A Hotel for Insects

To celebrate 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity, British Land and the City of London sponsored a design competition for a “Hotel for Insects.” Arup Associates won with the design above. The rules stipulated that the hotel had to accommodate stag beetles, solitary bees, butterflies, moths, spiders, lacewings and ladybugs. Read the full article here Thanks to Leonardo of the Backwards Beekeepers for the tip. See some other...

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Tracking the Mood of the Gardener

Swiss chard from the winter of 2010 A Root Simple reader I ran into this weekend took issue with my assertion that fall is the best time to start a vegetable garden in Southern California. Thinking about it some more I think she may have a point. Some of you may have noticed that we have a new feature on the blog–if you click on an individual blog post you’ll see a list of related posts at the bottom. Looking at some of those older p...

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Saturday Linkages: Garden Hoses, Planners and IKEA Hacks . . .

Ikea meets aquaponics. Gardening Finding the Garden Hose of my Dreams Garden Rant http://gardenrant.com/2013/01/garden-hose-of-my-d1reams.html … Home Ec On Planners, Productivity, and Idle Pleasures http://thetanglednest.com/2013/01/on-planners-productivity-and-idle-pleasures/ … DIY Barn Door Track Tutorail http://shar.es/47h3M  How Google Earth Revealed Chicago’s Hidden Farms: http://ow.ly/gJRrS Bad News Department Florida couple may h...

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Bean Fest, Episode 2: Falafel and Babaganoush Recipes

Welcome back to Bean Fest 2010, our ongoing celebration of the humble dried bean. Last week we got a lot of great tips and hints in the comments. If you haven’t read those, I’d encourage you to take a peek. We also got a couple of recipes via email that we’re going to test out. Thanks, ya’ll! Again, if anyone has a favorite bean recipe, please send it this way ([email protected]). One lesson to take away...

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Update on Los Angeles’ Backwards Parkway Regulations

It looks like Councilman Wesson has temporarily suspended enforcement of parkway planting rules. This is in response to Steve Lopez’s LA Times column that profiled two parkway vegetable gardens that the city busted. A tip of the hat to Mr. Lopez for his good deed. We will all need to keep our eyes on the council and the Bureau of Street Services to make sure that the changes they make reflect common sense. And at the risk of tooting my own...

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What laundry detergent should I use for greywater applications?

When your laundry water is going to the soil instead of to the sewer (or a septic tank) you need to make sure that detergent is friendly to soil life. Your big brand detergents are a no-go. And even the various eco-detergents, even ones marked “biodegradable”, are not appropriate for the soil because they are essentially salt-based. They play well with aquatic life, bless them, and they’re a great alternative to more toxic det...

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Saturday Linkages: Cat Houses, Office Gyms, Cooking in Compost and More . . .

A cat house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright Makin’ Gourmet meal cooked in compost: http://www.7dvt.com/2012earthiest-roast … The Fixer’s Manifesto http://manifesto.sugru.com  Short film about Safecast, the hackerspace-created, crowdsource radioactivity monitoring project http://boingboing.net/2012/11/21/short-film-about-safecast-the.html … Vintage Cat House Designed by the Office of Frank Lloyd Wright – http://www.moderncat.net...

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Saturday Linkages: Bow Drills and Cramped Apartments

Bow drill from Low Tech Magazine Gardening The End of Molasses Malarkey: http://ow.ly/1TC4aU DIY Making Wooden Spoons http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/2013/03/making-wooden-spoons.html#.UUPl2rFofzQ.twitter … Low-Tech Wonders Hand powered drilling tools and machines: http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2010/12/hand-powered-drilling-tools-and-machines.html … Endless Rope Drives: http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2013/03/the-mechanical-transmission-...

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Saturday Linkages: Fueling Up

...ngblog.com/free-heat-for- your-home-homemade-briquettes-and-logs/  … Thoughtstylings Mark Bittman: A Simple Fix for Farming http:// nyti.ms/VjNlZb Fueling up: http:// we2our2.blogspot.com/2012/10/fuelin g-up.html  … Health The Island Where People Forget to Die http:// nyti.ms/S3Mitk Bikes Nice graphic showing why taking the lane is a good idea. http:// ow.ly/eIgHH   (via Commute Orlando)  From the Root Simple Archive  Appletastic Apple Cake...

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Make a Spore Print

Making a mushroom spore print is a fun activity for the kidlings and it’s simple: 1. Pick a mushroom (from the wild or the supermarket) and break off the stem. 2. Put your mushroom, spore side down, on a piece of white paper (or a 50/50 split of of dark paper and white paper to check subtleties in the color). 3. Put a glass over the mushroom and wait 24 hours. The next day you should have something that looks like the picture above. Spore...

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