Row Cover as an Insect Barrier

It ain’t pretty but it works.

As one would expect, cabbage leaf worms love cabbage and nearly every other member of the brassica species.  Which  is why I’ve become a real fan of row cover material as an insect barrier.

The perp in question.

It rarely freezes here so I use the thinnest row cover possible, specifically a product called Agribon-15. If you live in a cooler climate and want to use row cover for frost protection you would use a thicker product such as Agribon-30. Johnny’s Select Seeds carries Agribon row cover in lengths as short as 50 feet–plenty for an urban or suburban garden. I’ve used both PVC pipe and chain link fence tension wire as support. I secure the row cover down with pieces of rebar and bricks to keep out skunks.

What cabbage worms become.

It’s not a plug and play solution, however. If it gets hot I have to remember to pull the row cover off. And the added humidity can cause outbreaks of aphids. But overall, it works great. I’ve found that I just need to use it when tender seedlings are getting established. Once they have a fighting chance against the cabbage worms I can pull it off.

Saturday Linkages: Don’t seek the truth – just drop your opinions

Rear-cycling: Minimalist Stool Grows With Old Magazines | Designs & Ideas on Dornob 

Bastard chairs of China: 

Tiny Home With Metal Siding in Texas 

Life is swell in a fallout shelter!: 

Small, Flat-bottomed Sailboat 

Car Tent for stealth city camping: Geekologie  

Heirloom Apples, Heritage Orchards & Cideries Bring Back Food Diversity and Jobs to Our Communities

World Food Day: A Franciscan Prayer Service on Behalf of Farmers, Farmworkers & Fishers in a Year of Drought

Zen saying: Don’t seek the truth – just drop your opinions.

Health and Fitness
Fencing may help improve some cognitive functions in older people – Los Angeles Times,0,1166016.story 

Garden planter turns out to be Roman antique:  

Best Reporting on the Space Shuttle Tree Debacle
Science Center Given Approval to Remove Nearly 400 Trees to Make Way for Shuttle   

For these links and more, follow Root Simple on Twitter:
 Follow @rootsimple

Joshua Tree Earthen Oven Class

Kurt Gardella, who led an earth oven workshop in our backyard is teaching another class in November. Our oven turned out great and was amazingly inexpensive (just the cost of sand). Kurt is a great teacher and if you’d like to build your own oven while learning the art of adobe, this class is not to be missed. Here’s info on the class:

Joshua Tree Earthen Oven Class
November 2–4, 2012

Earthen ovens are inexpensive to build, fun to use, and provide baking environment impossible to recreate in the kitchen. This Fall, Kurt Gardella returns to California for three days to teach you how to make your own earthen oven. Kurt has built dozens of these ovens in New Mexico, and has great expertise in both adobe construction and earthen plasters and finishes. Attendees will leave the class with the knowledge necessary to built an oven of their own, with materials that you may already have in your yard.

The class is suitable for bakers, building professionals and do-it-your-selfers, and is a great introduction to adobe construction and earthen plasters covered in more depth in adobeisnotsoftware’s other classes.

Topics Include:

  • Local considerations and the siting your earthen oven
  • Soil and material selection, sourcing and testing
  • Foundations and oven base design and materials
  • Sizing
  • Sand Form and Oven Domes
  • Natural oven plasters and finishes
  • Firing and baking in your oven.

Instruction Type:
This is a hands-on class. Attendees will have the opportunity to get dirty and use tools and equipment typical of adobe construction and earthen finishing. Due to the course format, enrollment will be limited to 10 individuals. In the unlikely event of inclement weather, instruction will occur indoors.

Instructors: Kurt Gardella teaches adobe construction at Northern New Mexico College, is Director of Education for Adobe in Action, and is certified as an earth-building specialist by the German Dachverband Lehm.

Ben Loescher is a licensed architect, founder of adobeisnotsoftware and principal of golem|la, an architecture firm specializing in adobe construction.

Kurt Gardella measures the radius of the horno dome.

The class will be conducted in the area of Joshua Tree. Coffee and nibbles will be provided at the beginning of the day; lunch is included.

For more info on the class and to register go to Adobe is Not Software.

Please do not hesitate to contact Ben by email at mud[at] or by phone at (760) 278-1134.

A New and Improved Self Irrigating Pot System

A very cool improvement on the self irrigating pot (SIP) idea from Larry Hall of Minnesota. Rather than the two bucket system we’ve blogged about in the past (see a roundup of our SIP resources here), Hall uses one long rain gutter to supply water. He’s even got a clever double rain gutter system for growing strawberries that I’m tempted to try on our back patio.

I spotted this video on Inside Urban Green always a good source for SIP related news.