Introducing Lora Hall

...ast week Lora had a bunch of interesting plants including purslane, tomatoes, tomatillos as well as a selection of fruit trees appropriate for our warm climate. In the LA area and want some fruit trees for your backyard? Some gardening advice? Contact Lora at fullcirclegardening@gmail.com. Lora will be posting as Homegrown Neighbor....

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Least Favorite Plant: Asparagus Fern (Asparagus setaceus)

...irtues in what most people think of as weeds, plants like broadleaf plantain and stinging nettles. Instead we’ll focus our horticultural wrath elsewhere. Asparagus Fern (Asparagus setaceus) is the scourge of my backyard gardening existence and a plant many will recognize from floral arrangements. The bozos who owned our house before us planted one of these nasty things underneath the avocado tree. It entangles itself through the branches of...

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Spreadin’ Seed

The past week was spent feverishly spreading genetic material around. No, we weren’t backstage with Metallica. We’re talking plants. Here’s a few ways we’ve been spinning the genetic biodiversity wheel in the past week: Seed Swaps Yesterday was International Seed Swap Day of Action, sponsored by Food not Lawns. We celebrated the day in Altadena with a bunch of local gardening enthusiasts and countless boxes of seeds. We g...

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Shiitake Happens

...report back on the results. Tips from readers are appreciated. And speaking of reader tips, an anonymous commenter on our self irrigating planter post noted that indoor marijuana farmers have been experimenting with container gardening for years and that Homegrown Evolution would be wise to take a look at the kind of innovation that comes with higher (so to speak) profit margins. Good point. In trying to find better sources for information on sma...

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Altadena Heritage of Abundance

Our backyard last week (some ugly stuff framed out of the picture!) We’ll be doing a talk tomorrow morning as part of a sustainability series in Altadena, CA. We’re going to talk about self irrigating planters, chickens, bees and vegetable gardening. Here’s the 411: Saturday, May 30 from 9 to 11 a.m at the Altadena Community Center First in a series of events, workshops, and home tours on sustainable living. Reserve your plac...

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Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land

...lity, resilience and persistence. What worked for us in the past is not always going to work in the future. We must know our land intimately, make good guesses, and be creative about developing  strategies to distribute risk. Gardening is hard enough, heaven knows. The bad news is that it is going to get harder. The good news is that you can work your way through the challenges. Their are tools, techniques, and plant varieties that can help you w...

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In Defense of the Paper Wasp

Paper wasp building a nest. Image: Wikimedia. I really don’t like gardening advice that divides the natural world into lists of good and bad bugs. From nature’s perspective all creatures have a role, even the much despised paper wasp. Paper Wasp Biology 101 Wasps perform important duties: some wasps eat other insects, other wasps are scavengers, acting as nature’s garbage disposers. That’s not to say that wasps don’...

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Journal of the New Alchemists

...te. History repeats itself. What the New Alchemists did, in response to the 1970s era energy crisis and political instability, sounds a lot like what people have been up to since the 2008 economic bubble: aquaculture, organic gardening, earth building, market gardens, no-till agriculture, old timey music, wind power, four season growing, permaculture, non-hierarchical leadership and goats. Only the 1980s era of appropriate technology amnesia sepa...

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Village Homes: A Model for Sustainable Suburbs

...exotic jujubee trees to grapes to almonds. Residents can stroll around in the abundant shade and pick fruit at will. Only the almond crop is off limits–the almond crop is harvested every year and sold to support the the gardening services for the entire development. There are also community garden space available for those who wish to raise more food crops than their own yard space allows.  The lush growth coupled with the reduced asphalt s...

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