Saturday Linkages: A Mega-Reference for Homesteaders

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CD3WD: A Mega-Reference for Homesteaders

CD3WD: A Mega-Reference for Homesteaders http://brinkoffreedom.net/homesteading/cd3wd-mega-reference-homesteaders/?utm_source=feedly …

BreadStorm http://www.farine-mc.com/2013/09/breadstorm.html …

Get Fit Like a Wild Man: A Primer on MovNat http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheArtOfManliness/~3/6JaxlN5A7Kc/story01.htm …

Tooth Fairy goes pneumatic http://hackaday.com/2013/09/13/tooth-fairy-goes-pneumatic/ …

Making Nikola Tesla a Saint Makes Us All Dumber http://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/making-nikola-tesla-a-saint-makes-us-all-dumber-1308034624 …

Let’s really make backyard hens legal in Pasadena CA! http://www.change.org/petitions/let-s-really-make-backyard-hens-legal-in-pasadena-ca?share_id=QwPdcnLXHr&utm_campaign=twitter_link_action_box&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=share_petition …

Is it better to bike or run? http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/29/ask-well-is-it-better-to-bike-or-run/ …

How Chris McCandless Really Died http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2013/09/how-chris-mccandless-died.html?mbid=social_retweet …

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

Tips on growing great garlic

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This week I’m at the National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa, California. Kelly is at home, tending to our herd of milk cats. Yesterday I learned a lot about garlic.

Garlic is one of those crops well worth growing if you’ve got the space. Why? unless you know an heirloom garlic farmer, the stuff you buy at the supermarket is one of just three bland varieties. According to garlic expert Jeffrey Nekola, who spoke yesterday, garlic has twelve times more information in its DNA than we humans do. Meaning, that garlic is a plant capable of vast biodiversity.

Cultural needs

When I asked a garlic farmer I met yesterday how to grow garlic he said, “It’s like giving a credit card to your wife . . . you’ve got to give her all she wants.” When I asked him to clarify, he told me that garlic requires as much compost, nutrients and water as you can spare. Nekola said he doesn’t even plant garlic unless he’s prepped his beds for at least two to three years and noted that one of the best heads of garlic he ever grew took root accidentally in a compost pile.

Pull the garlic cloves apart (leave the skins on) and plant them in the ground with the pointy end up. Nekola suggests planting them with a tablespoon of soybean meal (found at feed stores as animal feed). Nekola also recommended mulch. Let the garlic sprout first, but then pack down at least an inch of straw. Lay your drip tubing under the straw.

When to plant varies by location but it’s usually sometime in the fall. For us in Los Angeles the farmer I spoke to suggested October 1 as a planting date, but noted that he “usually screws up” and doesn’t get the garlic in until October 9. No doubt I will screw up even worse and not get the garlic in until November 1.

Thereafter, it’s a waiting game. Garlic takes a good six months to mature. You harvest most types of garlic when the stalk is nearly brown. And don’t forget to pick off the flowers if they appear. The flowers pull energy from the plant that is better spent making big cloves. The flowers are also edible: some farmers are actually making more money selling the flowers as culinary exotics.

Growing garlic in hot climates

I’ve had mixed success growing garlic in Los Angeles. It turns out I was growing the wrong varieties. Most garlics appreciate cold weather, including some time spent under a blanket of snow. For hot climates you need to grow Creole garlics that, come from the Iberian peninsula. Pictured above are some of the Creole garlics on display at the Expo.

One quirk with Creole garlics is that the cloves don’t develop until the last second. Nekola cautioned about picking them too soon. You have to really wait until the stalks are almost totally dead. And Creole varieties take a very long and sunny growing season.

For more information on garlic varieties, Nekola maintains an encyclopedic garlic website at:  http://sev.lternet.edu/~jnekola/Heirloom/garlicFAQ.htm

Saturday Linkages: Loving LA and Gardening

GreetingsFromLosAngeles

Gardening
R U pine nuts? https://sharepoint.cahnrs.wsu.edu/blogs/urbanhort/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=944 …

Mulch Addiction http://landscapeofmeaning.blogspot.com/2013/08/mulch-addiction.html …

Intermingling and the Aesthetics of Ecology http://landscapeofmeaning.blogspot.com/2013/08/intermingling-and-aesthetics-of-ecology.html …

Heritage Agri-tourism as a Strategy for Promoting the Recovery of Heirloom Vegetables, Grains, Fruits http://garynabhan.com/i/archives/2240 

Tiny Gardens in Greenwich Village by Susan Harris http://gardenrant.com/2013/08/tiny-gardens-in-greenwich-village.html?utm_source=feedly …

I love LA
Christopher Nyerges loves LA: http://christophernyerges.blogspot.com/2013/08/to-love-la.html …

10 Things To Get Over About Los Angeles And 10 Things It Will Teach You To Love http://www.buzzfeed.com/iang18/10-things-to-get-over-about-los-angeles-and-10-thi-eg04 …

Los Angeles: A History of the Future: http://issuu.com/metroeco/docs/lahof …

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Make that 11 Vegetable Gardening Mistakes

inconsistent watering

In my post, Top Ten Vegetable Gardening Mistakes, several readers and Mrs. Homegrown pointed out that I left out “inconsistent watering.”

I plead guilty. I would also suggest an “absentminded” watering category, such as setting up a irrigation system on a timer and not adjusting it throughout the season.

And those of us in dry climates could also be better about selecting and saving seeds for drought tolerance. Gary Paul Nabhan and the folks at Native Seed Search are working diligently on this problem.

Now excuse me while I go check on my drip system . . .