California’s Drought and What To Do About It

...on the over-sized worms emerging from our compost bins. But I digress. Let’s cover what we’re doing at the Root Simple compound. We’ve expanded our drought tolerant plantings over the past few years. These plants use less water and encourage beneficial wildlife. I consider them part of the vegetable garden, in a way. I just made a major change to our laundry to landscape greywater system–more on this in another post. I&#...

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Saturday Linkages: Can We Please Have More Underpass Chandeliers?

Ballroom Luminoso: Ugly freeway underpass beautified with recycled bike chandeliers : TreeHugger http://www.treehugger.com/urban-design/ballroom-luminoso-underpass-converted-bike-chandeliers-joe-oconnell-blessing-hancock.html … Yes, the farm bill is politically corrupt. Veto it! http://goo.gl/fb/vhLtK  What’s wrong with an ugly winter garden? http://gu.com/p/3mb4a/tw  The secret light of plants by Elizabeth Licata http://feedly.com/e/_hlI...

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Greywater Design and Installation Workshop

...for your home and landscape How to build a system- you’ll create a “mock-up” of a real system with real greywater parts What parts you’ll need for your home How much greywater you produce and how many plants you can water What soaps and detergents are “greywater friendly” Tour Real L2L greywater system Gravity “branched drain” greywater system from sinks Date: February 22, 2014 – 10:00am t...

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Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder

...with bird and insect life. (A poorwill even visited, which apparently caused quite a bit of excitement in the birding community.) This is because the designers chose plants to serve wildlife, and the wildlife responded. Build it and they will come. Off in one shady corner of the garden, I watched two bird feeders being merrily ransacked by more types of birds than I’ve ever seen in one place. It reminded me that I had once wanted a bird fe...

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Why Your Garden Should Be Dark at Night

A confession: I was a teenage astronomy geek. This hobby that gave me an awareness of how depressing it is to live in a city so brightly lit that you can count the number of stars in the night sky. A documentary, currently streaming on Netflix, called The City Dark details just how many other problems lights cause that you might not have thought of: Lighting confuses migratory birds. Millions crash into buildings every year. Sea turtle hatchl...

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Hornworm meets alien!

...parasitic wasps devour their host but in order to overcome the caterpillar’s defenses, mama wasp injects a virus before laying her eggs. How do you create habitat for Cotesia congregata? Adults feed on nectar producing plants and, of course, you need to make sure you keep a few hornworms on hand! Thanks to Jeff Spurrier for posting this video in Facebook....

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As Above, So Below

Inspired by the response to my post on the need to keep our gardens dark, I decided to reclaim my childhood telescope from my mom’s garage and get it working again. It occurred to me that I haven’t looked up at the night sky in a long time. What a shame. This past week I’ve been thinking about how important it is to look up at the stars–just as important, I think, as staying in touch with the plants, insects and animals...

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Greywater Guerrillas in LA this Weekend

...Greywater Design Workshop. Location: 3983 East Blvd. Mar Vista, CA 90066Time: 7-9pmCost: $25To register: email Ray Cirino 818-834-7074 Greywater Design Workshop; Interested in reusing your greywater? Want to learn more about it and how to build your own system? Come to our design workshop. We’ll present you with information on the most common, low-tech, low-cost, effective, residential greywater systems. Then we’ll break into groups...

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Whiteflies

The upside to garden pests and diseases is getting to do a little amateur backyard science. Any excuse to mix up a martini, pull out the microscope and take a close look at things and we’re all over it. This week’s happy hour entomology comes thanks to a infestation of white flies living on the underside of our tree collards. I believe the specific culprit pictured above is the greenhouse whitefly, Trialeurodes vaporariorum which, de...

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Tomato Review #1 Red Currant–The World’s Smallest Tomato

...ruit measuring about one centimeter across. Red Currant is an indeterminate tomato, with a delicious, sweet taste. A malfunctioning drip line has has meant that our specimen probably did not get enough water, but nevertheless it has managed to produce fruit despite looking unhappy. If we had more than the paltry number we’ve produced, they’d make for a tasty addition to a salad. That malfunctioning drip line means that all we have is...

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