It’s Calendula Season!

...#8217;m using it right now to treat my sunburn–which is what made me think of this post. But outside of this, it’s an all around useful herb.  Here’s a couple of profiles to check out if you need convincing: Plants for a Future;  University of Maryland It takes about 60 days for Calendula to reach maturity from seed, so if it’s spring where you live, now is a good time to plant it. Note that Calendula is a happy volunteer....

Continue reading…

Self-Irrigating Gutter Update

...th a 4-inch drain pipe. The drain pipe is easier to keep water-tight. And instead of using a gutter filled with soil I might use a series of pots (an idea that’s also in the video)–gutters are too shallow for most plants. Despite the problems, I would call the project a success. In fact, I may expand my gutter system out onto the rest of the garage roo....

Continue reading…

Why You Should Avoid Staking Trees

The correct way to stake a tree. Image from the Vacaville Tree Foundation To answer the question of why tree staking should be avoided, one can turn to the latest Extension Service advice or to the nearly 2000 year old words of Seneca: No tree becomes rooted and sturdy unless many a wind assails it. For by its very tossing it tightens its grip and plants its roots more securely; the fragile trees are those that have grown in a sunny valley. It...

Continue reading…

Saturday Linkages

...e-an-inte.html Horticultural myths: http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~linda chalker-scott/Horticultural Myths_files/ Where Laundry is Garden Art http://bit.ly/JdNs33 Video: Alphabets Heaven beat music and “Private Life of Plants”: http://boingboing.net/2012/05/14/video-alphabets-heaven-beat-m.html Carpenter builds incredible egg-shaped treehouse hidden from view on Crown land just yards from… http://bit.ly/IkAM7w Wood fired ovens...

Continue reading…

Roundin’ up the Summer Urban Homesteading Disasters

...by racoons and the other that never fully matured before the vine crapped out. The immature squash was still edible, but bland. Moral: winter squash just ain’t space efficient. Next year I’ll tuck it around other plants and trees rather than have it hog up space in my intensively planted veggie beds. Luscious compost tomatoes. Unintentional Gardening I built a cold frame this spring so that I could get a head start on propag...

Continue reading…

Are Raised Beds a Good Idea?

...ng they look so poorly *only* because they are raised beds. That pair of beds has produced very well in the past, but has some sort of soil problem now–one which we can’t figure out. So I wouldn’t agree with labeling the picture “raised bed fail”– it’s more of a gardener fail. It may have something to do with the fact that they are raised, that the soil texture has deteriorated over time due to the elevat...

Continue reading…

Spore 1.1

...kly basis, according to the performance of Home Depot stock. If the Home Depot stock does well, Spore 1.1 gets watered. If Home Depot stock does poorly, “Spore 1.1.” goes without. Because Home Depot guarantees all of their plants for one year, if one rubber tree dies, another will be substituted in its place....

Continue reading…

Greywater Workshops in Los Angeles

...s easy to install in most home applications. This is a hands-on class, participants will be learning about and participating in the construction of a real greywater system. The class will cover: Greywater principles, the best plants to water with greywater, common pitfalls and how to avoid them, and how to install a system that is legal under the new California code. (for Santa Monica residents only) Design and install your own laundry to landsca...

Continue reading…

So-So Tomatoes Become Excellent When Dried

As we reported earlier, we weren’t thrilled with our cherry tomato choice this summer. They were just plain dull. They were also rather large for a cherry, more like mini-plum tomatoes, which made them awkward for salads. But they were healthy plants, and very, very prolific. In situations like this it is good to remember that tomatoes which don’t taste good off the bush often cook or dry well. The ratio of skin and seeds to pulp in...

Continue reading…

Rearranging the yard, yet again!

...he “people space” is established, all the rest of the garden becomes useable plant space. We actually have more growing space now. 2) Perennials: The last redesign put a lot of emphasis on growing space for annual plants. In turned out to be a little more space than we needed. Annuals are a lot of work, especially here, where we garden year round and a bed can cycle through 4 crops a year. We’ll still have dedicated annual beds,...

Continue reading…