Moldy Grapes!

...Inedible Pickled Grape Leaves We have grape leaves. Lots of them. Our two table grape vines are a little hesitant to really bust out, but our native grape (Vitus californica) has taken over the entire south facing wall of our garden, and is threatening the neighbor’s house. The chickens like grape leaves, fortunately, so I have something to do with the prunings, but I wanted to do more. I’m a big fan of dolmas, so thought I’d tr...

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Essential System #9 – Hydration

...#8217;t have room for much rainwater storage to make a big difference, we plan on filling these drums with municipal water after the rainwater runs out. That way we will always have a few days worth of water for our vegetable garden should there be a service interruption in the warm summer months. The barrels will be hooked up to a drip irritation system designed for low-pressure gravity feed systems. While we would love to go off grid and have o...

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Acanthoscelides obtectus- A seed saver’s lament

...hat I had saved last fall, I found all of these little holes in my beans. Turns out the culprit is the bean weevil, Acanthoscelides obtectus. Their larvae make swiss cheese out of dried beans. While they can be a pest in the garden apparently they usually are a problem in stored beans. And it turns out they love our mild California winters which allow them to reproduce year round. I also looked them up on the handy dandy University of California...

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The Spice Zee Nectaplum

...r project with no income.” Dave Wilson is a wholesale nursery, so if you’d like to buy a nectaplum you’ll have to ask your local nursery to order one for you or get one online from Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply.  If you’ve got the space I’d highly recommend this tree. If I could have only one fruit tree it would be this one. USDA zones 7-9Chill requirement: 200 to 300 hours...

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Self Irrigating Pot Patent from 1917

...Lloyd Wright. From this one factoid I infer that he had money and a progressive inclination. The SIP idea took another eighty years to finally catch on. For more SIP information: Read our many posts on SIPs And visit our SIP gardening friends, the Green Roof Growers. If SIP litigation history fascinates you, read a preliminary injunction and memoradum (pdf) between the manufacturer of the Earthbox (Laminations Inc.) and a company they accused of...

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Growing and Preparing Cardoons (Cynara cardunculus)

...irrigation and planted itself. Elsewhere you would plant them a couple of weeks after the last frost and blanch them before they get too big. When I mentioned to a native plant expert I greatly respect that I had them in my garden she read me the riot act. Cardoons are remarkably resilient and invasive. Hailing from the Mediterranean, they’ve taken over large parts of the New World. The brilliant purple flowers release thousands of tin...

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Pallet Mania

A chicken coop built from pallets I’m a sucker for anything built with pallets. Why? Quite simply, they are the most useful bit of detritus in a constellation of easily scavenged items that includes used tires, milk crates, futon frames, headboards and shopping carts. Reader Mike “Garden Daddy” Millson from Jackson, Tennessee, who blogs at www.gardendaddy.blogspot.com sent me an interesting link to a Canadian pallet enthus...

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