Happy New Year!

Happy New Year and many thanks to all of you for supporting this blog and contributing comments, suggestions and opinions. Thanks to all of you who have bought our book and thanks to our brave and innovative publisher Process Media. We have one resolution for the new year: to tinker/experiment/garden/problem solve/explore and have fun doing all these things, laughing and learning from our failures as we go....

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The Squirrel Menace

In our garden squirrels are a serious problem. Their worst offense is grabbing avocados off our tree, taking a few small bites and then dropping them on the ground for our Doberman to finish off. This year only five avocados made it into the kitchen. Today’s New York Times has just about the only effective solution. Anyone for squirrel tacos with guacamole? “With literally millions of squirrels rampaging throughout England, Scotland...

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Plymouth Rock Monthly

What magazine had 40,000 subscribers in 1920? Answer: the Plymouth Rock Monthly, a periodical devoted to our favorite chicken breed. We have two “production” Barred Plymouth Rocks in our small flock of four hens, and we’ve found them to be productive, friendly and, with their striped plumage, an attractive sight in our garden. While the internet is an amazing resource for the urban homesteader, there are a few holes in this ele...

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Whiteflies

The upside to garden pests and diseases is getting to do a little amateur backyard science. Any excuse to mix up a martini, pull out the microscope and take a close look at things and we’re all over it. This week’s happy hour entomology comes thanks to a infestation of white flies living on the underside of our tree collards. I believe the specific culprit pictured above is the greenhouse whitefly, Trialeurodes vaporariorum which, de...

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Tomato Review #2 Banana Legs – it don’t look like a banana and it don’t got legs

...over the sides of the planter, probably reducing our yield. Here’s the way we normally cage our tomatoes when we’re not too busy blogging. You can also check out Bruce F’s nice staking system for his rooftop garden in Chicago. Verdict: we gotta get some of those Power’s Heirloom seeds next season, but I’ll save a few of the Banana Legs seeds for the sake of variety....

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Daikon Radish!

...things, as perverse as that may sound to folks in the rest of the US. But for us, some combination of bad timing (not getting stuff in early enough), depleted soil and cold temperatures have contributed to a less than stellar garden. But in the midst of this failure we’ve had a few successes. Last year we made daikon radish pickles from radishes we picked up at our local farmer’s market. (see here for our post and a recipe). This year...

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An Echo Park Weed Salad

...ence. Oxalis is sometimes known as Iron Cross Plant because of the shape of its leaves–see the Plants for a Future Database entry on Oxalis for more information). It’s a relative of sorrel, which we have growing in our garden and has a similar taste. Oxalis contains vitamin C, but also contains oxalic acid which can interfere with calcium absorption, though you’d have to eat vast quantities to have an ill effect. As Klehm pointed out, thes...

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Mallow (Malva parviflora) an Edible Friend

...them along. If that ain’t enough, the mucilaginous nature of the plant can be exploited by making a decoction of the leaves and roots to use as a shampoo, hair softener, and treatment for dandruff. And yet, like so many other gardening books, the oh-so-bourgeois Sunset Garden Guide only tells you how to get rid of mallow, and fails to note its many useful qualities....

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June: National Bathroom Reading Month

...gazine. We love Backwoods Home for its informative articles, unedited and rambling letters to the editor and for the outsider artist who does all the illustrations. Imagine Martha Stewart Living with columns on both vegetable gardening and tips on disassembling your AR15. We’re not libertarians ourselves but with both mainstream presidential candidates supporting warrantless wiretapping we’re beginning to see their points. Best of all...

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