The Growing Potential for Algae – Part one

Our interview this week is with Bill Sosinsky and Joe Ravet, it's all about the amazing properties of algae and  the work being done today that could transform many areas of our lives. This fascinating interview is in two parts, with the second part coming next week.



Algae has some fascinating uses :-

As an Energy Source –  a 737 plane flew from Houston to Chicago on fuel derived from algae, way back in 2011

algae for jet fuel

As a Fertilizer – from as long ago as the 16th century, seaweed has been used a fertilizer.

As a source of Nutrition – China has been consuming Algae for over 2000 years, they harvest over 70 species as does Japan, Ireland, Chile, Wales,Korea, California, New Zealand, Hawaii, Scotland, Greenland and Iceland to name a few. It was an ingredient in Aztec foods.

Oils obtained from some algae  have high levels of unsaturated fatty acids,others essential omega 3 fatty acids.

As a Pollution control –  treating sewage with algae, reducing the use of toxic chemicals that would be used. They can absorb fertilizer run off from fields. Aquariums can be filtered by algae

As a Pigment  – alternative to chemical dyes

As a Medicine – helping fight malnutrition, immune health, reducing cholesterol

algae 3

Amazingly  there could be more than 72000 algae species worldwide.

You can hear our interview with Bill Sosinsky and Joe Ravet on iTunes at Growing Trends or here on our podcast just click below to hear 

We would love to hear from you, our email address is

GT114 Eat your Roses

It's that time of year again, as we move from Spring into Summer all sorts of tasty treats abound in our gardens, our interview today is with a lady who has taken this to a new dimension.

Eat your roses

Ann & I caught up with Denise Shreiber recently to interview her about her fascinating book, all about edible flowers.

Being a transplanted 'Brit' it was interesting to hear that her book was born after a trip to England where she sampled 'Rose Petal Ice Cream', Here I was, under the illusion that everyone visited our wonderful gardens and stately homes for the good old English cuppa with perhaps a scone, butter, jam and clotted cream !

You can listen to Denise here…

GT113 Do you suffer from Allergies?

It’s allergy awareness week in  England .

Allergy Awareness

A subject that has become more and more important to my family over the past few years.

My grandson Callum was born with severe allergies , which appear at the slightest opportunity, so much so that my daughter Nathalie has developed a huge number of allergy free recipes, started a company to help others with young children with allergies, has been featured in the newspapers, magazines and on television.

You can read more here – The Intolerant Gourmand

This prompted Ann and I to start some research to see how many children and adults are affected.

We were really surprised at how many people suffer severe allergic reactions, how this has exploded across the whole of the USA, partly it seems due to the demise of the Elm trees. You can hear more about this from Tom Ogren in our latest interview.

Nathalie  had explained  Callum, was a baby boy with severe eczema & food allergies,makes for an interesting journey of discovery!


We found only one food pantry offering  exclusively gluten free and allergy free food in the USA.

in OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – It’s opening next month in Overland Park, Kan.

The ReNewed Health Food Pantry, it’s located at 87th and Antioch, will be holding its grand opening on May 13th.

In England rules for premises selling food changed back in December 2014, This has resulted in all premises selling food, whether freshly made or packaged, to provide details of any of the top 14 allergens used. It is still early days, and there has been some resistance, but there are signs that eating out with allergies is improving.

The medical profession in England is also beginning to realise the prevalence of allergies and how many more people are now presenting with serious allergic reactions in hospital – 20,000 attendances last year alone, with over 12,500 of those being an emergency situation!

Here in the USA , Ann and I were fortunate to interview Tom Ogren about his fascinating , very informative book  about Allergies in the garden, this is a must read for avid gardeners everywhere.

Allergy-Fighting Garden, cover

You can hear our interview with Tom  at or on iTunes at Growing Trends

We would love to hear your thoughts and comments,


GT112 School Garden Projects have many positives, you can hear many of them here.


Is this really salad ? it tastes so good like this !

Ann & I were fortunate to talk to three amazing ladies from Tennessee a little while ago. They wanted to start a school garden at their school, here is their story, the school garden is now in its third year.

Raised beds

Some of the main points we heard were:-

It's essential to have teacher as well as parent support.

Take time to plan carefully

Initially growing from seed is harder , due to the school calendar. 

Choose plants that will fit into this schedule.

The children want to take ownership of their plants !

Educating children in the different choices of produce increases the varieties they will eat.

Children really take pride in taking home to their family the produce they have grown.

In a blind radish test, the children could tell which were home grown as opposed to store bought and much preferred home grown !

strawberry picking

Ann & I would love to hear from you.

If you would like us to put you in touch with these wonderful ladies,or if you would like more information on starting your own school garden just send us an email to Growing Trends and we will be in touch. If you would like us to interview you, send us a picture of your garden along with contact details, we will be adding a section to our web site specially on School garden projects.

Thank you Penny, Peggy and Emily, this was a fascinating interview.

Ann & Chris





GT111 Eating fresh local food

Here in the USA its Spring, time to think about fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs. It's even more important this year with the continuing drought in California where a lot of the countries fresh produce is grown as they now have a mandatory 25% reduction in water use.

If you are growing at home one of the most effective methods that has passed the passage of time is Mel Bartholomew's  – Square Foot Gardening method – Ann and I will be interviewing Mel very soon.

Square Foot Gardening

Before we do, Ann and I were privileged to interview Nellie, she is a young mother who is passionate about eating fresh produce on a low budget.

Our interview is inspiring for those who want to find the best way to eat fresh local food. Nellie explains how to balance your budget and yet find good healthy fresh food.

This is one very astute young lady, who is passionate about food – her mum tells me,she is also a great cook..

GT106:Sustainability for the world today.

Ann and Chris interview Rich Sapienza and Bill Sosinsky  we talk about sustainable solutions for the world today.

It's fascinating, interesting and very enlightening.


Sustainability must work on its own, grow on its own, support itself with the built-in ability to endure and grow naturally. There must be a plan. As long as we rely on subsidies and philanthropy as the means by which we re-establish our sustainable balance on this planet, we are ultimately doomed. This lack of strategy insures we run out of sufficient monies way before we have fully addressed these essential challenges. The simple answer is that everything must work together and their needs to be a singular general vision that incorporates the best efforts of all the contributing parties

GT103:Patti talks about her Bees & Bee keeping

Honey beePatti is one of those rare ladies, an expert bee keeper and a fascinating speaker. Listen to her explain the intricate lifestyle of the honey bee, it's truly fascinating and very educational.

We visited Patti at her lovely country home one Saturday morning.

GT103:Weston Red Barn Farm

Red Barn Farm

We called in to the farm early one morning, just as the sun was rising, to talk to Steve before his busy day had got into full swing.

A trip to the Weston Red Barn Farm is like visiting a turn of the century working farm.

In the spirit of preserving the American dream of farming, the Red Barn Farm offers visitors the opportunity to experience a real working farmstead. We feature traditional farm animals and crops. In addition to the working farm, we offer school tours, a country store featuring our fresh produce, facilities for weddings and bonfire/hayride events and a fall festival where families can come pick pumpkins and apples, take a hayride and enjoy the country.

GT101:Kelly’s Garden

Kelly was an inspiration, sitting in her beautiful garden was almost spellbinding.

Take a listen and tell us what you think ?

"Finding happiness in a garden – how it's done at the Kelly Gallery"



GT100:Iconic Gardens of Kansas City – a must visit when in town

Ann & Chris sit down with Duane Hoover horticulturist at the Kauffman Memorial Gardens Kauffman memorial garden 2 and then Jan Schall , Sanders Sosland Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art