Tracking the Mood of the Gardener

Swiss chard from the winter of 2010 A Root Simple reader I ran into this weekend took issue with my assertion that fall is the best time to start a vegetable garden in Southern California. Thinking about it some more I think she may have a point. Some of you may have noticed that we have a new feature on the blog–if you click on an individual blog post you’ll see a list of related posts at the bottom. Looking at some of those older p...

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Saturday Linkages: Bow Drills and Cramped Apartments

Bow drill from Low Tech Magazine Gardening The End of Molasses Malarkey: http://ow.ly/1TC4aU DIY Making Wooden Spoons http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/2013/03/making-wooden-spoons.html#.UUPl2rFofzQ.twitter … Low-Tech Wonders Hand powered drilling tools and machines: http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2010/12/hand-powered-drilling-tools-and-machines.html … Endless Rope Drives: http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2013/03/the-mechanical-transmission-...

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What laundry detergent should I use for greywater applications?

When your laundry water is going to the soil instead of to the sewer (or a septic tank) you need to make sure that detergent is friendly to soil life. Your big brand detergents are a no-go. And even the various eco-detergents, even ones marked “biodegradable”, are not appropriate for the soil because they are essentially salt-based. They play well with aquatic life, bless them, and they’re a great alternative to more toxic det...

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Update on Los Angeles’ Backwards Parkway Regulations

It looks like Councilman Wesson has temporarily suspended enforcement of parkway planting rules. This is in response to Steve Lopez’s LA Times column that profiled two parkway vegetable gardens that the city busted. A tip of the hat to Mr. Lopez for his good deed. We will all need to keep our eyes on the council and the Bureau of Street Services to make sure that the changes they make reflect common sense. And at the risk of tooting my own...

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California’s New Greywater Code: Common Sense Legalized!

On the left is our yard which is irrigated by the washing machine. On the right, the neighbor’s yard which is never watered. This Tuesday the California Building Standards Commission legalized our formally outlaw greywater system. For several years now, we’ve sent our washing machine waste water out to fruit trees in the front yard. The new regulations are a rare common sense moment for our otherwise troubled state government. Let&...

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Humanure Happens

Simparch’s dry toilet located in Wendover Utah From the 1806 edition of the Old Farmer’s Almanac, “Four loads of earth mixed with one load of privy soil, will be equal to five loads of barnyard dung. Let it lie for several months and occasionally turn it over with a shovel, and it will be of use as manure.” The editors of the Old Farmer’s Almanac 2010, where I found that quote, deemed it necessary to tack on a dis...

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Raw Milk Talk With Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures on the Homegrown Evolution Podcast

Image from the Organic Pastures website In the second episode of the Homegrown Evolution podcast we present a talk by Mark McAfee, founder and CEO of Organic Pastures Dairy, a raw milk dairy in California. The talk was recorded on August 28th, 2010 and was sponsored by Altadena Heritage and the Arroyo Food Co-op. McAfee had slides, but I think the talk is self explanatory without them for the most part. When he mentions his neighbor...

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Bean Fest, Episode 2: Falafel and Babaganoush Recipes

Welcome back to Bean Fest 2010, our ongoing celebration of the humble dried bean. Last week we got a lot of great tips and hints in the comments. If you haven’t read those, I’d encourage you to take a peek. We also got a couple of recipes via email that we’re going to test out. Thanks, ya’ll! Again, if anyone has a favorite bean recipe, please send it this way ([email protected]). One lesson to take away...

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A Hotel for Insects

To celebrate 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity, British Land and the City of London sponsored a design competition for a “Hotel for Insects.” Arup Associates won with the design above. The rules stipulated that the hotel had to accommodate stag beetles, solitary bees, butterflies, moths, spiders, lacewings and ladybugs. Read the full article here Thanks to Leonardo of the Backwards Beekeepers for the tip. See some other...

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