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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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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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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Saturday Linkages: Talking Plants, Microbes, Groundcovers, Shaving Rituals

Maybe Prince Charles was right after all: British scientists reveal plants really do talk http://bit.ly/Lr30hj Finally, A Map Of All The Microbes On Your Body http://n.pr/M2V5FQ   Groundcovers for gaps: http://ow.ly/1NEm0w Unique Shaving & Grooming Rituals from History and Around the World | The Art of Manliness http://artofmanliness.com/2012/06/07/shaving-rituals/ Handlebar Bicycle Hanger Suspends Your Ride from the Wall | Designs &...

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Favorite Plants- New Zealand Spinach

...n California’s heat. New Zealand spinach can be grown in the summer when other greens may not grow so well. My front garden be is pretty much all New Zealand spinach now. The drip watering system broke and most of the plants withered and died or were mercilessly attacked by bugs. But this plant kept on going strong. I have been growing it for many years and find it a reliable plant. In The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping, Rosalind C...

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Resilient Gardens

...change creates unpredictable weather, and unpredictability is a terrible thing for a gardener. Ensuring success, I think, will have to do more and more with identifying and perhaps even breeding tough-ass, locally adapted plantsPlants that are known survivors can form the backbone of your garden. Each year you can try to plant tender favorites, exotics, delicate plants of all sorts, whatever you want–and if the roll of the weather...

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Saturday Linkages: Beer Caps n’ Plants

Beer cap floor via Dude Craft. DIY Beer Cap Bathroom Floor http://www.dudecraft.com/2013/04/beer-cap-bathroom-floor.html … Lecture on stone-wall building, with miniature stone wall built: http://boingboing.net/2013/04/02/lecture-on-stone-wall-building.html … Plants! Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land http://j.mp/12r218m Transmitted light photos of houseplants: http://plantsarethestrangestpeople.blogspot.com/2013/04/exceptionally-pretty-pictu...

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More On Preventing Plants From Falling Over

...ze. The randomly strung network of twine will support the fava as it grows. You can see from my own fava bed below that I could have benefited from this low tech solution: While I didn’t lose any fava in the storm, the plants are sprawling all over the adjacent, narrow path making it difficult to harvest. As Jeavons says, the expert is the person who has made the most mistakes!...

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Deadly Nightshade vs. Black Nightshade

...at deal of superstition when it comes to toxicity. Remember that many Europeans considered tomatoes to be poisonous well into the 18th century. Even today tomato leaves, used by my Filipino neighbors as a seasoning, are still labeled by many as poisonous. An interesting article in the New York Times “Accused, Yes, but Probably Not a Killer” busts the tomato leaf toxicity myth. Atropa belladonna – don’t munch on this...

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Harvesting and Drying Calendula

...rd are older than that. I think some herbs keep their properties longer than others, but in general you should try to use them in a year or so. Like spices, the are best fresh, but usable, if not as potent, as they age.  Label and date all your herbs. Even if you think you’ll never forget, somehow or another you will, and at some future find yourself standing at your cupboard, holding a jar full of strange plant matter and saying to yo...

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