I like my chamomile stressed

...zy, its one goal being to spread seed before it dies. In the past, I’ve harvested chamomile from volunteer plants in my yard. I never planted or tended them, but one or two would get about knee high, and from those one or two plants I’d gather all the flowers I needed by remembering to pick a handful every time I went in the back yard. The thing about chamomile is the more you pick, the more it produces. But I was greedy–and so...

Continue reading…

Dumpster Herb Score

...r. She tells us that: “Master gardeners encourages gardeners to arrange pick up times with TJ’s for plants. They will tell you when they are putting out the plants so you can get them. Lots of mg’s do this and bring them to various garden projects all around LA county.” So that’s cool. And then in the comments there’s an anon comment from a TJs employee explaining the issues around composting for the stores,...

Continue reading…

Chumash Plant Wisdom

...California (and parts near)! I’ve just found the holy grail of local plant guides: Healing with Medicinal Plants of the West. It’s co-authored by a Chumash healer, Cecilia Garcia and a USC pharmacology prof., James David Adams, Jr., both of whom write for Wilderness Way magazine. It features full-color pictures of plants familiar to you from hikes in the desert and the chaparral, and discusses the recommended use of the these plants...

Continue reading…

Row Covers in a Warm Climate

...ed holes in the corners of the beds and bent some scrap PVC pipe to create hoops to hold the row cloth above the plants. Agribon is so light that you can just put it on top of many plants without hoops. Now I can sleep at night knowing that my beds are locked down in a kind of “vegetable Guantanamo”. Johnny’s Seeds sells Agribon 15 in 250 foot rolls for $45. Seeds of Change sells it in 5o foot lengths for $26. It would make se...

Continue reading…

The glass is half full–even if it’s full of greywater

...The front yard isn’t looking bad. Not organized, but at least not barren. Lesson the First: make weed-like plants the backbone of your yard, meaning edible plants that grow no matter what–which kind of plants will vary by region. Grow fussy annuals too, if you want, but have these survivors as back up. And learn how to cook them. For instance, we get nopales from that huge cactus that is swamping our hill. The cucumbers may refuse to...

Continue reading…

The Barrier Method

...insects, particularly the cabbage worms that harass our brassica crops. It’s not pretty, but it keeps the plants pretty within. Heavier gauges of row covering can be used to ward off frost, or help jump start plants in cold weather. Our chickens have a very secure coop. Connected to it is some extra play space, bounded by picket fence. This doesn’t protect the chickens from much, but they only use it during the day, when pr...

Continue reading…

Poo Salon and Urban Forage Classes with Nancy Klehm

...#2 Urbanforage with Nancy Klehm (aka Weedeater)Sunday, February 27th 2-4:30 pm, Echo Park, $25 Learn about the plants that share this city with us! Urbanforage is an informally guided walk through the spontaneous and cultivated vegetation of the urbanscape. Along the walk, we learn to identify plants, hear their botanical histories and stories of their use by cultural use by animals and humans and share antidotes of specific experiences with t...

Continue reading…

A Prickly Situation

...y cutting it in half, holding it with thick gloves and scooping out the flesh with a spoon. This is one of those plants that should be everywhere here in Los Angeles. Propagate the plant by cutting off a leaf and sticking it in the ground – it’s simple – no fuss, no pesticides, no watering once established. And note that not all prickly pear varieties produce edible fruit so when you look for cuttings seek out plants that are pr...

Continue reading…

Vertical Micro-Farming

...lize vertical space and grow vegetables in a small footprint. Water drips down from the top, irrigating multiple plants on its way down. The plants are not only stacked vertically, but radiate around the central axis, maximizing horizontal space as well. In this photo they are growing hot chili peppers. I also saw basil and sweet peppers and there were others I can’t recall right now. I’m inspired to try to build one at home, since I&...

Continue reading…

New Health Food Trends at the Natural Products Food Expo West

This weekend I attended, for or the second year in a row, the Natural Products Expo West. At this massive convention, health food, natural supplement and cosmetic concerns pitch their products to retailers. And, again this year, I did a lot of intemperate sampling. For the sake of you, our dear readers, I ate every known power bar, sports beverage and processed soy/hemp/chia meat substitute so you won’t have to. It was...

Continue reading…