My favourite DeliDahlia in bloom - Hoamatland.

Welcome to Tendrils! Your weekly recap of the most interesting internet information on plants and gardening. We start this week with a bit of history….

The Maris Piper – a famous potato variety – is 50 years old this year. There’s a whole blog devoted to it, with a page devoted to the science that went into breeding Maris Piper, which is more interesting than it sounds.

You can read, or listen to the strange, twisted story behind Seattle’s blackberries, which is about Luther Burbank and his experimental farm. It’s a shame he’s not still around today, I think I would have liked him 🙂

The Planthunter takes a trip back in time to the gardens of Alcatraz, which shows the lengths some people will go to grow plants in places that plants don’t grow by themselves…

And if we take a look at how Americans gardened 260 years ago, we can see how little has changed – at least for organic growers.

Going back a bit further, Atlas Obscura tells us about Darnel, a plant that, as wheat’s evil twin has been intoxicating humans for centuries.

And going back almost as far as it’s possible to go, it’s time to hail the humble moss, bringer of oxygen and life to Earth, which played a crucial role in creating the conditions in which other forms of life (like us!) could thrive. Thanks, moss!

Dobies artichoke offer

Back to the present, where many organic growers (including me) promote the use of comfrey in the garden. But does comfrey really improve soil?, asks the Permaculture Research Institute.

Meanwhile, Mike Shanahan investigates the oft-repeated claim that figs contain dead wasps. He should know, he’s written a book about figs. Ladders to Heaven has just been published, and a copy sits beside me as I type, waiting for me to read it.

Bon appétit explains how to cook with Job’s tears, a

a chewy, versatile, mildly sweet and earthy Asian grain that, while still hard to find, has caught the eye of a few discerning cooks across the country.

They don’t mention its scientific name, but they’re talking about Coix lacryma-jobi, a plant that is sometimes grown as an ornamental grass.

Meanwhile, this NZ Life explain why a messy orchard can do wonders for your fruit, and why Cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris, they give its scientific name! Woot!) is the home orchard-keeper’s best friend.

I’ll leave you this week with news of a forthcoming event. The launch of the Seed Co-operative Community Share Offer is taking place on 17th September, at Ryton Organic Gardens in Coventry. It’s part of the Biodynamic Conference, you can’t just pop along for the evening 🙁 but hopefully the details will filter out after the event, as it sounds quite exciting.

In the meantime, enjoy your weekend and Tendrils will return next week!

Jade Pearls and Alien Eyeballs bargain

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