How to Remove Bees From a Tree

The Los Angeles Fire Department responds to the North Hollywood bee incident. Photo: LAFD. First let’s cover how not to remove bees from a tree. My beekeeping mentor Kirk Anderson described an incident that took place this week in North Hollywood, What happened was a HUMAN was cutting his tree down. It came down alright, with the bees that were in the tree. The bees didn’t expect or enjoy the trip to the ground. Th...

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How to Plant a Fruit Tree

It’s bare root fruit tree planting season here in California and this video, from the Dave Wilson Nursery, shows you how to plant your trees once they arrive in the mail. One quibble–it’s been proven to be not a good idea to amend soil when you’re planting a tree. Other than that, this is how we’ve planted our trees and they’ve all grown well. And I wish that I had done the radical pruning you see at the en...

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Loquat season is here!

photo courtesy of wikimedia Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) season is upon us here in our neighborhood of HaFoSaFo (that is, one special corner of Los Angeles). This post will not have much relevance to those of you who do not live in a subtropical or mild climate, but for those of you who do, I highly encourage you to get to know the humble yet mysterious loquat. Loquat trees abound in our neighborhood, and I don’t know if...

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Apartment Parking Lot Gardening in East Hollywood

Today we have a guest post from R.J., who lives near us in East Hollywood. R.J.’s post proves that you can start a garden even if you don’t own a house and how an otherwise useless urban space can be put to good use. R.J. says: I wanted to be able to give my granddaughter the experience of gardening while she was growing up but as both my daughter and I live in apartments, and have no space for gardens I needed to...

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Is Urban Homesteading Over With?

It seems that we’re back in a period of irrational exuberance. I know because I keep hearing about people lining up to buy crumbling 1,000 square foot bungalows in dodgy Los Angeles neighborhoods for $1,000,000. History tells us that during these periods folks ditch their chicken coops and vegetable gardens and head to the mall to shop. I hope I’m wrong, that during our next economic bubble people will be more sensible. And the fu...

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StoveTec’s Hot Rocket Stoves

StoveTec’s wood burning rocket stove on the left, charcoal and wood on the right. A reader comment alerted me to a very cool product, the StoveTec Rocket Stove, offered by the “not-just-for-profit” wing of the Aprovecho Research Center. Profits from sales of the stoves benefit the Center’s research. StoveTec sells two rocket stoves, one for wood and the other for both wood and charcoal. While I haven’t tested one,...

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Accidental Garden Design: Pomegranate and Prickly Pear

Can good garden design be taught or is it something you’re born with? If it’s inherited I didn’t get that gene, unfortunately. But at least a garden can sometimes put on a good show despite the gardener’s lack of design sense. Above, the view out our front window of our pomegranate tree (Punica granatum ‘Wondeful’) against our overgrown prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica). These two plants have a lot...

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The Pinnacle of Permaculture: Tending the Wild

Book review: Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources by M. Kat Anderson, University of California Press, 2006 When the white man came to California, he found a verdant paradise: meadows thick with wildflowers and clover, stately groves of nut trees, abundant, healthy game and rivers full of fish. It was a land of endless bounty. The natives, often derogatorily called “Diggers...

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Vertical Vegetables

Frederick Law Olmstead’s office has a 19th century “vertical garden.” Vines! I was somewhat dismayed to see a local newspaper article touting a company that sells a $1,000 vertical vegetable garden system to schools. The company has a plan to sell this system nationwide. The problem is that I have serious doubts about the long term viability of vertical garden walls for a number of reasons: irrigation, maintenance and start u...

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