Picture Sundays: A Native Bee Hotel

Don’t know much about this native bee house other than that it’s near Paris. For more info on native bee habitats, see our post from earlier this year. Update: reader Drew left a comment to say that this habitat is in the Jardin des Plantas in Paris which is attached to the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle (http://www.mnhn.fr/le-museum/). Thanks to David Dalzel for the tip....

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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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Advances in Gardening Series: A Progress Report

...In the dead center is what I call The Hippie Heart (and yes, that’s tm’d too.). I’ll come back to the heart: I like the view better from the other direction. In the center foreground you can see twig with a label tied to it. That’s one of our brand new fruit trees.: This below is a pretty uninspired picture of The Hippie Heart, a raised bed which is about 5 feet across, made by simply digging up and mounding earth–...

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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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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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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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Can our landscapes model a vibrant future? Not according to the LA DWP.

...t people and designers in this city. Call us if you need numbers. Consider using permeable surfaces and contoured landscaping to capture every drop of our rare rainfall and send it down to the thirsty soil. Show us how to use native and Mediterranean plants to make lush landscapes that call in the pollinators. Help us create landscapes we want to walk through and live in. Model this kind of smart landscaping for us, please. Water-wise and ugly do...

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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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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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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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