Picture Sunday: A Winter Harvest in Florida

Root Simple reader Noel Ramos sent the picture above of some local fruit grown in Florida to remind us that winter gardening is big there too. Noel grows over 500lbs of fruit and veggies every year on a quarter acre city lot. In the picture: Canistel, Rollinia, red navels, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Carambola, pineapple, sapodilla, sugar apple, dwarf Cavendish bananas, ambarella, jaboticaba, jackfruit flowers, papaya, lemon and red palm fruits (inedi...

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Sources for Interesting Perennial Crops

A fruitless search for a fruiting olive tree caused an existential crisis here at the Root Simple compound. With a few exceptions, most nurseries in Los Angeles cater to the mow and blow set. You’re more likely to find parts for your leaf blower and a flat of petunias than anything worth growing. Good luck finding olives. In the midst of my frustration I stumbled upon a interesting list, put together by the USDA, of retail nurseries and p...

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Deadly Nightshade vs. Black Nightshade

I spotted the sign above at the Heirloom Festival in Sonoma. The sign made the claim that “deadly nightshade” is actually a choice edible. Unfortunately, there’s considerable confusion over the popular name “deadly nightshade.”  The plant most commonly referred to as “deadly nightshade,” is Atropa belladonna, which is a highly unpleasant and toxic hallucinogen. “Black nightshade,” Solanum ni...

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Gardening Tip: Senecent Seedlings

...plants which are old before their time. Seedlings which are senescent. What are senescent seedlings? Basically, these are seedlings whose roots have met the bottom of their container.  See, plants have their own intelligence and follow their own internal clocks. If, for instance, a little tomato seedling spends enough time in a tiny pot or shallow flat, its roots will reach the bottom of the container. When it meets this resistance, it will star...

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Pop Quiz Answer: Pineapple Guava

forms late in the year, which is also nice, since so few other fruit trees bear so late. But yes, I’m sorry, like so many things we mention here it is plant that prefers a warm climate. It’s hearty to 12 degrees, and generally recommended for zone 8 and up, though I think some people have successfully grown it in colder places with special care. But when grown in a climate which is comfortable for it, the pineapple guava is a really...

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Back to the Ranch

Ranch photo from the Huntington’s Ranch blog. I’ve never had so much fun at a symposium as I did at the Huntington’s urban agriculture blow-out this weekend. The two day event launched the Huntington’s new experimental urban agricultural station known as the “Ranch” and featured a diverse bunch of speakers. The Ranch will provide much needed information on edible landscapes and food forestry, particul...

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Cure for Prickly Pear Stickers

Mrs. Homegrown here: Hallelujah! Last night, our friend Oscar (genius man!) told us how to deal with the dreaded, pernicious, invisible prickly pear fruit stickers (glochids) which somehow end up embedded in my hands every time Erik brings one of those fruits in the house. The answer? Pumice stone. It’s so simple. Just rub the site with a pumice stone. I think it just shaves off the top part of the stickler, and then lower part works its...

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What We’re Going To Do About That Lead

White sage, yarrow, rosemary and aloe vera–the kind of plants we’ll be planting more of. Let’s assume that we have a lead problem in our backyard. That’s a big assumption at this point because we now have two very conflicting test results. But, for the sake of an argument, let’s say the first alarming test is true, what are we going to do about it? These are the options: Radical remediation: Remove all t...

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Gifts for the Holidays Food Crafting Workshop

One way to avoid the consumerism of the holiday season is to make your own gifts. And if you live in our hometown you can learn how to make edible gifts while supporting the recently revived Los Angeles Master Food Preserver program. From their announcement: Join the Master Food Preservers of Los Angeles County and Homegirl Cafe for a special workshop and fundraiser on Sunday December 4th from 1 to 4 pm. Master Food Preservers Ernest Miller, Fe...

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Saturday Linkages: From The Woodsman Workout to Crafting With Your Cat

...Ideas on Dornob http:// dornob.com/indie-furnitur e-diy-construction-made-accessible-hip/  …  2 boards, 1 seat: http:// dornob.com/2-boards-1-sea t-simple-diy-two-plank-chair-construction/  … Food Preservation FreshTech Jam and Jelly Maker Review http://www. foodinjars.com/2012/09/fresht ech-jam-and-jelly-maker-review/  … Cats ‘n Crafts Catification: Creative Table Leg Cat Scratcher http:// jacksongalaxy.com/2012/09/08/cat ification-crea...

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