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...

Continue reading…

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...

Continue reading…

Flowers from Vegetables

...and birds. The usefulness comes in two waves: the first being the pollinators attracted to the flowers, and once the flowers go to seed the birds will move in. Of course this means that I’m “wasting space” and making my garden “unproductive” but the rewards outweigh any inconvenience. New gardeners are often surprised to see what amazing flowers different vegetables make. People with no connection to food plants what...

Continue reading…

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...

Continue reading…

Juicing Cane

At Camp Ramshackle, the plants that thrive are the ones that don’t require too much attention. Our sugar cane, started as a six inch start, is case and point. I harvested a stalk to add to lemonade. I first removed the thick tough skin. Once the skin was peeled, I sliced the cane stalks in half. Resident child labor juiced the stalks. Despite the mechanical help of the juicer it was an arduous task. Our yield was meager a...

Continue reading…

Stinging Nettles and Cat Allergies

...ce of licorice root or a bit of ground root. This sweetens the tea, albeit in a weird, licorice sort of way, and the licorice itself may help Fill the jar with boiling water Let it sit 4-8 hours to get incredibly strong Strain to a new jar Drink it iced, room temp or gently reheated. Try to drink that quart over the course of the day. Don’t keep it around, because it will lose its potency after a day. Pour it on your plants and make a fres...

Continue reading…

Advances in Gardening: The Trough of Garlic

..., every new bed helps. Even small ones. This is one reason we squeezed this one out of our patio. Note that like The Fan, The Trough is also covered with hoops and netting to keep skunks and squirrels (and chickens) out until the plants get established. Grow Your Own! If you haven’t grown garlic, it’s super easy. Just break up a head of garlic and plant the individual cloves pointy end up under an inch or so of soil, about six inches...

Continue reading…

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...

Continue reading…

Our Winter Vegetable Garden

...year I addressed that grievance. Beets “Bietolo da Orto Egitto Migliorata” A repeat from last year, these are tasty red beets. Buck’s horn plantain also known as “Erba Stella” An edible weed. Stinging nettles One of my favorite plants. It’s begun to reseed itself in the yard. Useful as a tea and a green. For more information on when to plant vegetables in Southern California, see this handy chart. And let us k...

Continue reading…

Advances in Gardening Series: We’re maturing

...rrounded by rain or snow with dreams of your own spring planting. Back in November, I cleared ground and planted the Phan/Fan with medicinal seedlings. See some of that history here. Now we’re at the end of February, and the Calendula and chamomile plants are mature. The Calendula (the yellow flowers in the pic) is giving off lots of blossoms, the chamomile–not so much. That’s garlic growing on the far right. It’s beginnin...

Continue reading…