Nettle Harvest

...to harvest. I put on latex gloves, got my kitchen shears and a brown paper bag. I discovered that nettle can sting you right through a latex glove. And my wrists were stung quite severely. But oh well. I was so excited about harvesting I just plunged my arm into the deep green patch and started cutting. I cut the plants off near ground level and carefully placed them in my paper bag. Then I closed the paper bag and hung it inside near a sunn...

Continue reading…

The Austrian Scythe is the New Weed Whacker

...o smooth out nicks). Scythes come in European and American styles. The European configuration is ergonomic and the American style is clunky and uncomfortable to use. There’s also several different blades for weeding and harvesting and, like a bicycle, it’s crucial that your scythe fit your height. Scythe use is intellectual for me since years worth of mulching, a dry climate and a very small yard means that I don’t have any stan...

Continue reading…

Squash Baby Stolen!

Squash Baby’s empty cage This morning we woke to find that Squash Baby had been taken during the night. Erik just returned from searching the neighborhood, hoping to find traces, remanants or, heaven help us, the perp him or herself.  Needless to say, he is cursing. He’d planned on harvesting Squash Baby today, so it is particularly heartbreaking. It had stopped adding inches (I believe it held at 36″), and had start...

Continue reading…

Our Holiday Gift Suggestions

...easy Rosalind Creasy just came out with a completely rewritten version of her classic book Edible Landscaping . The book is full of dazzling photos, helpful design suggestions and a long plant list with detailed growing and harvesting directions. I’ve been carefully reviewing this book as we redesign our yard. Especially helpful has been Creasy’s suggestion to draw a plan, to scale, and create lists of design ideas and problem areas...

Continue reading…

2013 in Review Part I

...raw bale garden. It was the perfect solution to our lead soil problem–grow in bales temporarily and generate a lot of compost with which to use in permanent raised beds that I’ll build this winter. I’m still harvesting squash from those bales! May We attend the Age of Limits conference along with our friend John Zapf. Kelly and I blogged about our initial reaction to this doomy event but we never told the whole story–deci...

Continue reading…

Print and Internet Resources for Natural, No-Treatment Beekeeping

...ion at The Practical Beekeeper. The videos on the Backwards Beekeepers will be very useful for folks in places without natural beekeeping mentors. Check on the one on swarm captures as well as how to do crush and strain honey harvesting. HoneyLove has some great resources and a forum. Discussions on the organic beekeepers Yahoo group get heated, to put it mildly, but there’s good info. Gaia Bees is the website of Michael Thiele, who we blog...

Continue reading…

Medlar: The Best Fruit You’ve Never Heard Of

...summers and cold, frosty winters. If you live in a place like that, I’d highly recommend you plant a medlar. It’s a small, attractive tree, topping out at about 10 feet, and can be kept bush size. The ones we were harvesting were only 4-6 feet high. They are not widely available, but Raintree Nursery has a selection here. After the jump is a little photo gallery from our trip: Craig sorting medlars in the grand countyside...

Continue reading…

Breadbaking (Level 1) Class at the Ecology Center

...apron (if you have one). By baking bread at home, you’re in charge of what goes into every loaf and can choose to incorporate local and organic ingredients. Other benefits of baking at home include using less energy (used in harvesting, processing, and shipping store-bought bread), using less plastic packaging, and spending less money. Become a baker and join us during this heart-healthy workshop to learn how. Instructor: Erik Knutzen Cost is $2...

Continue reading…

2013 in Review Part II

...f the Saddle Tramps. Perhaps she was inspired by our 2012 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 Holly...

Continue reading…