Fruit Tree Maintenance Calendars

Where we live, it’s the time of year to prune and deal with pest issues on fruit trees. The University of California has a very helpful page of fruit tree maintenance calendars for us backyard orchard enthusiasts.  The calendars cover everything from when to water, fertilize, paint the trunks and many other tasks. You can also find them in one big handy set of charts in UC’s book The Home Orchard. The permacultura...

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Who Wants Seconds? Book Giveaway

...LA’s coolest caterer, Jennie Cook. When I hear about an event she’s working I always try to skank an invitation. We had her caterer an event for us a few years ago and it was at that dinner that I first encountered Jennie’s legendary vegan lasagna.  That was the best lasagnas I’ve ever eaten. I considered developing connections at the NSA that would allow me to get my hands on that recipe. Thankfully, w...

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How To Capture a Bee Swarm With Kirk Anderson

Swarm season is here in Southern California and will arrive elsewhere in North America with the coming of spring. In this video, beekeeper Kirk Anderson shows you how to catch a swarm. It’s the best way, in my opinion, to get bees to start your own hive. Why? Swarms, unlike packaged bees, are free. They are also local, meaning the bees know how to deal with your micro-climate. To capture a swarm you: Spray the swarm with a mixture of w...

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Black Widow or False Black Widow?

...if this particular spider might be a false widow, Steatoda grossa, or a male black widow, Latrodectus hesperus? It’s about 1/2 inch in size. UPDATE 5/10:  After reviewing the evidence, I believe this is a false black widow. However, my trouble are not over, because it turns out that they do have a venomous bite, apparently somewhat like a mild black widow bite. Here’s the bite intensity scoop according to UC IPM: black widows: obviou...

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Self-watering terracotta seed-starters!

Root Simple reader and all around nice person Anne Fletcher has gone entrepreneurial with a really good idea: self-watering containers for seedlings. Most anyone who has ever tried to start a garden from seeds has had the experience of having seedlings die or go shocky due to a heat wave or a day or two of neglect. Starting seeds in a self-watering container makes a whole lot of sense. These containers can go up to a week bet...

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Whole Grain Baking Class With Craig Ponsford

...upe du Monde de la Boulangerie gold medalist Craig Ponsford. Craig will be coming to Los Angeles November 19 and 20th. Registration is on the LA Bread Baker’s meetup page. Here’s more info on the class: Join award-winning baker Craig Ponsford in a six-hour hands-on exploration of baking with whole grain flour made from California wheat. Craig’s demonstrations will feature four of the following: English Muffins, Cinnamon Morning...

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Turnip Greens via The Silver Spoon

It took us way to long to discover that turnip greens are edible. They’re better than the turnips themselves, in our opinion. So how did we finally figure this out? The answer is by thumbing through a cookbook everybody interested in growing their own vegetables should own, The Silver Spoon*, which has a section devoted just to turnip green recipes. The Silver Spoon is a 1,263 page cookbook recently translated into English. It’s the...

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It’s Official: The End is Near

...aren’t eating him out of house and home. Growing demand for corn based ethanol, a biofuel that has surged in popularity over the past year, has pushed up the price of corn, Mr. Smith’s main feed, to near-record levels. Because feed represents farms’ biggest single cost in raising animals, farmers are serving them a lot of people food, since it can be cheaper. Connecting the stories and ads in the WSJ is our favorite game to pla...

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Essential System #9 – Hydration

...can go about three days without water, but you’ll be feeling mighty crabby after just a few hours without it. We’ve got a number of water sources around the homestead, with a few more back-ups in the works. First off it pays to have some plastic water jugs around – figure two liters a day per person minimum. There are stricter standards for tap water in this banana republic we call the USA than for bottled water so don’t...

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Dookie in the Tomatoes

...ncentrating them so close together further facilitates the spread of exotic strains of all manor of nasty things including salmonella. 2. Manure from the feed lot either runs off accidentally onto a neighboring tomato farm or is exported as fertilizer intentionally. At some point, manure gets on a tomato, either on the farm or after being shipped. 3. A salmonella infected tomato arrives at a centralized packing facility where it is loaded into a...

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