Saturday Linkages: From Bananas to Laird’s Laws

Breaking news from Mrs. Homegrown’s alma mater–banana plant busts through glass roof at Smith College conservatory http://www.gazettenet.com/news/9182534-95/banana-plant-busts-through-glass-roof-at-smith-college-conservatory#.UrzZKcw8rbU.twitter … Goleta considers groovy permaculture ordinance: http://www.independent.com/news/2013/dec/23/goleta-considers-groovy-green-ordinance/ … Spanish sperm whale death linked t...

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Analysis Paralysis

If you’re reading this blog, there’s no doubt that you’ve suffered from analysis paralysis. You’ve got to build that chicken coop, but you’re spending hours pouring over books, Pinterest boards and how-to websites. Add endless debates with your spouse and you’ve got a recipe for inaction. “Sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought” is the way Shakespeare describes this c...

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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....

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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...

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Defining a Garden’s Purpose

Organic Mechanic’s Garden in San Francisco I’m an idiot when it comes to garden design. To up my skills in this department I attended the annual Garden Blogger’s Fling last week, which took place this year in San Francisco. Thankfully the Fling did not involve sitting in a sterile hotel conference room. Instead, we boarded two buses and took a look at fifteen spectacular gardens in the bay area over three day...

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The tale of the worm bin celery

This is related to my recent post about our flowering radish. It’s a tale of botanic dumpster diving and another reason why you should let your food plants go to flower when you can. Last year I threw the crown (which is to say, the bottom) of a celery plant in my worm bin. I probably should have chopped it up for the worms’ sake, but I didn’t. Later, sometime in the fall,  I rediscovered the celery crown....

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Rubber Sidewalks Rescue Trees

Homegrown Neighbor here: I love trees and all of the things they do for us. They shade us, feed us, house us. Trees are something we just need more of here in Southern California. I used to work at an urban forestry non-profit, TreePeople. So I am familiar with the challenges of the tree/sidewalk interface. I have fielded calls from people frantically trying to save trees that are being ripped out because they are lifting the sidewalk. I hav...

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Off the charts

Homegrown Neighbor here. My chicken, Chickenzilla, is at it again, producing several mammoth double-yolked eggs in the past few weeks. The brown egg on the right is more of a normal sized egg, weighing in at extra large on this antique egg scale. Chickenzilla’s egg is way beyond the measure of this scale, weighing in I’d guess at somewhere around extra, extra, extra large. Pretty good for an industrial meat chicken that isn’t...

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Behold the Glassy Winged Sharpshooter (Homalodisca coagulata)

I finally spotted my first glassy winged sharpshooter (Homalodisca coagulata or GWS for short) sinking its vampire like feeding tube into one of my hops vines. The GWS transmits Pierce’s disease, fatal to many grape varieties including my flame seedless, a gardening frustration I blogged about last week. For your enjoyment I captured a 1/2-inch GWS specimen and scanned it. Note that the GWS was harmed in the process, for which I’m u...

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