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

...version of kale. This makes sense as they are both just primitive forms of cabbage that don’t form a head. Planted last fall, my Galega De Folhas Lisas survived into the dry LA summer, including a long spell where the drip irrigation failed without me knowing it. It’s still growing. Think about that. This is one tough veggie. It’s a beautiful plant with thick leaves that taste like, well, collards.  It does need space and did no...

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Straw Bale Garden: What I Learned

...he 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 than fruit. I’m not saying you shouldn’t plant tomatoes...

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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.kce...

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Induced Demand

...y 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 probably find induced demand between the lines of David Homgren’s permaculture principles. But perhaps we...

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Artificial Turf: Is It Ever a Good Idea?

...eeping 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 benefit. Practically speaking, it also gets really hot on a summer day and you’ve got to hose it down with wat...

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Getting Started With Succulents Free eBook

...We had a great time at the Museum of Natural History this past Friday along with the 200 people who lined up to plant succulents in thrift store mugs in our booth. Kelly wrote up a nice eBook, Getting Started With Succulents (note that it’s geared towards our climate in Los Angeles but there’s a lot of good general information on propagation). There’s even info on how to drill a hole in a ceramic cup or pot (when you drill 200...

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Neil deGrasse Tyson, GMOs and Risk Management

I can understand why Neil deGrasse Tyson made these off the cuff remarks about genetically modified organisms. There’s a lot of tin foil hat thinking on the anti-GMO side. But his comments also reveal that Tyson does not understand the difference between conventional plant breeding (something human beings have been up to for thousands of years) and GMOs. For me, the best argument against GMOs come from a risk-management perspective. Sta...

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Apartment Parking Lot Gardening in East Hollywood

...t. I waterproofed them by sealing the insides with with pure tung oil from Jill’s paint in Atwater. Each planter gives me 5,  12 x 12 inch sq. ft. spaces for growing. These boxes take up a small amount of space and fit easily in the area  ( about 2 feet wide) between the parked cars and the back wall of my apt building. The area gets about 6 hours of sunlight so it is ideal for growing. This is my second year of growin...

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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&...

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Natural Products Expo West: The Good and the Ugly

...equences later. Imagine the center snack aisles of Whole Foods dumped into a funnel and shoved down your throat. It will be no surprise to most readers of this blog that the “natural” (whatever that means) food industry suffers from the same problems that plague our food system as a whole. Most of the products at the expo are highly processed and high in sugar. Just because something is labeled “gluten free” or “GMO...

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