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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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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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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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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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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Picture Sunday: Images of Detroit

...derful – -you can see more at her website : Jill Nienhuis Jill lives in a neighborhood in NW Detroit called Brightmoor. It’s a neighborhood which has fallen on hard times, but is being revitalized, largely through gardening. She and her boyfriend, Michael, are growing a large garden on several vacant lots, and are looking to buy a house near their garden at auction. Land in Brightmoor is inexpensive. (One of the lots she gardens on co...

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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: 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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