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The Benefits of Duckweed- Podcast now available

August 11, 2014

Tamra Fakhoorian This was a fun interview I did with Mike Podlensy of the Average Person Gardening Show last week. Mike has ordered his first batch of duckweed starter and is going to grow it in his garden now as well.

Quoting his Facebook site:

“In this week’s episode, Mike heads west to the blue grass state of Kentucky and interviews Tamra Fakhoorian, an industry leading expert in the field of duckweed.

Tamra is going to tell us all about duckweed’s uses in food, fuel, water filtration and how many other countries are using duckweed as part of their sustainability.

From there, Tamra is going to take you step by step so you can get started growing duckweed, which species to use, and how to use them to help improve the soil structure in your home vegetable garden.

That, and so much more on this week’s Vegetable Gardening Podcast!

In this episode, here’s what we’ll cover:

-What is duckweed
-Various species of duckweed
-How to grow duckweed
-How to use duckweed in your garden
-International Lemna Association
-Ongoing research about the benefits of Duckweed “

New ILA Member Wild-harvests Duckweed in Heart of Brooklyn

July 29, 2014


Harvesting Duckweed with a Pitchfork

July 21, 2014

Ken Carman, naturalist from Roxbury Park, Hollywood SC, demonstrates how he harvests wild duckweed using a simple pitchfork. He only harvests duckweed on windy days when the lemna bunches up to more than three inches deep.  He estimates that he has harvested over twenty tons of duckweed this way over the past two years. What does he use it for? Compost and chicken feed.  Visit for some the best photos of wildlife you’lll see in the region.

East Duckweed Coast Tour

July 20, 2014

Am traveling this week on a duckweed bioprospecting hunt. In addition to collecting lots of cool duckweed strains, look forward to visiting fellow duckweed friends and associates from the South Carolina coastal regions northward to New Jersey. Am kicking off the week with a visit to Ken and Brenda Carman and take a tour of the new Roxbury Park in South Charleston County, SC where Ken is caretaker/naturalist.Ken is the duckweed affectionado that discovered lemna growing underground after being buried for 15 months in a mulch pile. I hope to get a sample of the strain.

Drove 700 miles yesterday after an informative training session for Toastmaster governors in Indianapolis, IN. Love my new TM friends! Such go-getters.

I knew I needed to give it up for the night when the thought of curling up in my backseat in the parking lot of a truck stop started looking real appealing. I drove on another twenty miles though and found a room at 2:00am. Those truck driver days are over.

Basement full of water

July 6, 2014

I have a rental home that was vacated a month ago and the power turned off. I have been terrifically busy on duckweed projects so I didn’t get around to prepping the house in order to put on the market until just yesterday. I had to go down into the basement for something. Imagine my surprise to see a quiet, shimmer of a deep pool of water instead of a dry concrete basement.  If it had been a swimming pool, it would have had a marker stating, “3.5 ft deep No Running.” I noted the  bobbing washing machine and dryer tethered by hoses and cords. Then I nearly cried at the sight of my two-year old, relatively new electric water heater, drowning quietly in the corner. What the heck? How did THIS happen? What do I do? HELP!!!

Naturally this event has fallen on a holiday weekend.

“It’s just water,” I reasoned and came up with a holiday weekend fix. This morning, I enlisted the aid of one of my sons  to help me load up my beloved trash pump and hoses from my ponds. It only took 45 minutes to move all that water to a now-flooded backyard. (300 gal/minute- that pump doesn’t mess around.)

Who knows what the basement will look like in the morning as my electricity won’t get turned on for at least a day or two and I don’t know if it is because of a broken water line or all the rain we’ve had lately plus a sump pump without electricity. How do people cope with this? I turned off the main breaker but don’t know what else to do. Are my appliances and water heater ruined for good?

Has this happened to you?




Duckweed in the News

July 4, 2014

Last OnGoldenPondweekend, a television crew lead by Mychaela Bruner from News Channel Six in Paducah, KY came out to do a second story on my duckweed developments. Here is the link to the video.  I am very thankful for the interest and support by News Channel Six, my local community and state leaders.


Duckweed Project Interview Aired Last Night

June 30, 2014

For the verbal post, you can click here. Am waiting for the video link. The interview went well, although Yaught’s battery started dying in the middle of showing how cool a solar-powered boat was in a duckweed pond and claiming that it always had plenty of power all summer long. When I tried to hand-tighten the battery post connections, I got my fingers royally burned. Murphy’s Law in action keeps me humble.



For $10,000- What is the Smallest Flowering Plant on Earth?

June 24, 2014

If you guessed Wolffia, you’d be right!  You’d win big at Jeopardy but sorry, there is no payoff from my blog site. On the bright side, you’d be in an elite but growing circle of duckweed folks “in the know” and now have the potential for looking pretty smart in biology class. Yes, Wolffia is the world’s smallest flowering plant. You’d have to line up 40 of the little green potato-like buggers end-to-end to make an inch. They flower and produce seeds but well… it’s a rare occurence and even I have not gotten to witness the holy event. They reproduce mainly by budding and reproduce like crazy when awash in fresh water containing ample nutrients. Wolffia is the fastest growing plant on the planet, doubling in weight every 24-48 hours, and up to 50% dry weight of the closest thing to animal protein that Nature can offer. Here is a shot of a couple of species that I am currently growing.  Tastes like lettuce, cabbage, and a hint of spinach. Disclaimer:  Even though folks in South Asia eat it routinely, don’t go around eating wild-harvested Wolffia as our immune systems are simply not up to snuff.

The World's Smallest Flowering Plant- Wolffia

Duckweed Booth at the Fair

June 20, 2014


Educational booth this week in Mayfield, KY. “Feed the goldfish some duckweed and look thru the microscope at the world`s smallest plant.”
Kids and adults alike have enjoyed learning about all the cool things they can do with duckweed.

Lasagna Method of Duckweed Compost

June 10, 2014

Recipe for Lasagna Duckweed Compost


Ten pounds old newspaper/cardboard scraps

One wheelbarrow full of fresh dripping wet duckweed

Three broken bales of old rotting hay or straw

five gallon bucket of kitchen scraps (optional)


Site your compost pile near your garden if possible or IN your garden as in sheet composting between rows you don’t plan on walking on much initially. Layer 2 inch layers of each ingredient on top of each other and repeat until all ingredients are used up. Be sure to top off with either duckweed or the hay/straw layer. Water in until water begins to drain from bottom of pile. The duckweed will continue to retain water for the pile for the next few weeks as it heats up and decomposes. No need to turn this pile as the layers allow for air circulation.

Note: Duckweed is the nitrogen boost for the carbon layers of hay and paper/cardboard.




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