Tendrils: First seeds of the year sown - salad and parsley

Hello! Welcome to the first edition of Tendrils for 2017 πŸ™‚ As you can see, I’ve already sown my first seeds of the new year – mixed lettuce and parsley for the windowsill. I’ve also potted up a thumb-sized piece of ginger that came free in our veg box, and the crown of a pineapple my parents ate for Christmas. The pineapple was a bit ancient by the time it got to me, though, so it might not take….

So I guess we’ll stat with fruit. One of the plants that I had in the old garden that didn’t survive into this one is the Japanese Quince (Chaenomeles spp). Occasionally derided by traditional growers as worthless compared to a standard quince (Cydonia oblonga), it gets a better rep from permaculturalists and perennial edible fans. The Balkan Ecology Project have written a quincessential guide to growing and using Japanese Quince. I suspect 2017 won’t be the year they’re reintroduced to my garden, but you never know!

Plant scientists have discovered a tomatillo fossil that is oldest nightshade plant, dating the origins of the Solonaceae back to the time of the dinosaurs. “The outer structures may keep tomatillo berries dry β€” and afloat. β€œYou’ve got an umbrella and a life raft,” Wilf says. And it’s built right in.”

I’m not sure about tomatillos, but I’m going to be growing goldenberries again this year.

Moving on to veg, Sea Spring Seeds have got a good guide on how to grow swedes and turnips, if you’d like to get started with root brassicas this year.

My fellow ethnobotanist, Susanne Masters, has been explaining how there’s a snack food that’s mostly made out of orchid, how the craze for Chikanda in Zambia is threatening the orchid population, and why there’s hope for sustainable cultivation.

And a resurgence of saffron farming is once again providing livelihoods in rural Spain.

The Small Harvest Notebook by Emma Cooper

Mushrooms could save the world, a Victorian fern-hunting craze led to crime, romance and adventure, and Zooniverse is looking for armchair aerobotanists to explore the wonders of the Amazon rainforest from the comfort of their own home.

That’s just about it from Tendrils this week, so enjoy your weekend and I’ll be back next week with more exciting plant-linkly goodness πŸ™‚