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 suited up for halloween...

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Top Ten Vegetable Gardening Mistakes

Not ready for Martha Stewart: our front yard vegetable bed.* Some of the worst meltdowns and temper tantrums of my adult life have their origins in failed vegetable gardening projects. I thought I’d list off my top ten vegetable gardening misadventures  so that you don’t have to repeat them. 1. Not paying attention to soil fertility This is my number one mistake. Most vegetables suck up a lot of nutrients. They need lots of compost...

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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 you see above comes...

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Straw Bale Garden Update: Success!

Ladies and gentleman, straw bale gardening works. I left town for a week earlier this month and, during my absence, the vegetables in the straw bale garden exploded in size. The Tromboncino squash on the left, is threatening to envelop the entire yard.  The tomatoes are equally vigorous and covered in ripening fruit. Zucchini is on the menu. While it takes an input of outside resources in the form of straw and fertilizer, straw bale gardening i...

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Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land

We just got our hands on Gary Paul Nabhan’s newest book, Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land: Lessons from Desert Farmers on Adapting to Climate Uncertainty. It couldn’t have arrived at a better time. In the spirit of full disclosure, I heard about this book on the grapevine a good while back, and requested a review copy from the publisher because we’ve met Gary and like his work. Getting free books once in a while is one of...

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Sweet Potatoes for Breakfast

Yesterday I talked about the worst breakfast ever. Today I’ll tell you about my new favorite breakfast. Erik knows what he’s going to have for breakfast every day: Grape Nuts. He’s had Grape Nuts for breakfast pretty much every day since I’ve met him, excepting travel, special pancake-type breakfasts, or the occasional Grape Nut outage. I’ve never been a fan of the cereal myself, since I learned as a child, much to...

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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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Saturday Linkages: Soils, Prickly Pear and the Case for Going Outside

Soil diagram from the Garden Professors. Let’s get (soil) physical… https://sharepoint.cahnrs.wsu.edu/blogs/urbanhort/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=943 … The Science Behind Honey’s Eternal Shelf Life http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/science/2013/08/the-science-behind-honeys-eternal-shelf-life/#.Uh0YB1lfCUw.twitter … Open Tech Forever: permaculture/open tech startup: http://boingboing.net/2013/08/21/open-tech-forever-permacultur.html …...

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The Perfect Chicken Coop?

Do a Google image search for “chicken coop” and a solid majority of the results will look very much like this nearly 100 year old coop featured in The Gardener’s and Poultry Keeper’s Guide and Illustrated Catalog. Why is this basic design still with us? The attached run gives chickens some space to scratch around in while keeping them safe from predators if you can’t make it home by dark. You can hang a feeder in...

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