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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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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In Praise of Disorder

Loose chickens in Houston A neighborhood whose demographics fall somewhere between the extremes of the crack den and the country club presents just the right level of civic inattention to allow the urban homesteader to get away with many of the illegal projects profiled in this blog: greywater, backyard poultry, and front yard vegetable gardening, to mention just a few. Ideally you have a balance between order and disorder–neither gunfir...

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How to Deal With Cabbage Worms

It happens every year. I forget the gardening lessons of the year before. Take my many failed attempts to grow cabbage, for instance. It always gets decimated by the imported cabbage worm (Pieris rapae), a creature as abundant in Los Angeles as aspiring actors. There are several strategies I could use to deal with this pest (cabbage worms, that is–I have no problem with actors). I could spray Bacillus thuringiensis but I don’t like...

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2013 in Review Part II

...siting of the 3 mule guy (one of our most Googled posts, by the way). August I consider summer to be our winter in Los Angeles. It’s hot and dry and, other than harvesting tomatoes, summer here is not the best time for gardening. Time to contemplate closed vs. open floor plans and catch a crappy Hollywood movie. “Crappy Hollywood” is a redundancy, of course, as all Hollywood movies are crappy. September Mrs. Homegrown complain...

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Front Yard Vegetable Gardeners Fights Back

Hermine Ricketts, vegetable gardening outlaw. Photo: Greg Allen, NPR. I’ve got a tip for to city bureaucrats. Bust someone for growing vegetables in their front yard and you’ll be held up for ridicule around the world. This time it’s the city of Miami Shores’ turn to make fools of themselves for forcing Hermine Ricketts and her husband Tom Carroll to tear up the front yard vegetable garden they’ve tended for 17 year...

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Reforming City Codes

...eate city codes that work as guidelines, something like Christopher Alexander’s Pattern Language, rather than proscriptions. Take parkway planting regulations, for instance. Put together a group of landscape architects, gardening enthusiasts, native plant experts and come up with a guidebook rather than a list of rules. Ultimately, a human being is going to have to make a judgement call on whether something is a nuisance. My error with yest...

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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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Saturday Linkages: $1 Homes, Compost Heated Showers and Potty Talk

3573 Lincoln St.in Gary, Indiana. Yours for $1. Home Sweet Home Gary Indiana unveils Dollar Home Program: http://bit.ly/19HD517  Gardening Pipe planters http://www.recyclart.org/2013/06/pipe-planters/ … Mariposa Nabi Community Garden features this alter via @GlenDake http://pinterest.com/pin/306667055846811135/ … DIY IKEA Hackers: New life for Old Poang! http://www.ikeahackers.net/2013/06 13 Ways To Turn Your Outdated ’90s Tech Into Truly Usa...

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Saturday Linkages: Bus Offices and Secret Doors

...O assemble the Powercube, hydraulic power source for the Global Village Construction set: http://boingboing.net/2013/01/18/howto-assemble-the-powercube.html … A just plain cool site: inspirationgreen.com/index  Thanks, Davis! Gardening grounded design by Thomas Rainer: No They Didn’t!: A Gallery of Mockable Landscapes http://landscapeofmeaning.blogspot.com/p/no-they-didnt-gallery-of-mockable.html?spref=tw … Ancient wheat: making a comeback...

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