth the use of mothballs in the garden, talk about the role of bacteria and answer a question about gardening in clay soils. :42 What’s for dinner: Roasted vegetab…
 
In this “best of Plantrama” episode Ellen and C.L. encourage you to roast your veggies and foraged foods, whether you’re serving them immediately or freezing them for the future. We badmouth the use of mothballs in the garden, talk about the role of bacteria and answer a question about gardening in clay soils. :42 What’s for dinner: Roasted vegetab…
 
The Plantrama team presents farmed and foraged edibles for the end of June, and discusses how to tell if your plant-ID app has given you a correct identification. We celebrate The Year of the Monarda, and why beebalm has a place in most gardens. Plus Ellen and C.L. and talk about Japanese beetle control. :37 What’s for dinner: End of June foraged f…
 
C.L. and Ellen discuss how weed seeds have an amazing ability to rest dormant in the soil for years. We peel back the layers of Artichokes, review a book about growing a mini fruit garden, and discuss keeping citrus trees happy indoors. :36 Plant Noob: Weed seeds remain viable for decades…so 6:43 Eat/Drink/Grow: Artichokes 17:49 Book Review: Grow Y…
 
Ellen and C.L. discuss whether human urine helps with critter control in the garden and they talk about a favorite shrub, Sambucus, aka elderberry. The episode finishes with a discussion of changing the pH for a potted hydrangea so that the flower turns from pink to blue. :40 True or False: Urinating around the garden can keep deer or rabbits away.…
 
In this episode of Plantrama Ellen and C.L. answer a listener’s question about growing male Cannabis plants. They explain why it’s good to pinch many newly planted annuals, what nitrogen-fixing plants are, and celebrate an early summer cocktail hour. :27 What’s For Dinner: It’s the cocktail hour in June! 3:58 Eat/Drink/Grow: Nitrogen-fixing plants.…
 
In this episode Ellen and C.L. discuss plants to grow or forage for with the barbeque in mind. They explain that not all microorganisms are good for all plants, give suggestions for great annuals, and talk about cutworm protection. :40 What’s for dinner: Gearing up for the BBQ season. 7:30 Insider Information: Mycorrhizae and beneficial bacteria 12…
 
Do you need shade for your outdoor office? Want a low-maintenance, colorful landscape? Do you hand-water your vegetable plants or want to make your hydrangea flowers blue? This episode addresses all of these issues! :29 Your Outdoor Office: Ways to make shade 7:10 Eat/Drink/Grow: Dwarf Conifers 20:19 Insider Information: Hand-watering your vegetabl…
 
C.L. and Ellen discuss the internet-based rumor that you should dig a square hole when planting trees, and give suggestions for plants to grow on small trellises and arbors. We finish with a discussion about how to know if a perennial plant will reliably return, or if it’s a “temperennial.” :40 True or False: Plant trees in square holes 7:41 Eat/Dr…
 
The Plantrama team discusses growing and foraging for asparagus, reviews a lovely book about public gardens you ought to see, and answers a listener’s question about the weed called nightshade. They also disagree about topiary…C.L. loves them, Ellen? Not so much. :32 What’s For Dinner: Asparagus ~ wild and garden grown 9:48 Eat/Drink/Grow: Topiary …
 
C.L. and Ellen tackle the myth that earthworms can grow once cut in half. They extol a favorite vine, the Passiflora, celebrate World Carnivorous Plant Day with margaritas, and discuss water-filled plant protectors. :27 True or False? Earthworms regrow. 3:53 Eat/Drink/Grow: Passion flower vines 14:05 Insider Information: World Carnivorous Plant Day…
 
Spring plants are first and foremost in this episode as we talk about cress, foraged and farmed, the Year of the Hyacinth, and two spring flowers, Ranunculus and Bellis perennis. Ellen and C.L. tell Paul why old carpet might not make the best mulch. :40 What’s for dinner: Cress wild and tame. 10:13 Insider Information: The National Gardening Bureau…
 
In this episode we talk about the white perlite in potting mixes, spend the main segment talking about edible flowers, and answer a question about why a listener’s zucchini plants aren’t producing well. :30 Plant Noob: What are the white specks in my pots? 3:41 Eat/Drink/Grow: Growing Edible Flowers 17:43 Love Letters and Questions What’s with the …
 
Ellen and C.L. talk about whether fertilizing is always a good thing, and they take a deep dive into the genus Rhododendron, which includes what we commonly call azaleas. Then they answer Candace’s question about whether her spouse’s pruning of the blue hydrangeas is grounds for divorce. :33 True or False: Fertilizing never hurts…right? 7:57 Eat/Dr…
 
Today we discuss garden-grown and foraged food with earthy flavors, and do a deep dive into the importance of soil temperatures for planting, soil activity, seed germination and growth rates. We end with a discussion about what you can expect from houseplants in the winter, and how to decide which plants are appropriate for an area that’s sunny in …
 
If you think that pesto has to be made of basil, think again! Ellen and C.L. talk about spring pestos, how quickly plants start to photosynthesize, and discuss the pros and cons of various types of mulch. We end with a question about the best fennel to grow if you want the seeds. :34 What’s for dinner: Spring Pestos! Make pesto before the basil has…
 
In this episode we define some terms that plant geeks toss around, and give you a recipe for figuring out what’s wrong with your houseplants. If you’ve ever wondered why fertilizer is called “plant food” or how lichen can grow on a rock or your roof, this is your podcast! :28 Plant Noob: Semi-Evergreen? Sub-shrub? 3:39 Eat/Drink/Grow: Diagnosing pr…
 
C.L. and Ellen rave about green flowers, explain the difference between aggressive and invasive plants, and discuss the common belief that sunflowers poison other plants. Plus we answer Meredith’s question about why cut flowers don’t grow roots. :40 True or False: Sunflowers poison other plants 5:19 Eat/Drink/Grow: Green Flowers! 14:51 The Plant No…
 
Did you know that a spring tonic doesn’t have to be a drink? Hear Ellen and C.L. talk about tonics, what to do if you’ve started your seeds too early, the definition of direct sowing and vegetables for hot climates. :30 What’s For Dinner: What’s your spring tonic? 4:57 Eat/Drink/Grow: Starting seeds too early. 15:31 Insider Information: What does i…
 
In this episode you’ll hear about ways to prepare the chard, kale or other greens you froze last summer. Learn why water beads up on some leaves, all about Cannas, and if hydrogen peroxide is a good thing to use on plant problems. :30 What’s for dinner: Greens from the freezer 4:22 Insider Information: What are “Hydrophobic leaves?” 8:55 Eat/Drink/…
 
Ellen and C.L. explain what a “standard form” plant is and why you might want to plant the perennial yarrow in your landscape. Hear a rave review of Jessica Walliser’s new book about science-based companion planting, and learn about vole trails. :30 Plant Noob: What’s a “standard?” 4:13 Eat/Drink/Grow: Achillea, aka yarrow 14:16 Product Review: Pla…
 
If you’re wondering about sterilizing soil for seed starting, growing peppers in your vegetable garden, or the best water for your houseplants, this episode is for you. :30 True or False: You should bake garden soil in the oven, then use it to start your seeds indoors. 5:35 Eat/Drink/Grow: Growing Peppers 19:53 Love Letters and Questions: Kari wrot…
 
:30 What’s For Dinner: Fennel 7:04 Eat/Drink/Grow: Epiphytes – what they are, some common houseplants that are epiphytic, and what this means for how we care for those plants. 15:03 Insider Information: What are pelleted seeds? 19:44 Love Letters and Questions: Melissa writes about paperwhite narcissus. Ellen and C.L talk about growing fennel, what…
 
In this episode of Plantrama we talk about essential herbs to grow or forage for, pinching plants to make them bushy, African violets and a Zoom houseplant event in February. :28 What’s for dinner: Essential herbs to grow or forage for. 7:40 Insider Information: “Pinching” tips off of plants to make them bushier. 12:33 Eat/Drink/Grow: African viole…
 
Ellen and C.L. discuss plants that male or female, how some plants are used to remove harmful substances from the soil, and why it might be good to test old seed instead of automatically tossing it out. :27 Plant Noob: Dioecious plants 8:33 Eat/Drink/Grow: Phytoremediation 16:48 Love Letters and Questions: Karen wrote to ask about the seeds she has…
 
The Plantrama team discusses the clearly fake rainbow tomatoes, growing the wonderfully real jade plants indoors, and Ellen’s new craft cocktail class. :30 True or False: Rainbow Tomato Seeds 3:17 Eat/Drink/Grow: Jade plants: Crassula 13:29 Insider Information: Ellen’s online craft cocktail course 17:30 Love Letters and Questions: Anthony writes as…
 
Hear ideas for making quiche or frittatas, learn about earthworm castings and why it’s good for plants, and discover a cactus that grows in most of North America. :36 What’s For Dinner: Quiche or Frittata 5:55 Eat/Drink/Grow: Earthworm Castings. 15:52 Insider Information: Opuntia humifusa, prickly pear cactus 21:56 Love Letters and Questions: Anne …
 
In this New Year’s Eve podcast, Ellen and C.L. raise a glass to toast a better year ahead. Hear about small in-home greenhouse/terrariums, learn about “pencil cactus,” and listen to our answer for Quinn, who wants to fertilize his Ohio lawn in the winter. :30 What’s For Dinner: Celebratory Cocktails 6:04 Eat/Drink/Grow: Tiny Home Greenhouses 12:57 …
 
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