Saturday Tweets: Mini Gabions and Citrus Liqueurs

Compostable Holiday Decor

wreath3

Yesterday evening I was out in the back yard trimming our perennials (yep, it’s very California to be working in the yard the day before Thanksgiving) and afterward I twisted together a wreath out of what I’d cut: mostly lavender, with some strawberry tree branches, white sage and toyon berries. All I did was attach the green bits with wire to a thin branch I’d bent in a circle.

The wreath was spectacular last night. This morning it is a bit wilted, as the picture shows, but still nice. Properly, if a wreath is to last, it should be made of dried stuff and/or evergreen boughs. We’ll see what this one does over the next couple of days. I’m not bothered if it doesn’t work, as it only took about a half hour to make, and I made it more for the pleasure of the making than anything else.

It is worth remembering that you can throw together a wreath or swag or centerpiece out of whatever fresh plant matter you can find, and it will look fresh for the rest of the day. It’s really nice to have fresh, fragrant greenery on the walls and tables for parties. Here’s a thoughtstyling for you: maybe holiday decor should be as compost-able as the food, so we don’t end up burdened with boxes full of low-grade novelty holiday items which have no future outside a thrift store–kid art and family treasures excepted, of course!

026 Riding a Bike in Los Angeles with Colin Bogart

Colin Bogart of the LACBC. Image: Tropico Station.

Colin Bogart of the LACBC. Image: Tropico Station.


In episode 26 Kelly and I interview Colin Bogart, Programs Director at the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, about how to ride a bike in the city, commuting by bike and the politics of making our communities more bike friendly.  Colin shares his experience of growing up in the suburbs and how he got back into riding a bike. During the discussion (fueled by a bottle of wine, I’ll note) we discuss:

If you want to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to rootsimple@gmail.com. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. The theme music is by Dr. Frankenstein. Additional music by Rho. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.

The Biochar Solution

Image: Wikimedia.

Image: Wikimedia.

I have a built in, knee-jerk skepticism when it comes to the “notions and potions” school of gardening–the idea that some special substance will magically transform dead soil into a lush garden. That was my first reaction to biochar.

But it turns out that there’s something to biochar. This informative research summary from the University of Washington, Biochar: A Home Gardener’s Primer, changed my mind. According to U of W, biochar can:

  • Improve soil texture
  • Upcycle waste materials
  • Increase microbial life
  • Bind heavy metals (this is a big selling point for me with our lead and zinc contaminated soil)

U of W suggests purchasing biochar rather than trying to make it yourself. According to the authors its not easy to achieve proper pyrolysis at home. And they caution that biochar can cause problems for acid loving plants and worms.

I’m interviewing a biochar expert for our podcast today. Look for that episode in two weeks.

Have you used biochar? What do you think of the purchased versus home brew options?