Violet plantss

Welcome to Tendrils! This is my weekly, slightly random round-up of things about plants I have found of interest on the internet. So put the kettle on and find a chair, and check out my recommended reads for this weekend.

This week The Simple Things have been looking to how to make your own ink, with several suggestions using pigments from the plant world – tea leaves, walnuts and elderberries. Sounds like a fun, if messy, project for a rainy day, and we’ve certainly had plenty of those this month!

Awkward Botany has returned to the topic of growing potatoes on Mars, looking at the NASA project to try growing potatoes in the Atacama Desert, which is used as a Mars analogue for all kinds of things. Gizmodo, on the other hand, thinks that there’s a much better choice than potatoes for our first space farm, in which they look at what the first goals of farming in space will be.

If plants in space are your thing then you should really take a stroll through my space gardening archives 🙂 Lots of good stuff in there, including potatoes.

More down to Earth, the Foodways Pilgrim has been uncovering the hidden history of Chayote in recipe books, and includes a recipe for Chayote salad. Now, if I could only get chayote to grow….

If you interested in unusual edible plants then you may like the new Cultivariable Growing Guide: Sixteen Rare Vegetables for the Pacific Northwest, in which plant breeder William Whitson takes you on a tour of sixteen vegetables that are rarely seen in North America. The Kindle version is currently available for a free download (this is the UK link) – probably until the early hours of tomorrow morning, so get in quick!

Last week’s Tendrils got a little frisky, talking about plants that have been considered to be aphrodisiacs (of which there are, it turns out, a lot. Alison from The Backyard Larder tweeted to tell me that I wasn’t even safe with seaweed because

In Belize you’ll get a wink and a giggle for just mentioning a desire for seaweed
which is from a website entitled eat something sexy!

Despite that, I shall share some seaweed (which, technically, are plants-like algae and not plants) links this week, with a note that you consume them at your own risk 😉 Behind the French Menu introduces us to Algue or Algue de Mer – Seaweed in French cuisine:

France’s use of seaweed in the kitchen has a history as long as that of Japan. French recipes for seaweed are found in late 15th-century cookbooks and more are added today.

Meanwhile, Food52 explains How to Cook Hijiki: The Least Seaweedy Seaweed of All and The Plate remind us that we need to Thank a Female Phycologist for Saving Seaweed. Kathleen Mary Drew-Baker was a British scientist who studied algae, and in 1949 she published a landmark paper that saved Japan’s nori farmers, put sushi on tables worldwide, and paved the way for international seaweed cultivation.

Now, since I opened with a photo of violets, which are just starting to come into flower in my neighbourhood, I’m going to finish with a way of using them. The VIOLETTE – (Viola cocktail) recipe from Maddocks Farm Organics looks like a lovely way to celebrate the arrival of spring. It may even warm my feet up…!

Have a good weekend, everyone, and don’t forget if you find a stonking botanical read you can always share the link in the comments 🙂

Looking for gardening offers and deals? Do you want to plant your garden for less? I have started posting all the deals I receive in a new Facebook group, so come and have a look!



This blog post was written by Emma Cooper and was published on The Unconventional Gardener website. If you're reading it elsewhere you may want to navigate away from plagiarised content.

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