Adventures in Gardening Series: Wrap up on the Hippie Heart: Growing lentils and flax

...d reason, since a lot of seeds we can buy in bulk bins may be hybrid, sterile or irradiated. But I wanted to try it anyway. This first season I planted the Heart with bulk bin flax seed and lentils from a boxed lentils. The results were mixed. Sort of interesting. Not super-productive, but not a failure, because I learned lots. First, both flax and lentils are very pretty plants. In its prime, the Heart was an attractive thing The flax grew stra...

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Advances in Gardening Series: A Progress Report

...“But that shrub has always been there!” I don’t know if we’re even attached to the plant itself, but rather to the idea of permanence. Anyway, our yard looked like it had been bombed flat for a couple of months, but it’s starting to green up now, so I thought I’d share a few progress pictures. One of the features I wanted in the new yard was a rotating bed to produce medicinal herbs and flowers, lots of them, e...

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Gift Suggestions, from the Other Half

...lifornia. You might remember me writing about them earlier.  Apologies for the California bias: Healing with Medicinal Plants of the West, by Celia Garcia and James D. Adams, Jr., Abedus Press, 2009 Co-authored by a Chumash healer and a USC pharmacology prof., both of whom write for Wilderness Way magazine. A fascinating resource documenting both historical uses and current scientific opinion on our native plants. My post on it is here. T...

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Physalis pruinosa a.k.a. “Ground Cherry”

While strolling the nursery seed isle this weekend looking for things to plant for our summer food needs, Homegrown Revolution came across a strange fruit we’ve never heard of, Physalis pruinosa, a.ka. ground cherry, a.k.a. husk tomato. a.k.a. strawberry tomato. Homegrown Revolution hates to throw around scientific names for plants but in this case we have to because the common names get so confusing. The back of the Tompson & Morgan...

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Artichoke Season at the Homegrown Revolution Compound

...en. Our love of artichokes means that we’ve gotten used to eating the occasional aphid. They may even have medicinal uses according the the Plants for a Future Database (which only gives them a measly 3 out of 5 score for usefulness!), The globe artichoke has become important as a medicinal herb in recent years following the discovery of cynarin. This bitter-tasting compound, which is found in the leaves, improves liver and gall bladder fun...

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The Pinnacle of Permaculture: Tending the Wild

...nts and animals need people. This is the philosophy of the Native American elders Anderson interviews. Rather as plants need birds to scatter their seeds, plants rely on humans to thin and prune them, protect them and spread them. The elders imagined an active, reciprocal relationship of use between humans, plants and animals. For them, “wilderness” is a pejorative term. When land is untended, it turns feral and declines. In a thrivi...

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More On Preventing Plants From Falling Over

Mrs. Homegrown’s post on her storm-flattened flax patch reminded me that I had a photo I took while taking John Jeavons’ Biointensive workshop earlier this month. In front of Jeavons is a bed of fava beans, also notorious for falling over in the slightest breeze. The randomly strung network of twine will support the fava as it grows. You can see from my own fava bed below that I could have benefited from this low tech solution: Whi...

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Mandrake!

...years ago, finally falling asleep during an endless video game inspired broom chase scene). Apparently wherever it appears in the world, mandrake (Atropa mandragora) has always inspired unusual beliefs. Buhner says, Though all indigenous cultures know that plants can speak with humankind, mandrake is almost the only plant from indigenous European practice about which this belief is still extant. Throughout its Christian European history, it has...

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Stirred, Not Shaken

...hemistry of the preparations seems to me to be asking the wrong questions. What I like most about biodynamics is its sense of intention. It’s an intention that ties us to the land, to the elemental spirits of plants and animals that were tangible to our ancestors. We could all use ritual that ties us to nature and I look forward to stirring preparations and perhaps making them with a few close friends. In fact, I’m much more excited...

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Looking for the Union Label

...derwear on the internets recalled a highly catchy ad jingle from the roller disco era, “Look for the Union Label” (youngsters can watch it on youtube here). We looked for the union label and we were surprised to find it via a company called Union House which carries a functional, if unexciting line of apparel. Unless hipsters take to golf shirts in an ironic fashion judo move, these offerings will never be cool like the domestically m...

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