All is Fire

...“Healthy investments are those that produce goods that humans need to consume, not flat-screen TVs. Stocks are not a robust investment. Make sure you have a garden that bears fruits.” Amen to that. Taleb’s book, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable along with Seneca’s Letters from a Stoic and the fragments of Heraclitus are what I point people to when they ask, “so why do you do these things, garden...

Continue reading…

UMass Soil Testing

...to aerated compost tea. However, soil foodweb testing makes intuitive sense to me, though I have not tried it. You can read her interesting Soil Biology Primer here, and make up your own mind. There’s also an excellent book based partially on her research, Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web. Thanks to Cool Tools for the tip on UMass....

Continue reading…

I drank a bottle of MiricleGro and then got on my riding lawn mower

We’re deep in the middle of the deadline for our next book, coming out in November–more on that soon! Today some links: Solar hot air collector made out of soda cans. Built-It-Solar Blog. From the two steps forward and three steps back department. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa attends a groundbreaking ceremony for a school garden. So far, so good. But it’s sponsored by Scott’s MiracleGro who chipped in some do...

Continue reading…

Laundry to Landscape Legal in LA

...s. Kinda like prostitution in Holland–keep it out in the open and you’l have less . . . shoddy plumbing. See Art Ludwig’s excellent website to see how to install your own laundry to landscape system. His book, Create an Oasis with Greywater is also highly recommended. And, if you’ve got a laundry to landscape system, make sure to use Oasis Biocompatible Detergent ....

Continue reading…

Avatar: I’m not lovin’ it.

...spends his last days on earth deep in the woods at his fathers remote cabin. Once in space Kelvin loses touch with reality. His dead wife appears to him, simultaneously real and virtual. Jerry Mander describes Solaris in his book Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television: “Without concrete reality, which is to say, contact with their planetary roots, they are adrift in their minds: insane. All information has become believable and n...

Continue reading…

Coffee Chaff Chickens

...n house, and as we all know, trees don’t grow on trees. But what’s a good alternative to shavings? Yesterday, Lyanda Haupt, author of Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness , a beautifully written book about crows and the path of an urban naturalist, posted about an intriguing chicken bedding possibility: coffee chaff, a byproduct of coffee roasting. You should go read about it. Maybe we all can’t access the ch...

Continue reading…

Bantam Returns

Homegrown Neighbor here: I’ve been busy in the garden and letting the neighbors focus on their book, so I haven’t been blogging in a while. But today something very special happened that I have to share with you, dear readers. My bantam chicken, Debbie, the lighter colored chicken in the photo, disappeared last week. She simply didn’t come in at chicken bed time. This is very unusual. The chickens usually all line up and go...

Continue reading…

Barefoot Running: No Shoes, No Problem

...d less around the house. I began to feel a noticeable difference immediately. My feet felt stronger. In the past few weeks I’ve begun to carefully transition to running barefoot. I’m using a program adapted from a book, Run Less, Run Faster:  minus all the advice about shoes: I only run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, resting on all other days. Week 1: (run 1 minute walk 2 minutes) x 4Week 2: (run 2 minutes walk 2 minutes) x 3Week 3:...

Continue reading…

Vertical Vegetables

...y naturally, say pole beans, grapes, peas or kiwi or that can be convinced with a bit of pruning to go vertical, such as tomatoes, melons and winter squash? Mel Bartholomew has some nice vertical gardening tips in his classic book Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space! . Build some raised beds next to a wall or saw cut out the concrete, plant in the ground and you’re in business.With some slings for the fruit, you can even grow wat...

Continue reading…