How to save tomato seed

...paper plates. Tomato seeds stick to paper towels, so if you use those you may end up having to plant the seeds on their little bits of towel. Once they are bone dry, transfer to envelopes or glass jars for storage. Be sure to label! *I just lost a batch to germination. I blame the heat. It didn’t seem like they’d be fermenting that long, but after I drained my seeds I saw the tiny little white nubbins poking out of the seeds. Now I...

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Roundup

...mulching much more than we used to. Newspaper topped with leaves and twigs seems to work great, and the newspaper takes much longer than one might expect to break down. While not appropriate for our dry climate and incendiary native plants, it’s possible in wetter climes to burn weeds with a propane tool such as these. Ultimately, SurviveLA has replaced Roundup with a zen expression, “If you see a weed pull it”....

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On the Many Frustrations of Gardening: Pierce’s Disease

. After losing three table grape vines in ten years, I can attest to the wisdom of Turney’s advice. To grow grapes in the warm southern parts of the U.S., you simply have to plant Pierce resistant varieites such as the native Vitus californica or muscadine grapes. The contrast between our flame seedless and our Vitus californica vine, in fact, is stunning. The flame is stunted and diseased, while our Vitus californica is so vigorous that I...

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Mahonia gracilis – Mexican Barberry

ortunately very few plants fit those stringent requirements. We came across some seeds recently for a plant called Mahonia gracilis or Mexican Barberry, but there’s very little information about this medium sized shrub, native to Mexico (or China depending on which source you believe). The Plants for a Future database report states that the plant grows in dry ravines of pine forests and produces an edible berry. But as usual most other sou...

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Resources

...Wheaton article Larry Winiarski’s Rocket Stove Principles Our own 5-Gallon bucket stove Seed Sources: Garden Edibles–Heirloom Italian Seeds Seed Starter’s Handbook (pdf) Seeds From Italy Peaceful Valley Native Seeds Self Irrigating Planters Green Roof Growers How to Build a Self Watering Container PDF PVC-free instructions from Josh Mandel Our You Tube video on how to build one Our blog roundup of related resources...

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Failed Experiment: Bermuda Buttercup or Sour Grass (Oxalis pes-caprae) as Dye

...if you dare. A kitty reward for those who made the jump. Kitties like sour grass. The first step is to weigh the dry fabric and the plant matter. You are supposed to use equal measurements of each (e.g. 6 oz of t-shirt/6 oz. plants).  The second step is to steep the plants in water. This is where I made my first half-assed mistake. I threw the plants into the pot whole, instead of chopping them up, as I was supposed to. Then, I covered the green...

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Physalis pruinosa a.k.a. “Ground Cherry”

While strolling the nursery seed isle this weekend looking for things to plant for our summer food needs, Homegrown Revolution came across a strange fruit we’ve never heard of, Physalis pruinosa, a.ka. ground cherry, a.k.a. husk tomato. a.k.a. strawberry tomato. Homegrown Revolution hates to throw around scientific names for plants but in this case we have to because the common names get so confusing. The back of the Tompson & Morgan...

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Plants: When to Hold Them, When to Fold Them

One of the most difficult lessons to learn about gardens is that they are not permanent. As Heraclitus says, “all things are flowing.” The best gardeners I know don’t suffer the attachments to plants that I do. They are much more ruthless. If a tree is in the wrong place it gets cut down. If two plants are too close together, one gets ripped out. What Pierce’s disease looks like. I’m trying to get the hang...

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Root Knot Nematodes, Meliodogyne spp.

Root knot nematodes are my current sworn enemy in the garden. They are very frustrating because unless you know what to look for, you may never know you have a problem. Nematodes are microscopic soil dwelling roundworms. There are many different kinds of nematodes and not all are garden pests. However, the root knot nematode is a very annoying pest indeed. Above ground, plants are stunted. Below ground, the little guys are sucking on the plant...

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Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

Every time we visit the nice folks at Petaluma Urban Homestead they send us home with some strange plant. Thanks to PUH, who are busy actually doing things as opposed to blogging about doing things, we now have a beautiful flowering mullein plant (Verbascum thapsus). Verbascum thapsus is one of those plants that most people think of as a weed. Native to Europe and Asia, Verbascum thapsus was introduced to North America because of its many medic...

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