Learn about the botanical world one plant at a time. The Plant Report is a new educational podcast from Sustainable World Radio about plants, herbal medicine, heirloom seeds, ethnobotany and the human/plant relationship. Learn from experts and the plants. Thanks for listening to The Plant Report....Because Every Plant Has A Story.
The Wild World of Hops
Welcome to the world of Hops, Humulus lupulus.
In this relaxed conversation with organic farmer and Hops grower Acadia Tucker, we discuss this unwieldy and happy to be alive plant. We touch briefly on the history of Hops, which like its illustrious relative Cannabis, was once feared as a “wicked weed.” Now revered for its distinctive bitter flavor and potency as a nerve tonic, Hops is grown worldwide.
Acadia talks about the difference between a bine and a vine, how to propagate Hops, and why the European Corn Borer is such a tenacious pest for Hops crops.
We chat about what Hops needs to thrive, how to integrate Hops into your landscape as a home grower, and how It can grow so tall that farm workers in the past used to harvest it wearing stilts!
Acadia and I also discuss the chemical components of Hops and some of the nonalcoholic ways to utilize it including paper making, fiber, natural dye, and as a medicinal tea for relaxation and insomnia.
Acadia Tucker is a regenerative farmer, climate activist, and writer. Her books are a call to action to gardeners everywhere to get growing! Acadia is the author of Growing Good Food: A Citizen’s Guide to Backyard Carbon Farming and Tiny Victory Gardens: Growing Good Food Without a Yard. Acadia lives in Maine with her farm dog Nimbus where she grows Hops and other perennials. Learn more about Acadia Tucker at AcadiaTucker.com.
Other links mentioned by Acadia in this episode:
Episode 36: Have you heard of Spilanthes? In this fun and informative interview with regenerative land designer, educator, facilitator, and Spilanthes fan Javan Bernakevitch, we discuss this unique plant.
An herbal ally with a long history of use for oral health and immune support, Spilanthes is known by a multitude of common names like Electric Daisy, Toothache Plant, and Party in the Mouth. Spilanthes is a a plant whose reputation precedes it. Chewing on the flowers produces a strong tingling and anesthetic sensation in the mouth- in Javan's words, "It's like feeling a 9 volt battery on your tongue."
Javan tells us why he holds Spilanthes in such high esteem and why he believes it's a must have in any herbal first aid kit. Javan shares his growing and harvesting tips and tells us how he makes and uses Spilanthes tincture.
Javan Bernakevitch founded and operates Permaculture BC, an education and community hub in British Columbia, Canada. The principle consultant at All Points Land Design, Javan works on small to large scale landscapes. Javan also works with individual clients providing assistance on life design- how to design your life to work with, not against, your nature.
For information on Javan's work visit: AllPointsDesign.ca and PermacultureBC.com.
Here are some other links for you:
Cosmic Bob's Plan for Your Life
Javan's Spilanthes Tincture Waiting List
Envision 2021 Workshop
Wheat- An Ancient Grain for Modern Times
Episode 35: Did you know that Einkorn wheat is 27,000 years old? Wheat is one of the world's oldest grains and like it or love it, it’s been part of human life for thousands of years. Learn about this long revered and recently reviled plant with ancient grain farmer Larry Kandarian of Kandarian Organic Farms.
Larry talks about growing, harvesting, and utilizing different varieties of wheat, including Einkorn, Ethiopian Blue Tinge, Emmer Farro, and Spelt. We chat about his method of regenerative organic farming and learn why emulating a forest floor is one of the best ways to grow healthy soil and plants.
Larry also shares the exciting news of a new perennial wheat he is growing and explains why this crop could have major impacts on climate change.
Larry Kandarian is an organic farmer and ancient grains advocate who has been farming for over 50 years. Larry is a passionate land steward who grows over 1,000 different varieties of plants on his 130 acre small, but mighty farm in Los Osos, CA. A former mechanical engineer who worked on the space shuttle, Larry is on a mission to grow the grains in the most ecological way possible.
You can find out more about Larry and his grains at: Kandarian Organic Farms.
Larry also mentions the following:
Longevity Stew - his recipe for a delicious seasonal stew that helps him grow so many grains!
The Bread Lab
Salish Blue Wheat
The Land Institute and Wes Jackson
Tulsi Basil: An Herbal Ally for Our Times
Tulsi is a beautiful aromatic plant with strong medicinal qualities. In this interview with organic farmer Alena Steen of Night Heron Farm we learn how to propagate, grow, harvest, and utilize this lovely and revered plant.
Tulsi is native to India where it is known as Holy Basil. Tulsi is an adaptogen- a plant medicine that helps us with stressors of all kinds.
In this episode Alena shares her favorite ways to use Tulsi in tea, tinctures, herbal honey, and skin care. We learn about annual and perennial Tulsi, how to harvest and dry the leaves and flowers, and why Tulsi is an excellent ally for our times. We also talk about why Tulsi is Alena's number one herb to grow for beginning gardeners.
Alena Steen grew up in the deciduous jungles of the Southeast US and has spent the last decade as an organic farmer and native plant gardener. Alena and her partner Danny grow herbs and flowers at Night Heron Farm where they run an Herbal and Flower CSA.
Alena and Danny believe that growing and producing local medicine is their way to contribute to a more just and sustainable world, where healthcare is centered first within ourselves. They hope through their work to connect folks more firmly to the magic of plants.
Learn more at NightHeronFarm.org.
Note: Before consuming herbs, especially on a regular basis, be sure to research or talk to your doctor and make sure that the herb is safe for you. Tulsi may be contraindicated if you have low blood sugar or are on blood-thinning medications.
The Happiness Tree: Albizia julibrissin
Episode 33: Albizia julibrisson is one of my new favorite new trees. Commonly called The Tree of Happiness, Persian Silk Tree, and Mimosa, Albizia is native to Asia and a member of the Fabaceae family. I love its pink puffball flowers, gorgeous fragrance, whimsical nature, and potent medicine.
To learn about Albizia, I spoke with Community Herbalist and Traditional Food Ways Educator Lindsay Kolasa.
Lindsay and I start the interview by acknowledging that in some areas, Albizia julibrissin can be a weedy invasive plant. Albizia is self seeding, thrives in disturbed soil, and has very viable seeds. So please be mindful of planting it- especially if you live in a place where it can easily spread and outcompete native plants. With this in mind, Lindsay and I talk about invasive plant medicine and why it's important to learn the traditional uses of these plants.
We then dive into Albizia's long history of medicinal use. Mentioned in the Shen Nong Ben Cao Materia Medica in the 700's, Albizia julibrissin was highly valued in traditional Chinese Medicine. Albizia's flowers and bark are useful in treating insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Albizia is a "calming spirit" herb and promotes feelings of well being, peace, and (you guessed it!) happiness.
Lindsay tells how to sustainably harvest both bark and flowers and prepare them for teas, infusions, and tinctures.
Lindsay Kolasa is originally from New Orleans and Mississippi. She has taught at large conferences, such as the Southeast Women’s Herb Conference and for small groups, such as feisty garden clubs. Lindsay also ran an apothecary in the red, clay hills of eastern Mississippi, where her family stretches back six generations.
To learn more about Lindsay, visit her website at LindsayKolasa.com.
You can read Lindsay's article about Albizia here.
The Amazing Amaranth Family
Episode 32: Meet the broad and beautiful Amaranth family in this episode with farmer and seed saver Andrew McMillion. Andrew shares his experiences propagating and growing Amaranth and tells us about his favorite members in this low maintenance and resilient family including: Orach (Atriplex hortensis), Caucasian Mountain Spinach (Hablitzia tamnoides), Syrian Medieval Chard, and Strawberry Spinach (Blitum capitatum).
We touch on the fascinating history of this plant, why Andrew believes it's important to "sow your weeds", and how Amaranth provides him with food nine months of the year. If you're interested in learning how to save seeds, Andrew says Amaranth is a great family for apprentice seed savers to build a relationship with.
There's an Amaranth for every climate- just be aware that they are self seeding and some members of the family can become invasive.
Andrew McMillion works on his small farm in Norway where he stewards a large and growing collection of plants. Andrew is a Board Member and guild leader for several guilds in the Norwegian Seed Savers.
Learn more here:
Norwegian Seed Savers
Listen to a previous interview that I did with Andrew:
Earth Care- How Connecting to Nature Can Change Your Life
This is my favorite podcast, hands down. The long format provides a natural flow and enough depth to be interesting and informational. The host is kind, interested, and has a voice that is easy to listen to. I have learned a lot from these about each plant. I am so excited whenever a new one comes out.
I learned so much about Amaranth which I have in my garden. I had no idea how rich, nutritious and easy to grow it is! Thank you for your work and the brilliant people you interview. You are true heros in moving us toward a more sustainable future.
i love this podcast!!
jill is an amazing host and educator, and shes certified in permaculture design. people writing this podcast bad reviews are listening for the wrong things. jill interviews experts with extensive experience in the field that implement permaculture practices, which include SOCIAL science topics like appropriate human use of plants and bringing back traditional knowledge. if you want straight up botany lessons, you can do some googling, but i dont know why you would do that when this podcast contains such wisdom and practical knowledge. while youre googling, do some research on “invasive” plants. you’ll be surprised at how important and helpful they can be. or you can just listen to jill’s calming voice tell you all about it :)