Cha Cha Chives
These lovely Cha Cha Chives are currently available from Sarah Raven.

Welcome to Tendrils! The weekend is approaching, and it’s time to settle back and review the best plant-related material the internet has to offer.

Gardeners and foodies everywhere are no strangers to anticipation – waiting for the first asparagus, or the first strawberries, or even the first tomato of the season. In Turkey they’re waiting for the first unripe plums, which are traditionally thought of as a savoury treat. But you can make them into crumble, oh yes.

To celebrate National Salad Month, a Smithsonian librarian would like to introduce you to Acetaria: a discourse of sallets. Printed in London in 1699, this historic volume was the first book devoted to salads. It certainly wasn’t the last.

The author of Acetaria, John Evelyn, was one of the founding fathers of the ‘eat more raw’ concept, and would no doubt be thrilled that scientists in the Netherlands are trying to grow veggies in Mars soil so that future astronauts can do just that. It’s not real soil from Mars, of course – the cost of that would literally be out of this world. They’re using NASA’s synthetic regolith, which is made from sand found in an Arizona desert if you want the Moon version, or crimson “soil” from a volcano in Hawaii if you’re pretending to be on Mars.

Astronauts will probably never get around to harvesting garlic scapes, but there’s some how to information and recipes there for more Earth-bound gardeners who are growing hardneck garlic varieties.

And likewise Mars colonists may never have the space to grow their own dyes, so life on Mars might be quite monochrome. But interested gardeners here can plant a dye garden, which is something I would like to try one of these days.

free plants offer

Regular readers of Tendrils will know that it an get a little… earthy… but this week it’s not me talking dirty – Flora’s Forum is dishing the dirt on dirt.

Since we’re already drifting to the seamier side of the garden, let’s also examine the sinister, secret history of a food that everybody loves, and which – according to one study – is making you ill. We had bacon and chips for tea the other night; we like to live dangerously 🙂

If you prefer to play it safe then there are plenty of other things you can grow and eat in your garden. If you fancy the Cha Cha Chives pictures at the top of this post (I am sooooo proud of them, they’re lovely!) then you might find it useful to know 5 ways with chives.

Or there’s How to cook and prepare bamboo shoots, and why they are so good (and good for you) and stuffed nasturtium leaves. I’ll have to wait a little while to try those – my seedlings are still tiny, and would be impossible to stuff.

In the meantime, though, I do have plenty of chives, and my mammoth sea beet featured in the first barbecue of 2016, so I can’t complain!

Enjoy your weekend, everyone, and be nice to plants!

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