Direct Seeding vs. Transplants

How I used to plant my veggies. An 8 inch spacing guide and some seedlings back in 2009. To direct sow or transplant, that is the question. I’m as indecisive as Hamlet when it comes to this question. Some caveats here: we live in a warm climate where you can direct sow almost anything unless you want to get an early start on tomatoes and peppers. And we don’t have to start seedlings indoors. Another thing to note–I fell under...

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Induced Demand

...e miles since you don’t pay as much for gas. Build a four lane highway instead of a two lane one and so many more people end up driving that you end up with worse gridlock. I’d never thought of induced demand when it comes to greywater, but it’s a good point. Did I plant more fruit trees because I had a greywater system? Has this caused more water consumption in our current drought? Honestly, I think the answer is yes. You could...

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Artificial Turf: Is It Ever a Good Idea?

the rebate program? And why did they landscape one of their own facilities with the stuff? In this interest of keeping an open mind, I tried to think of circumstances in which artificial turf might be a good option. Maybe if it were used ironically? But I don’t really think its use can be justified. Why? It’s a petrochemical product. It will eventually break down and end up in a landfill or the  ocean. There’s no wildlife bene...

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Saturday Linkages: Independence Day Weekend Edition

Fireless cooker via Low Tech Magazine. We insulate our houses, why not our cooking pots? http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2014/07/cooking-pot-insulation-key-to-sustainable-cooking.html … GIF Gardens: How to (Easily) Animate Your Plant Photos http://disq.us/8j1m1y Never Buy A Rotten Avocado Again http://www.nwedible.com/2012/05/never-buy-a-rotten-avocado-again.html … Why Do We Refrigerate Eggs in the United States? http://www.kcet.org/living/food/t...

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Organic Seed Growers Webinar

...the 7th Organic Seed Growers’ Conference at Oregon State University in Corvallis Oregon on January 31st and February 1st, 2014. The online broadcast is free and open to the public, and advance registration is required. It will take place on both days from 12-8 Eastern Time, 11-7 Central, 10-6 Mountain, and 9-5 Pacific Time. Register for the live broadcast of selected presentations at  http://www.extension.org/pages/70186 Note: You only ne...

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How to Deal With Cabbage Worms

It happens every year. I forget the gardening lessons of the year before. Take my many failed attempts to grow cabbage, for instance. It always gets decimated by the imported cabbage worm (Pieris rapae), a creature as abundant in Los Angeles as aspiring actors. There are several strategies I could use to deal with this pest (cabbage worms, that is–I have no problem with actors). I could spray Bacillus thuringiensis but I don’t like...

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Have We Reached Peak Kale? Franchi’s Cavolo Laciniato “Galega De Folhas Lisas”

...ile longer. I propose a Franchi kale “Galega De Folhas Lisas” as the new big thing. Translated, the variety name is something like “Galacian smooth leaf.” To add to the confusion I get the feeling that Italians don’t distinguish between kale and collards—what we call collards they consider just a smooth leafed and lighter colored version of kale. This makes sense as they are both just primitive forms of cabbage...

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Why is My Squash Bitter?

“Long of Naples” squash growing in our backyard. It’s the bees. Squash is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, one of the most difficult vegetables to save seeds from. Cucurbitaceae have both male and female flowers and lots of wild, inedible relatives. Cross pollination is what Cucurbitaceae want to do. If you want to save seed and you take the precaution of taping up the flowers, bumblebees and solitary bees can chew their w...

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Straw Bale Garden: What I Learned

Straw bale garden–April on the left, November on the right. The straw bale garden I started this spring has been one of the most successful vegetable gardens I’ve ever planted. In fact it’s still producing well into November. Here’s what I learned from the experiment: Plants that suck up a lot of nitrogen, like squash, do well in a straw bale garden. My tomatoes flourished but, due to the high nitrogen, made more leaves...

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Picture Sundays: What Commuting by Bike Looked Like in 1942

From the Library of Congress photo archive a 1942 picture from Burbank, CA: The bicycle brigade at Lockheed Vega Aircraft Corporation. Employees living within four miles of Lockheed’s plant may purchase bicycles through the company and resell them to the company when need for them no longer exists. This mode of transportation is becoming increasingly popular, and has resulted in the sale of 2,400 bicycles in record time. This is part of t...

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