Plantain!

...us up to their front porch for a glass of wine, but also sent us away with a couple of plantains harvested from their next door neighbor’s tree. It’s exactly what we’d like to see more of–folks growing food instead of lawns and everyone sharing the abundance. While there’s a lot of banana trees in Los Angeles they tend not to yield edible fruit since our climate is not quite hot and humid enough. But plantains, judg...

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Roundup

...his grounds. Otherwise, to my knowledge, no studies have since emerged on Roundup. For more information look to the following sources:Professor Gilles-Eric, [email protected] Information Center Institute of Science in Society The prevelance of glyphosate in store bought foods is yet another reason to grow your own vegetables and fruit if you can. As far as weed control goes, there are some weeds such as crabgrass which are very di...

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Tomato Report II: Franchi Red Pear

...to is a beefsteak variety we’ve grown for several years. It tastes phenomenal either fresh or cooked. From the Seeds from Italy website: This is an old North Italian variety specially selected by Franchi Sementi. It is an indeterminate red, pear-shaped beefsteak. An outstanding producer of huge (as in 8-18 ounce) very tasty fruit. Great fresh eating. Early for such a large plant (70-75 days).  This is not the small pear shaped tomato...

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Straw Bale Garden: What I Learned

...rden–April on the left, November on the right. The straw bale garden I started this spring has been one of the most successful vegetable gardens I’ve ever planted. In fact it’s still producing well into November. Here’s what I learned from the experiment: Plants that suck up a lot of nitrogen, like squash, do well in a straw bale garden. My tomatoes flourished but, due to the high nitrogen, made more leaves than fruit. I&...

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Grub

Why start the day with the Wall Street Journal when the real excitement is to be found in periodicals such as Backyard Poultry Magazine? While our broke nation can’t afford missile shields or moon trips anymore, at least it’s comforting to read in the pages of BPM that the citizens of Bonner Springs, Kansas can visit the brand new National Poultry Museum. This month’s issue of BPM also has a fascinating article by Harvey Usse...

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Worm Composting

...hey won’t get enough grub or if you are some kind of hippie vegan they won’t be able to keep up with the waste). You must also sift and separate the worm casings from the worms themselves from time to time. One advantage to worm composting is that you can theoretically locate the worms under your sink, providing a close destination for disposing of your kitchen scraps. However, you can find yourself with unpleasant smells and fruit fl...

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Book Review: A Feast of Weeds by Luigi Ballerini

...ook–it assumes you already know how to identify the plants Ballerini is discussing. I had one quibble with the chapter on prickly pear cactus–you do not need to peel the pads to eat them. This is an understandable mistake for an Italian to make. For some odd reason only the people of the New World eat the pads of prickly pear–in the Mediterranean and Middle-East, where the plant has been imported, only the fruit is consumed. I&#...

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Compost Pail Comparison

.... But the honeymoon ended quickly. I recently bought a pail that I like much better. So I thought I would share the information. So the pail on the right, with the holes on the top is my old compost pail. The pail comes with these removable carbon filters. A word to the wise. Never, ever purchase a product like this. I am convinced that it is a poor design, made to force you into buying more carbon filters. I actually had fruit fly larvae embe...

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Hoshigaki Season

...hoshigaki is different than what you would get if you just put persimmons in a dehydrator. And if all goes right the sugar comes to the surface making it look like the fruit has been dipped in powdered sugar. If you can find them in a Japanese market they are extremely expensive. And the ones I saw at our local market were vastly inferior to my homemade hoshigaki. I added some details to the instructions I posted last year. Don’t hesitate t...

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Reforming City Codes

...hat will take years. Both Napoleon and the Roman emperor Justinian inherited law books so bloated that they used their dictatorial powers to sweep them away and start fresh. We can’t do that in a democracy. I owe and apology to the many civil servants who, DRBREW points out, have to enforce contradictory and nonsensical codes. A few years ago I was part of a group that helped change the code in LA that made it illegal to grow and resell fru...

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