Apron Contest Winner

Homegrown Neighbor here: We have a winner for our apron giveaway . I received a lot of great entries. It was fun to hear what each of you would do in an apron. I’m happy to say that we have a lot of interesting, witty and crafty readers. I even received some international entries. I wish we could give you all aprons. But Katie Presley made me laugh, so I had to choose her as our winner. Lots of people cook and craft, but Katie cooks and...

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Bird Netting as a Cabbage Leaf Caterpillar Barrier

UPDATE: This idea is a complete failure–see the ugly details here. Last month I sang the praises of floating row cover as an insect barrier. The only problem is that floating row cover retains heat, and so when our fall and winter days turn hot, as they so often do, it gets way too hot and humid inside the “tent.” So as Marshall McLuhan was fond of saying, “If you don’t like that idea, I’ve got others.”...

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Make that 11 Vegetable Gardening Mistakes

In my post, Top Ten Vegetable Gardening Mistakes, several readers and Mrs. Homegrown pointed out that I left out “inconsistent watering.” I plead guilty. I would also suggest an “absentminded” watering category, such as setting up a irrigation system on a timer and not adjusting it throughout the season. And those of us in dry climates could also be better about selecting and saving seeds for drought tolerance. Gary Paul...

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Growing Your Own Soapnut Tree

t Craig at Winnetka Farms gave us last year. I’m going to chain myself to the fig. That being said, I wish we had more room to plant our soapnut tree. Sapindus Mukorossi requires a fertile soil and a frost free climate. It’s a tall tree that can take as long as ten years to begin fruiting. A friend of mine has one growing in Altadena. Sapindus Mukorossi needs lots of water. Craig has pointed out the perfect permacultural pairing for o...

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Viewpoints in the Garden

Mrs. Homegrown put a lot of hard work this past fall into some new plantings for the backyard. As a result there’s some nice viewpoints developing. I thought I’d take a few random pictures to highlight what’s working and what isn’t. I took a seat on the worm bin and discovered this nice vista. It’s the view from where I’m planning a new seating area. Of course photography is a kind of lie. Taking a picture...

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Picture Sunday: Chicken Coop Art Cars

Artist Benedetto Bufalino re-purposed a vintage police car for his piece, “la voiture de police poulailler.” Back in 1999 Atelier van Lieshout reused an Alfa Romeo for an installation called “Alfa Alfa.” I should note that the art school damaged Mrs. Homegrown gets queasy when livestock end up in art projects. I’ll just ask if these two examples mean we’re witnessing an entire new genre of chicken art?...

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Analysis Paralysis

...is the way Shakespeare describes this condition in Hamlet. The re-design of our backyard lead to the worst analysis paralysis I’ve ever experienced. Weeks went by with no progress. Ideas came and went. The internet made it worse by providing way too many possibilities. A quote in a book finally broke my analysis paralysis spell. The gist of that quote was that we are all called by a higher power to build. I realized that I needed to set a d...

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DIY Solar Space Heating

Photo: Build It Solar. Mrs. Homegrown, who spent her formative years in the mountains of Colorado, made fun of me this morning as I noted the “cold” temperature . . . 60°F. It was the first ironic “brrrrrr” out of her mouth, letting me know that we’ve transitioned from the hot smoggy season to the the less hot smoggy season here in Los Angeles. In the northern hemisphere it’s time to consider heating. The alwa...

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Saturday Linkages: From Bananas to Laird’s Laws

supermarket supplier’s plastic http://gu.com/p/3eb3b/tw  Solicitor George Cooper’s diaries give insight into Victorian life with his watercolour paintings http://bit.ly/yFANsU  Recreation of ancient beer suggests it was really, really gross http://io9.com/recreation-of-ancient-beer-suggests-it-was-sour-and-ful-572664886 … Laird’s Laws http://shar.es/OPik9  For these links and more, follow Root Simple on Twitter: Follow @rootsi...

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