Jujube and Goji Fever

...own herbicides. We ended up planting them elsewhere in the yard, since our black walnut area is a bit too shady, and we’ll report back on how they do. Supposedly the leaves are edible as well, for those of you keeping score on the alternate uses of fruits and vegetables. Note that the Papaya tree nursery is by appointment only and can be reached at (818) 363-3680. No mail order except for miracle fruit berries (see those strange berries and some...

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Growing Watermelons

...d. Was it worth it from an economical perspective? Probably not since, due to a combination of not so great soil and an improperly installed drip irrigation system, I only got two melons from one vine. But, learning from these twin mistakes, I suspect that next year’s watermelon harvest will be larger, and two other watermelon vines I have going (in a better location) already have a few fruits developing on them. Some things I’ve lear...

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Physalis pruinosa a.k.a. “Ground Cherry”

...find it in American supermarkets, which only seem to carry things that have been shipped for thousands of miles and are therefore both durable and, inevitably, tasteless. Cultivating strange things like this is one of the best arguments for growing your own food–access to flavorful and exotic fruits and vegetables. The very similar Cape Gooseberry (Physalis perviana) is commercially cultivated in many places in the world but is not conside...

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Lord of the Flies Inspired Bike Rack

Homegrown Neighbor here. When I saw this unique piece of public art/functional bike rack I just had to stop and take a picture to share.  I was on my way home from the Central Library, where I had checked out some books on Belgian beer for a project I’m working on. I walked up Broadway to catch the bus home, stopping at Grand Central Market on the way. But outside the market I saw this truly strange sculpture with many bikes locked to it....

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Rain Barrels

...additional water once established. But it’s still nice to have citrus trees, salad greens, rapini, beets, and other fruits and vegetables that do need supplemental irrigation. For these types of plants it’s possible to supplement municipal water with rainwater collected in barrels. You can purchase commercial barrels made of this purpose, but it’s also possible to construct your own using surplus barrels with the same improvise...

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Damned Figs!

...et a feral fig tree grow. Unfortunately this tree produced fruit with the texture of Styrofoam packing materials and the flavor of . . . Styrofoam packing materials. We tried everything from drying to making jam with these accursed figs but never got satisfactory results. During the day flies laid their larvae in the fruits yielding gooey masses that would drop to the ground to provide rotting fig feasts to visiting rats and possums. We replaced...

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Home cooking advice?

...t home now, I’m only cooking Italian and Middle-Eastern foods. (Of course there are many different Italian and Middle Eastern cuisines and cooking traditions, but these broad labels are enough for now.) I am neither Italian nor Middle Eastern–my native regional dish would be a steak with a corncob on the side–but I live in a Mediterranean climate, and the vegetables and herbs and fruits used in these cuisines thrive in my yard,...

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Eight Things to Consider When Saving Vegetable Seeds

...ty to reduce the risk of crossing. One way around the population size requirement is to crowd source the problem and get a bunch of friends to grow the same vegetable. 5. Space requirements Some biennials get really big in the second year. You’ll need to make sure they have space and won’t shade out other plants. 6. When to harvest Fruits harvested for seed may need to stay on the plant for a long time. For example, eggplants that y...

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Kent’s Composting Tips and Secret Weapon

...itchen scraps. I also add a couple shovels-full of rich soil to get things started, particularly with some worms and bugs to propagate the new pile. I’m not fastidious about what goes in, so the occasional fish and chicken scraps and leftover cat food gets into the mix, even oily stuff, but mostly it’s the usual veggies, fruits, paper napkins, etc. Though experts say no fats should go in, I’ve yet to see (or smell) a problem. Each time I add new...

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Saturday Linkages: Loving LA and Gardening

...spx?ID=944 … Mulch Addiction http://landscapeofmeaning.blogspot.com/2013/08/mulch-addiction.html … Intermingling and the Aesthetics of Ecology http://landscapeofmeaning.blogspot.com/2013/08/intermingling-and-aesthetics-of-ecology.html … Heritage Agri-tourism as a Strategy for Promoting the Recovery of Heirloom Vegetables, Grains, Fruits http://garynabhan.com/i/archives/2240  Tiny Gardens in Greenwich Village by Susan Harris http://gardenrant.com/...

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