Tips on Composting from Will Bakx of Sonoma Compost

...le. I really makes it clear when you should turn and how often. Moisture Lack of moisture, according to Bakx, is the number one mistake made by beginning composters. He suggested an ideal moisture range between 40-­‐60%. You can check the moisture level using the following technique: Take handful of material. Squeeze firmlyWater escapes: >60%Shiny ball: 55%–60%Ball remains when tapped: 50–55%Ball falls apart when tapped: 45–50%N...

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Rearranging the yard, yet again!

...ayout is that I’ve established a new curving path that will carry you through the garden. It connects with the pre-existing path to form a loop. One advantage of establishing a path is that once the “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...

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Worm Composting

...#8217; brothers and sisters. Worm composting is an excellent an option for apartment dwellers looking to recycle their kitchen scraps. The whole set up is isolated in a plastic bin which can live in the kitchen or in a cool, shady spot on the balcony. The worm castings (poop, if you will) are odorless and make an outstanding fertilizer that you can use on your own potted plants or give to friends with gardens. Believe us, they will be very happy...

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The Vertical Gardens of Los Angeles

...found a successful, though unintentional, vertical garden in our neighborhood while walking her dogs yesterday. The plant you see above is growing through a drainage hole (the level of the ground behind the wall is where you see the plant growing). Makes me wonder if this particular design could be done on purpose, given the appropriate context. The plants, in this hypothetical drainage hole garden, could act as biofilters, absorbing excess nutr...

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Borage: It’s what’s for dinner

...e edible flowers, which can be preserved in sugar for cakes, or tossed into salads. I’ve heard of freezing them in ice cubes for fancy drinks, which is a lovely idea. Obligatory health warning:  I’m going to quote this directly from the very useful Plants for a Future database, from their entry on borage: The plant, but not the oil obtained from the seeds, contains small amounts of pyrrolizidine alkaloids that can cause liver damag...

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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...

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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...

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More Washing Machine Greywater Fun

...washing machine pumps are not designed with this in mind, so you run a slight risk of burning out or decreasing the life of your washing machine’s pump should you attempt to move the waste water out to your garden. There are, however, ways to minimize the risk of pump burnout. The guru of greywater, Art Ludwig, suggests the following methods for using your washing machine’s pump to irrigate plants: 1. Use only 1 inch HDPE or either r...

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Compost Rebuttal

...be video: Ingham’s work is controversial, but I believe time will prove her ideas correct. To grow fussy plants like vegetables we need to introduce beneficial microorganisms and fungi into the soil via well made compost. To make that compost we need to monitor the pile’s temperature carefully (it should be between 55ºC and 65ºC for at least three days according to Ingham). The pile also needs oxygen, provided by introducing loose m...

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How Can We Fix Our Public Landscaping?

...217;s time we do something about it. Two California based organizations come to mind: Daily Acts in Petaluma and the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano. Daily Acts has landscaped public spaces such as libraries and schools as well as private homes. These gardens provide an example that others can follow. The Ecology Center has a spectacular garden that shows do simple water harvesting to create a beautiful landscape with drought tolerant plant...

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