Accidental Garden Design: Pomegranate and Prickly Pear

...ited I didn’t get that gene, unfortunately. But at least a garden can sometimes put on a good show despite the gardener’s lack of design sense. Above, the view out our front window of our pomegranate tree (Punica granatum ‘Wondeful’) against our overgrown prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica). These two plants have a lot in common. They both produce abundant and nutritious food in a dry climate with little or no atte...

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Genetically-Engineered Organism Secretes Diesel

..., that its cyanobacterium can produce 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel per acre annually, over four times more than the most efficient algal process for making fuel. And they say they can do it at $30 a barrel. Normally I am opposed to genetically modified plants but this would appear to be a contained situation. Would it be a good thing for the planet if we had unlimited diesel fuel? I would guess that the CO2 would be net neutral whatever escapes...

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Adopt an Indigo Plant in Los Angeles

...t about your little baby! There are a limited number of seedlings available. Please reserve yours by filling out the form below. For those of you not able to pick up a seedling here in Los Angeles, I am willing to experiment with shipping them directly to you in the mail for the cost of postage. I have zero real world experience with this but have been reading up on the process and believe that it is possible. There is no guarantee that the plant...

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Saturday Linkages: Basil Downy Mildew, Bees and Grow Lights

...ent-wind-turbines-could-generate-half-household-energy.html … A bacteria that helps produce stay fresh AND saves the bats AND saves the bees??? http://magazine.gsu.edu/article/future-food/ … Fascinating food history–the historical colors of vanilla and chocolate: http://www.ediblegeography.com/vanilla-is-the-old-black/ … Colorado Ham Tracks Down, Resolves Interference from Pot Cultivators’ Grow Lights: http://www.arrl.org/news/view/colorado...

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The Miraculous Lavender

...appen, I let it go. I assumed it would not live long. It’s growing out of a crack. It may have sprouted on the back of our last pathetic winter rain, but we’ve had no precipitation for months now. I don’t water it. I don’t send water down the stairs. The soil off the stairs is dry, because that slope is planted with natives, which are getting no irrigation. There’s no plumbing beneath the staircase, either. Yet the l...

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Build a Washing Machine Greywater Surge Tank

After the shower, the next best source for greywater is the washing machine. Constructing what is called a surge tank with a fifty gallon plastic drum is the simplest way to reuse your washing machine waste water. Perfectly good water that would ordinarily just go down the sewer will instead water your plants after first spending a short time in the fifty gallon drum. Temporarily draining your washing machine into a fifty gallon drum has two adv...

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Juicing Cane

At Camp Ramshackle, the plants that thrive are the ones that don’t require too much attention. Our sugar cane, started as a six inch start, is case and point. I harvested a stalk to add to lemonade. I first removed the thick tough skin. Once the skin was peeled, I sliced the cane stalks in half. Resident child labor juiced the stalks. Despite the mechanical help of the juicer it was an arduous task. Our yield was meager a...

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Tree Spinach – Chenopodium giganteum

...ch is a tall, hardy annual that easily reseeds itself and can become invasive–but we give extra points for the combination of invasive and edible. Tree spinach contains saponins and oxalic acid, substances which the Plants for a Future database notes can cause nutritional and medical problems. Note to all the raw food fetishists out there–cooking takes care of both oxalic acid and saponins. We ordered our tree spinach from Trade Winds...

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Skid Row Community Garden Gets SIPs

...erfect opportunity to use self irrigating pots. Two master gardeners, Anne Hars and Maggie Lobl asked me to show them how to put together some SIPs (read more about what a SIP is here) for the Los Angeles Community Action Network, which works with homeless and low-income residents on skid row.  Hars, Lobl, myself and a bunch of folks from LACAN put together a few SIPs and planted vegetables on the LACAN rooftop. The plants are thriving in a spac...

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Low Moments in Plant Theivery

...of all plant thefts. In the video you’ll see two women stealing an entire lawn. It took forty minutes and the thieves even took a smoking break. The BBC quotes the neighbor whose security camera caught the crime, “I can’t believe the cheek of them. I’m quite speechless about it.” In local plant theft news, a security camera at the Village Bakery in Los Angeles caught a woman stealing plants for the second time in t...

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