Los Angeles Bread Bakers Blog

Just a short time after planting–a field of wheat sprouts in Los Angeles County. The Los Angeles Bread Bakers, that I helped co-found along with Mark Stambler and Teresa Sitz, now has a blog: losangelesbreadbakers.blogspot.com. A big thanks to Saul Alpert-Abrams for putting it together and to Paul Morgan for blogging! Paul has been writing about the wheat we helped plant at Maggie’s Farm in Agoura Hills, a suburb...

Continue reading…

Anne Hars’ Top Ramen Keyhole Vegetable Garden

...hole. Straw wattle is a (mostly) biodegradable material made out of rice straw and plastic netting. You can find it at irrigation supply stores and on order at Home Depot. It comes in 25 foot lengths. Soil for the bed came from the ground, from bagged soil that used to be in the wooden raised beds and from compost that Anne makes herself. “I’m going to plant things under things,” says Hars. As the winter gard...

Continue reading…

How To Manage a Compost Pile Using Temperature

...r. The graph above is the result that I got from a pile made out of horse bedding, chicken manure from our hens, plant materials, straw and brew waste from a local brewery. The red area on the chart is the thermophilic temperature range (135° -160° Fahrenheit). The dip you see at day 15 is the one time I turned the pile so that I could keep it in the thermophilic range. Using temperature as a clue to when to turn the pile has a number of advantag...

Continue reading…

Radish Surprise

...n burst out into hundreds of tiny purple flowers. Hummingbirds, honey bees and all sorts of flying insects visit it all day, every day. It has become one of the queens of the garden. The picture below is horrible. The radish plant really is quite pretty,  the equal of any ornamental flowering shrub–but as bad is the picture is, it gives you some scale. See the bales of our straw bale garden behind it?  I think it must be pulling water from...

Continue reading…

Straw Bale Garden Part III: Adding Fertilizer

...st for a more organic approach.” (I think they mean blood meal as bone meal does not have much nitrogen in it.) Choosing the organic approach, we’re watering in two cups of blood meal a day to each bale for days four to six. Days seven through nine, we’ll cut back to one cup of blood meal per bale. By day ten the bales should be almost ready to plant. Once the bales are conditioned I’ll need to add a balanced organic ferti...

Continue reading…

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 be...

Continue reading…

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...

Continue reading…

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...

Continue reading…

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&...

Continue reading…

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...

Continue reading…