Growing Watermelons

...l evenings, is not the best place for melons as we tend to get powdery mildew, a white fungal growth that covers the leaves. However, our watermelon vines seem to be resistant to this problem, unlike the cantaloupes that we’ve tried to grow in the past. Lesson: watermelon is happier in our climate than cantaloupes and cucumbers. 2. Plant early varieties. While producing smaller fruit, early watermelon varieties get you to harvest faster. Th...

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Interview With Apartment Gardener Helen Kim

...at my place, it was nice at least to figure out I could use my windowsill as a kindergarten (I started a lot of these from seed in little peat pots) before sending them off to bigger pastures. And, since I visit every two weeks, I always come back home with an armload of this or that. I’ve had a strawberry plant that is doing pretty nicely these days at my place, but not bearing much fruit… so I’ll be shipping him off mom’s i...

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L’hamd markad – Preserved Salted Lemons

One of the big problems with citrus trees is that you get a whole lot of fruit all at one time. There are two ways to deal with this–share the harvest and/or preserve it. Homegrown Revolution has done both this week by mooching some lemons off of a friend’s tree and preserving them by making one of the essential ingredients of Moroccan food, L’hamd markad or preserved salted lemons. L’hamd markad is easy to make. HereR...

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Picture Sunday: Amazon’s “Rasta Imposta” Squirrel Costume

If I get one of these and run around the yard would squirrels be so confused that they’d leave my fruit trees alone? From the Amazon reviews: it even comes with nuts By squirrelman When I first saw this squirrel costume, I went a little nuts (pun intended ). I starting buying one for everyone I knew. My wife, kids, lawyer, dentist, family practitioner, our local barista, and even my boss. Needless to say, we all suit...

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Hens in the Orchard for Pest Control

Photo: hencam.com Author Terry Golson, who blogs at HenCam.com, sent along a great pest control tip in response to our thrip post–chickens, of course! Chickens and orchards go together like gin and tonic. The hens take care of pests, clean up rotten fruit, add nitrogen to the soil and the canopy of the orchard protects the hens from hawks and heat. Plus you get eggs and meat. Permaculture in action. The 1920s era photo y...

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Mutant Squash

...edictable. with accidental squash hybrids tending to get tough. But some hybrids are a crap shoot that pays off. The SurviveLA compound has wild cherry tomatoes that have self-seeded for years with excellent results–producing some of the best tomatoes we’ve ever eaten, with no work whatsoever on our part. But this summer they seem to have hybridized again and now yield less flavorful fruit. More information on the botany of pollinatio...

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Top Ten Vegetable Gardening Mistakes

...;t like clay soils and warm temperatures. Cabbage gets lots of pests here. Some veggies are best to outsource to the professionals at the farmer’s market. 4. Not having a plan My brain, to put it politely, is non-linear. If I were to overcome that cognitive flaw and plan out how much and where things should be planted I’d have both a steady supply of produce as well as a more attractive garden. 5. Not labeling plants What kind of ok...

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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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Why is My Squash Bitter?

...interesting hazard with bitter out-crossed Cucurbitaceae. According to Tony Glover, regional extension agent at the University of Alabama, The bitter taste of squash and cucumbers comes from a natural organic compound called cucurbitacin . . . which can cause severe stomach pains. If the fruit are extremely bitter you might as well pull the plant up and start again because they will not likely become un-bitter. Cross-pollinated freak seeds are...

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