Polyculture

...;s Garden, by Toby Hemenway. Polyculture is the practice of planting a community of interrelated, interdependent plants, mimicking in your garden (in our case a raised vegetable bed) the complex relationships that are found between plants in nature. In the case of food crops, a polyculture tries to set up conditions where you can eat almost continually out of a garden bed filled with different varieties of plants maturing at different times. The...

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Book Review: Attracting Native Pollinators: The Xerces Society Guide to Conserving North American Bees and Butterflies and Their Habitat

..., such as bumblebees, that nest underground. You’ll also find instructions for building nesting blocks for native bees and subterranean boxes for bumblebees. There’s also extensive plant lists for North America including both native and common non-native garden plants such as rosemary. In our own garden we’ve planted a lot more flowering native perennials this year. But I’m also inspired to get a conversation going about c...

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A Bustle In Your Hedgerow: California Natives for your Vegetable Garden

...the new Ranch project at the Huntington, tipped me off to this research and is making use of a lot of California natives to create the urban residential equivalent of a hedgerow. In short, a hedgerow in our yards and urban spaces means making sure to include lots of natives and flowering plants that can provide habitat for the types of critters we want. Hopefully this important research will be duplicated in other regions and climates with differ...

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What We’re Going To Do About That Lead

...it, e.g. lay sod, cover the yard with concrete or decking, or lay down a thick layer of mulch. Grow ornamental plants only Grow all food in raised beds Attempt phytoremediation (grow plants that uptake lead, pull them and send them to the dump) Move It turns out we were already doing some of these things, so we’re just going to keep on going as we were with a few changes. Our yard has always been covered in a thick layer of mulch and...

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Plantasia: Music for Plants Part II

...own Evolution reader Avi, track down a downloadable copy of Dr. George Milstein’s 1970 album Music to Grow Plants, but  he also suggested two more cultural landmarks of the 1970s “chattin’ with plants” period. Mort Garson’s Moog generated album Plantasia: Warm Earth Music for Plants and the People Who Love Them is pretty much what I would imagine a macramé suspended spider plant wanting to listen to. Its groovin̵...

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Capparis spinosa – Capers

...row a lawn, a foolish water-wasting mistake we made in our pre-SurviveLA days. Working with nature means finding plants that belong in a climate similar to your part of the world. We’re not native plant fascists and will gladly source plants from other similar climates, but we don’t believe in nursing sickly plants that can’t take our heat, or need lots of water. This season we’ve pledge not to be tempted by the allure of...

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The Strange World of Artificial Plants

...Ikea’s Fejka. On a recent pilgrimage to Ikea, I ended up staring at a large display of fake plants while Mrs. Root Simple found a replacement for our kitten-shredded drapes. Viewed from a distance Ikea’s plastic plants were realistic, though seemingly outside of any known plant genus. I found myself pondering the question of what permacultural context in which these plastic plants would be an appropriate design solution...

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Remember to Label Those Jars!

Label, label, label!” This was one of the most important lessons I learned in my Master Food Preserver training. You’ll note, from the jars above, that I’m not very good about this. When were those jars canned and what’s in them? I have no idea. They were probably the result of some late night canning frenzy two years ago. At the time I probably thought to myself, “I’ll label them in the morning.”...

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A Common Sense View of Invasive Plants

...Professors blog a sensible letter in Nature from Mark Davis and 18 other ecologists on the tired, in my opinion, native vs. invasive species debate: It is time for scientists, land managers and policy-makers to ditch this preoccupation with the native–alien dichotomy and embrace more dynamic and pragmatic approaches to the conservation and management of species — approaches better suited to our fast-changing planet. Clearly, natural-resource agen...

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Salvia Means Salvation: White Sage

...they do a wonderful tag-team act, delivering both the Chumash message and the Western scientific take on various plants. Not that they’re doing a Scully and Mulder. James is very taken with the gentleness and efficacy of these plants and repeatedly said he wished western medicine would reconsider their value. I thought I’d give you a taste of today’s lessons by telling you a bit of what I learned about white sage, Salivia apiana...

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