Ask Mr. and Mrs. Homegrown

The yodeling around here is non-stop. Photo by Elon Shoenholz Hey Kids! We thought it would be fun to find out what’s on your mind. If you’ve got a question you’d like some advice on, this the place to ask. We’re best at answering questions about things like chickens, gardening, pickling and fixing bicycles. We’re not so great with questions regarding physics, Sanskrit translations or intellectual property...

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I like my chamomile stressed

...That sad little plant in the top picture may have to become my harvest plant. Uh, very pretty. But where are the flowers? The lesson here is to know your plant, and to pay attention when you’re prepping your garden. I amended that soil on auto-pilot, when I could have left one fan wedge un-turned and un-amended and the chamomile would have flowered all the better for it. To be clear, this isn’t necessarily the case for oth...

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My Sooper Seekrit Compost Pile

...doesn’t generate heat through mass, so will be much slower than a real compost pile. It is best used when the weather is warmer to help things along. And again, this isn’t what you do if you want compost for your garden. This is just one way to quietly return your kitchen waste to the earth. When Erik sees this post he’s going scream, “Luuuuuucy!!!!” and proceed to write a rebuttal explaining why a tiny compost pile...

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Why I Grow Vegetables From Seed

Chard destined for failure On the last day of a vegetable gardening class that Kelly and I just finished teaching at the Huntington, we needed to demonstrate how to transplant seedlings. The problem was that we didn’t have any seedlings at home ready to transplant, so I had to make a trip to a garden center. That sorry errand reminded me why I grow from seed. All of the seedlings at the nursery were uninteresting varieties and ro...

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Novella Carpenter Harassed by City of Oakland

Urban farmer and author Novella Carpenter is getting harassed by city of Oakland employees. From her blog Ghost Town Farm: Here’s the deal: After getting off the plane from Salt Lake City and making my way home to a cup of tea, I sit down at my kitchen table and I see this guy in a City of Oakland car taking photos of my garden. I go down and he said I’m out of compliance for “agricultural activities”. I’m supposed to get a Conditional Use...

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Deep Bedding for Chickens

...n once a year, but your mileage may vary. When you do clean it out, replace what you took with lots of new bedding. You will probably want to transfer what you harvest into a compost pile to finish up before it goes into your garden. Note: The hen house is different Our hens don’t spend any of their waking hours in the hen house, except to visit in the laying box. This means they never scratch around in there, which means this whole “...

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Hippie Heart Horizontal

...nd blowing is to look at these stalks and realize linen is made from them. Flax is notorious for falling over from its own weight if not planted close together or supported. Rosalind Creasy , queen of the attractive edible garden, makes metal grids for her flax to grow through so it stays upright. I’d been trusting the universe. And the universe worked, until the storm. They might fluff up again when they dry. Or I might go out and see i...

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Germinator Update

...ping top, especially if I lived somewhere with actual weather. Before–plastic sheeting on a flat surface–a bad idea! What was I thinking? The automatic vent lifter (available from Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply) works great, popping open the germinator to keep the seedlings from frying during the day (remember this is Southern California). The sight of my tomato seedlings was a highlight of the week: If I lived in a...

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