How To Design a Garden Step IV: Clues to Care

...can go a long ways to keeping the neighbors happy. Dr. Susan J. Mulley, a landscape architecture professor at Cal Poly Pomona is doing some interesting research on how people react to alternative forms of landscaping such as native plants and urban vegetable gardens. She’s doing opinion polls using Photoshopped mock-ups of residential, academic and commercial landscapes with food crops, native plantings and more conventional landscaping. T...

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Behold the Glassy Winged Sharpshooter (Homalodisca coagulata)

...ing frustration I blogged about last week. For your enjoyment I captured a 1/2-inch GWS specimen and scanned it. Note that the GWS was harmed in the process, for which I’m unapologetic. While there are many varieties of native sharpshooters in California, the GWS is an interloper from the Southeast US and is much more mobile. The native varieties tend to hang out in riparian areas while the GWS enjoys jumping around backyards, citrus groves...

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Foraging Walk in Los Angeles on February 25th

...to identify plants and hear their botanical histories, stories of their cultural usages, animal usages, and human usages. Come share in the experiential, medicinal, magical, and uber-local properties of Los Angeles’s native plants.  $20/person: maximum 25 people/urbanforage so secure your spot now! To register: $10 to paypal account: [email protected]..

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A Tour of the Homegrown Evolution Compound

placed the fig tree we tore out. Dominating the right side of the photo is the avocado tree. Next to that tree is a small dwarf pomegranate, and on the extreme right is another raised bed with strawberries, garlic, mint and a native grape vine, just about to leaf out. Now to correct some misconceptions: Our place looks like Versailles. Truth is, at some times, our garden looks terrible. It depends on the season, and the amount of time we have to...

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More Thoughts on Garlic

...ink I can draw a few conclusions. First, garlic likes fertile soil with plenty of nutrients. My home garden bed with the garlic in it has been amended with a lot of rich compost including worm castings and chicken manure. The native soil in the area also isn’t too bad. The pH is pretty neutral to slightly alkaline. Its a little heavy on the clay side but clay holds nutrients well and with all of the organic matter added the drainage is pret...

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Mystery Weed Identified: Geranium Molle

A number of Root Simple readers identified a plant that springs up in our backyard every winter. It’s Geranium molle. Readily pollinated by hymenoptera, Geranium molle has two popular names: Dovefoot Geranium and Awnless Geranium. Native to the Mediterranean, it was introduced to North America. The Plants for a Future database has a reference to the use of Geranium molle on wounds (Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants). Other than that, it...

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening

...an unsustainable product. Unfortunately, all those bags have to be hauled up thirty steps. As a whole, what we’ve done with our garden is a compromise. Most of the yard is permaculturish: lots of small fruit trees, some native plants, ornamental flowering plants for the wildlife and a whole lot of mulch. But I like to have a few Italian veggies so we’ve got five small raised beds. Did I leave anything off this list of raised bed pros...

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The Three Sisters

...eds we installed. In fact one of our neighbors has planted her own parkway vegetable garden just down the street. Since it was so late (July) we decided to cultivate heat tolerant vegetables and upped the ante by planting the Native American three sisters–corn, beans and squash. The three sisters are textbook permaculture, the idea being that the beans nitrogenate the soil and climb up the corn while the squash provides mulch. All plants ar...

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Greywater Fed Tomato Plant Takes Over The World

e of the house. If just an occasional load of laundry can provide such a boost to this little patch of land, I wonder what all of the other water used in the house could do. I would have to get rid of all of the low-water and native plantings and go tropical! It just goes to show how much water we use in our homes every day and don’t really think about where it goes. Eventually I would love for all of the water from our showers and sinks to...

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How to Keep Skunks Out of the Yard

...table. Working with skunks Once plants are well established skunks aren’t much of a problem. Where I don’t want to have to take all these preventative measures (such as the front yard) I’ve got fruit trees, native plants and cardoons–things skunks can’t uproot. The two vegetable beds I have in the front yard have to be encased in bird netting since there’s no way to fence in the entire front yard (it’s a...

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