One Craptacular Week

...on Week. Then yesterday we found out that one of our kittens, Phoebe, has a some sort of serious heart defect. The blogging muses can sometimes leave us at times like this so don’t be surprised if it takes us a few days to get ourselves back together. So please hold our dear little kitten in your thoughts and prayers as well as the worldwide need for healing our soils. After all, we all need to eat, and all food whether it be plant or ani...

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Water Conservation

...o consider a shower head with a cutoff valve to allow stopping the water while soaping up. Use a bucket to catch the water that flows before it heats up. Use this water for plants or to “bucket flush” the toilet. It’s cheating somewhat, but take your showers at the gym and let someone else pay for the water. 6.3% faucet Turn off the water until needed when brushing teeth or shaving. 5.5% leaks This is a no-brainer, but something...

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Greywater Precautions

...ing greywater on any vegetables is somewhat dodgy in general for heath reasons, but greywater is fine for edible plants such as fruit trees where the crop is far from the ground and the risk of direct contamination by contact with contaminated water is low. Do not apply greywater to lawns (lawns are evil anyways) or to the foliage of any plant as this can cause a microorganism growth party. Remember that greywater is treated by moving through soi...

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The Elysium Delusion

...unate Mars reality show participants, I say we haven’t been spending enough time looking down at our feet. The fact is that earth is a paradise, space is a vacuum and Mars is a hell. We have to work with what we have. In my cranky opinion, the future is in down-to-earth appropriate technology, not space stations.We need to plant gardens here on earth not in the vacuum of space. I’ll note that the farms in these space colonies look an...

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Straw Bale Garden Update: Success!

...n. And I’m also pondering building boxes to put the bales in to make the garden look a bit neater. Compare the straw bale garden to the depleted raised beds in our front yard: I’ve talked to a lot of people about straw bale gardens since we started ours. Some things I’ve heard from other gardeners: Some straw bales may be contaminated with herbicides. Do a bioassay before planting. Here’s some instruct...

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Straw Bale Garden Tour Part II

In this video we take a tour of our straw bale garden as it appears this week. The vegetables varieties you see growing are Tromboncino squash, Lunga di Napoli squash (growing up into a native bush), Matt’s Wild Cherry tomato, Celebrity tomato, eggplant and Swiss chard. And just to take down my smugness a notch I also included a shot of an unsuccessful cucumber plant. Other than the cucumber, though, this is one of the most productive v...

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Grubs in your acorns? Meet Curcuio, or the Acorn Weevil

...ual acorns in your stash wiggling, like giant jumping beans!) This is not a problem, just something to know, for the sake of storage, or squeamish loved ones. The acorn they emerge from may or may not be useable. You can open it and check it out–or opt not to. It will be likely to be at least 50% spoiled, in any case. It may also have more fresh grubs in it, trying to make their way out. You may well chop them in half with your knife, and f...

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

...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 that don’t form a head. Planted last fall, my Galega De Folhas Lisas...

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Why is My Squash Bitter?

...interesting hazard with bitter out-crossed Cucurbitaceae. According to Tony Glover, regional extension agent at the University of Alabama, The bitter taste of squash and cucumbers comes from a natural organic compound called cucurbitacin . . . which can cause severe stomach pains. If the fruit are extremely bitter you might as well pull the plant up and start again because they will not likely become un-bitter. Cross-pollinated freak seeds are...

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Pierce Disease Resistant Grape Vines for Southern California

...there is no cure. Pierce’s is why your glass of California wine may one day be genetically modified. Over the years we’ve lost too many vines to Pierce’s to count, so I’m relieved to say that the ones we have seem to be immune or at least very resistant to Pierce’s and are now producing fruit. LA County’s plant pathologist spent a half hour on the phone with me a few years ago telling me about how Pierce’...

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