Local Bite Challenge Starts Today

...of you will join her. She and her partner will be eating locally for 100 days on a budget of 100 bucks a week.  There’s all sorts of activities and mini-challenges over the 100 day period to keep you inspired. So if you’ve considered eating more locally, but haven’t quite found the gumption to embrace it yet, this would be a fun way to take the plunge, and see what you learn about your local foodscape. This introduction page gi...

Continue reading…

Bleach Alternatives for Disinfecting Pruning Shears

...horticulture professor at Washington State University. I’ve been using bleach which, it turns out, is not the best choice. Bleach is both toxic to humans and to plants as well. It also stains clothes and damages tools. Chalker-Scott’s preferred alternative? Lysol. It won’t corrode your tools and is safer to humans. She also discusses alcohol and Lysterine and a few other choices. The fact sheet concludes with more important det...

Continue reading…

Like Root Simple

Despite my mixed feelings about Facebook (we’re doing a lot of work for free for all those marketers, not to mention the creepy privacy issues), I try not to let perfection be the enemy of the good. Facebook can be a useful tool for interacting with folks. And I love hearing from you, our dear readers. So I’ve finally got around to creating a fan page for Root Simple. Please “like” us:...

Continue reading…

Chill Hour Calculator for California

Please excuse another California-centric post, but if you’re in the Golden State and like to geek out on keeping track of your chill hours here’s a handy tool bought to you by UC Davis: Cumulative Chilling Hours. Each year this page keeps track of chill hours between November 1 through end of February. If you know of a similar resource for other states/countries leave a link in the comments. As cool (so to speak) as this tool is, wh...

Continue reading…

National Wildlife Federation Teams with Scotts

...making our neighborhoods safer. For more background on this controversy see Garden Rant.  And leave a comment on the NWF’s Facebook page. Update: NWF has announced that they are giving up on this partnership citing Scott’s legal troubles  “related to events in 2008 that predate our partnership.” I’m still going to find an alternate use for my NWF wildlife habitat sign for even contemplating this partnership in the fi...

Continue reading…

Canning Citrus

...ut that in another post. Let’s just say that if I had a big citrus tree I’d consider canning some of the harvest using a very light sugar syrup. It’s a decent way to get a shelf stable product with a lot less sugar than, say a marmalade or jelly. Another sugar-free alternative would be to dehydrate the fruit. Directions for canning all kinds of fruit in syrup can be found on page 2-5 of the USDA’s Complete Guide to Home C...

Continue reading…

Avatar: I’m not lovin’ it.

...rporate general who is walking around in a top-heavy robot thingy. Sigourney Weaver dies and gets sucked up into the Gaia Hypothesis Shrub. Or, that’s my memory of it. I got kinda distracted by the 3D Imax Sensurround experience. As for Avatar’s ideas about nature, one of Cameron’s workers must have done a brief one page summary of Paul Stamet’s mushroom writings for the busy director. The whole fiber optic natural network...

Continue reading…

CoEvolution Quarterly Online

While hunting down old appropriate technology resources on the Internet, I was delighted to find the winter 1978 issue of CoEvolution Quarterly, put out by the folks behind the Whole Earth Catalog. This issue of CoEvolution profiled Robert Kourik (which CoEvolution spells “Kourick”) who practiced permaculture before Bill Mollison gave it a name: [Kourick] is developing methods of growing edible and ornamental plants together for max...

Continue reading…

How To Capture a Bee Swarm With Kirk Anderson

Swarm season is here in Southern California and will arrive elsewhere in North America with the coming of spring. In this video, beekeeper Kirk Anderson shows you how to catch a swarm. It’s the best way, in my opinion, to get bees to start your own hive. Why? Swarms, unlike packaged bees, are free. They are also local, meaning the bees know how to deal with your micro-climate. To capture a swarm you: Spray the swarm with a mixture of w...

Continue reading…