The Vertical Gardens of Los Angeles

...found a successful, though unintentional, vertical garden in our neighborhood while walking her dogs yesterday. The plant you see above is growing through a drainage hole (the level of the ground behind the wall is where you see the plant growing). Makes me wonder if this particular design could be done on purpose, given the appropriate context. The plants, in this hypothetical drainage hole garden, could act as biofilters, absorbing excess nutr...

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How Can We Fix Our Public Landscaping?

...217;s time we do something about it. Two California based organizations come to mind: Daily Acts in Petaluma and the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano. Daily Acts has landscaped public spaces such as libraries and schools as well as private homes. These gardens provide an example that others can follow. The Ecology Center has a spectacular garden that shows do simple water harvesting to create a beautiful landscape with drought tolerant plant...

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How Not to Grow Potatoes

...e to four tires high, and feast on many pounds of ‘taters. Just don’t do what we did and try to grow them from sprouting supermarket potatoes. Experts recommend buying special seed potatoes which are certified not to carry any of the diseases that plague this member of the nightshade family. We knew better but felt lazy about ordering seed potatoes. Our potato plants looked sad, failed to flower and eventually died. Much to our surpri...

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Waiting for our tomatoes/Tomatoland

...211;the tomato that sits, bright red, useless and flavorless, on store shelves year round, country-wide. Here at the Root Simple compound, we choose to eat tomatoes seasonally–when they’re coming out of our yard–and make do with canned and dried tomatoes for the rest of the year. Basically, we believe that fresh tomatoes are a privilege, not a right. Right now our tomato plants are covered with blossoms and tiny green fruit, and...

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Compost Rebuttal

...be video: Ingham’s work is controversial, but I believe time will prove her ideas correct. To grow fussy plants like vegetables we need to introduce beneficial microorganisms and fungi into the soil via well made compost. To make that compost we need to monitor the pile’s temperature carefully (it should be between 55ºC and 65ºC for at least three days according to Ingham). The pile also needs oxygen, provided by introducing loose m...

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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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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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Decomposed Granite as Mulch: A very bad idea

...with DG. They then punch some holes in the DG/plastic and pop in succulents and maybe a rosemary bush or two. By the time the yard becomes a sad, desertified tangle of unhappy succulents and crabgrass, the flippers are long gone. I’ve got a big issue with DG as mulch. In order for DG to look good, it’s got to be compacted and soil compaction is really bad for plants, including hardy natives and succulents. It stifles the life of the s...

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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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