There are moments when audacity pays off. For years – years! – I’ve been full-on Fan Girl for garden writer Lee Reich. Lee’s been writing incredibly useful, readable books and magazine articles for decades and I’ve been learning from his expertise for about as long as I’ve been gardening.
So when I heard Lee was going to be in the Seattle area teaching people how to landscape with fruit, I dropped him a line and asked if he’d be willing to join me on the Grow Edible Podcast. To my rather huge shock and excitement, he said yes. So if I sound nervous in this interview, keep in mind I’m basically casually chatting pawpaw varieties with one of my gardening heroes.
Join us today as we discuss:
- What is soil, and if it’s the same as dirt.
- Lee’s Top Five Picks for uncommon fruits: gooseberries, alpine strawberries, black currants, shipova, and Nanking cherries.
- What a pawpaw tastes like, and what early ripening pawpaw cultivar is best for short season climates.
- Juneberry shrubs, a widely-planted, tough-as-nails ornamental with a delicious berry.
- What berries Lee loves for juicing.
- The first steps for setting up a luscious landscape of edible fruits.
- How to simplify backyard orchard management and set yourself up with a lower maintenance edible landscape.
- What unusual edibles have local commercial viability for small farms.
- How Lee simplifies very complex scientific and horticultural knowledge into informative, beginner-friendly books.
- What gardening myths Lee wishes would just go away, including the hard facts on fungally vs. bacterially dominant soil, compost tea and gardening by the moon.
- Lee’s upcoming events in the Seattle area – go see him!
Resources for Today’s Episode
- Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden, Lee’s presentation on rare and lesser-known edibles, is taking place on Saturday, August 9, 2014, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the WSU Mount Vernon Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center. Details here.
- Luscious Landscaping with Fruits: A Lecture & Garden Tour with Dr. Lee Reich is taking place on Sunday, August 10, 2014, from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm at Magnuson Park in Seattle. Details here. Buy tickets here.
- Lee is presenting at the 2014 Joint Conference of the Home Orchard Society, North American Fruit Explorers and the California Rare Fruit Growers. This conference is taking place from August 5 to August 9, 2014 near Portland, OR. Details here.
- Lee’s website and excellent blog.
- Lee’s books. I particularly recommend Landscaping with Fruit, The Pruning Book and Weedless Gardening.
- The type of steam juicer I use when I need to convert a lot of fruit into juice easily.
I’m giving away a copy of Lee’s book Landscaping with Fruit. I love it. With super lush photos, it’s garden porn at its best, but its full of great practical info too. For ambitious fruit growers who want to create their own luscious landscape, this book is one of my top recommendations.
To be entered to win a copy of Landscaping with Fruit, just leave a comment on this post with the answer to the podcast trivia question. You’ll find the trivia question right up in my intro, and Lee gives the answer over the course of our conversation.
Giveaway closes Wednesday, August 13th 8 pm PDT. Winner will be notified by email. One entry per person, open to U.S. addresses only.
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The theme music for the Grow Edible Podcast is Rodeo, graciously provided by my dear friend, the supremely talented Kristen Ward. You can find Kristen’s music on iTunes and Amazon. Rodeo is off the Last Night on Division album – it’s one of my favorites!
Perpetual hat tip to Erik and Kelly of Root Simple, the cool Godparents of the urban homesteading movement. Erik and Kelly put out a sharp and edutaining podcast in addition to writing great books, running a fantastic blog and generally spreading their urban farm wisdom far and wide. They graciously allowed me to steal their phrase “audio companion.”3