Eat Your Pests

Grubs anyone? Responding to our anti-squirrel post a few days ago Root Simple reader Chile pointed to a post on the her blog “Pests . . . and how to eat them“. She makes the excellent point that most of our dreaded garden pests, including insects are edible. Now if I could only overcome my squeamishness about eating insects. I had to deal with lots of wax moth larvae this week and remembered that in parts of Asia they are s...

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Lead Update

that “plant available” is different than the total amount of lead in the soil. The total amount would be about ten times higher or 1,120 ppm. According to the University of Minnesota Extension Service, Generally, it has been considered safe to use garden produce grown in soils with total lead levels less than 300 ppm. The risk of lead poisoning through the food chain increases as the soil lead level rises above this concentrati...

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Urine as a Fertilizer

available (at least after a night of beer drinking) alternative to organic nitrogen fertilizers such as blood meal. We’ve got a perpetual nitrogen deficiency in our vegetable beds and I hate buying industrial ag sourced items like blood meal. Urine is a great alternative. To use urine in the garden you’ve got to dilute it with water, at least ten to one. Straight urine will burn your plants. Thankfully we don’t worry about our s...

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The Practical Beekeeper by Michael Bush

book for beginning and advanced beekeepers. There’s much good, practical information and I learned a lot reading this book on a long train trip. Bush has many interesting tips and tools that you can build yourself. And it’s the few books I’ve seen that tells you how to do swarm captures and cut-outs. Bush’s website, The Practical Beekeeper also has an encyclopedia’s worth of handy info....

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Why I Grow Vegetables From Seed

Chard destined for failure On the last day of a vegetable gardening class that Kelly and I just finished teaching at the Huntington, we needed to demonstrate how to transplant seedlings. The problem was that we didn’t have any seedlings at home ready to transplant, so I had to make a trip to a garden center. That sorry errand reminded me why I grow from seed. All of the seedlings at the nursery were uninteresting varieties and ro...

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Straw Bale Garden Part III: Adding Fertilizer

After watering our straw bales for three days our next step is to apply a high nitrogen fertilizer. We’re following West Virginia University Extension Service’s Straw Bale Gardening advice. They suggest a 1/2 cup of urea per bale or “bone meal, fish meal, or compost for a more organic approach.” (I think they mean blood meal as bone meal does not have much nitrogen in it.) Choosing the organic approach, we’re water...

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Saturday Linkages: Sidewalk Koi, Papercrete, Jaywalking and How to Grow Fresh Air

Wendy Tremayne and Mikey Sklar’s papercrete masterpiece. Interventions Sidewalk Koi http://greenroofgrowers.blogspot.com/2013/08/sidewalk-koi.html … Worker sent to remove graffiti finds image of himself on the same wall hours later http://fw.to/wOjTzDJ Let’s Build A Traditional City (And Make A Profit) http://www.andrewalexanderprice.com/blog20130330.php … Building Tiny Tea House on Wheels http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/lloydkahn/~...

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Saturday Linkages: Sink Urinals!

ash-hands/ … Adding fuel to the fire The Exaggerated Benefits of Electric Cars http://dc.streetsblog.org/2013/07/01/the-exaggerated-benefits-of-electric-cars/#.UdyjXdg39C8.twitter … Car Ownership May Be Down in the U.S., But It’s Soaring Globally http://dc.streetsblog.org/2013/07/05/car-ownership-may-be-down-in-the-u-s-but-its-soaring-globally/#.Udyi4jX2O2g.twitter … Hollywood–blocking bike lanes yet again: http://la.streetsblog.org/2013/0...

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LA’s Parkway Garden Dilemma: Not Fixed Yet

to do the right thing, i.e. plant an attractive set of either edible or drought tolerant plants? There’s currently no permit fee to plant a water hungry lawn that needs to be “mowed and blowed” every week. It gets down to the simple fact that a human being has to decide what is a “nuisance.” Untended Bermuda grass with a couch and busted up bookcase: that’s a nuisance. But you can’t specify in the munic...

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