Biochar: Miracle or Gimmick?

...plants and higher yield in others. In the Arboretum and St. Paul campus sites, we noted similar results, but more crops seemed to decline with biochar than without it. There’s nothing new about biochar. It was in use by native peoples in the Amazon region before Columbus. Hopefully this study will help clarify what types of soils and what crops benefit most from its use. Do you have an opinion about Biochar? Leave a comment . . . And thanks...

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Saturday Linkages: Tiny Houses, Human Cheese, Doomsday Condos and Speakin’ Squirrel

...April Fools day jokes: Breast Milk Ice Cream, Human Cheese http://aol.it/In5zBn Doomsday condos in old missile silos: http://boingboing.net/2012/04/11/doomsday-condos-in-old-missile.html Thomas Rainer’s 5 Myths about Native Plants http://bit.ly/IxkbcY Learn to speak squirrel: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/learn-to-speak-squirrel-in-four-easy-lessons/2012/04/09/gIQAV8Jr6S_print.html Abused Altadena Kitten Still Needs a Home http://...

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Root Simple Edible Gardening Classes at the Huntington Ranch

There are still some spots available for our edible gardening class at the Huntington that starts this Saturday. In the course of the three consecutive Saturday sessions, we’ll build a compost pile, dissect soil test reports, make a seed starting mix and discuss incorporating fruit trees and native plants into your edible landscape among many other topics. The class will be held at the Huntington’s spectacular Ranch. Here’s th...

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The Theme of a Great Garden

...tents inside the museum: dinosaurs, prehistory and the passage of time. There are no animatronic dinosaurs to be found in the garden. Instead, the theme is suggested through dramatic, rough stonework and the use of California native plants. The garden feels as if exists in a time before humans. It got me wondering how thematics would play out in a more modest home landscape. Perhaps, when it comes time to design a garden it would be useful to tos...

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Your Essential Oil Toolkit

...little bottle of that on hand. It will prevent any discomfort and make your essential oil last longer. Tea Tree Oil: The Panacea Tea Tree Oil, or melaleuca oil, is distilled from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a tree native to Australia. It has a strong, camphor-like scent that people seem to either like or hate. It has impressive antiseptic, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. I’d recommend a reading of the Wikipedia entry o...

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Gathering of Community Gardeners

This weekend is the third annual Gathering of the Gardens in Los Angeles. While the event is put together by the non-profit L.A. Community Garden Council, it is open to all interested parties. You don’t have to be a member of a community garden to attend, just interested in community building and gardening. There will be workshops and discussions on topics such as vegetable gardening, composting, native plants, beekeeping and even a worksh...

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2011 in Review: The Garden

It’s was a difficult year in the garden. A lead and zinc issue screwed up my winter vegetables garden plans. At least we managed to find some river rocks and put in a path. I found this photo from December 2010. I was certainly a lot more organized that year. For 2012, I’m putting in raised beds to deal with the heavy metal issue and we’ve already planted more native plants. But most importantly one of my New Years resolution...

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Eco Blogging, Tin Foil Hats and Convention Mania

...;re supposed to be green, JESUS!” I guess, by taking the lord’s name in vain, you could say that the mayor broke one of the ten commandments for sake of applause and maybe a few more the night before. 11:15 AM A Native American prayer is recited. Drumming begins and I duck out of the main stage and head over to the press tent for the press buffet (blogging has its perks). After a brief wait in the buffet line (time enough to peruse...

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Two Vegetable Gardening Commandments

...’ll share two of the commandments: 1. Thou shalt not have more vegetable beds than thou canst maintain in a worthy condition. We’ve already reduced the amount of vegetable space in our garden and replaced it with native perennials. I’m considering cutting more vegetable space. Having a lot of poorly maintained vegetable beds sends out a big invitation to the sorts of insect visitors we don’t want in our gardens. Better to...

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This Is Why Mint Is Invasive

eese; fresh mint mixed with basil in a nut pesto; fresh mint sprinkled over yogurt drinks, mint infused honey for colds; dried mint in the bath; mint simple syrup; mojitos; and I’m sure there are more…and the tiny native bees like it a lot. Should you plant spearmint or peppermint? Both are good. Peppermint is stronger, but I consider them interchangeable. (If you’re trying to figure out which you’ve got in your yard, spea...

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