Saturday Linkages: Rocket Stoves, Big Cargo Bikes and Shopping for the Apocalypse

on, 1968 via @BoingBoing http://boingboing.net/2014/05/08/space-age-refrigeration- Climate: Rising C02 levels to hit grain nutrition http://www.seeddaily.com/reports/Climate_Rising_C02_levels_to_hit_grain_nutrition_999.html … It came from the faucet http://boingboing.net/2014/05/07/brain-eating-amoebas-in-my-wa.html … For these links and more, follow Root Simple on Twitter: Follow @rootsimple...

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The Other Kind of Fencing

That’s Mrs. Homegrown on the left back in 2005. It was with great sadness that we got the news of the passing of our fencing coach Amy Fortune in April. Both Kelly and I were lucky to have taken many lessons with Amy. She was one of those teachers that bring unexpected and valuable life lessons far beyond the topic at hand. She was patient, encouraging and always positive. We miss her very much and send our condolences to her husband Geoff...

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Can our landscapes model a vibrant future? Not according to the LA DWP.

California is suffering from drought. In Los Angeles, we’ve experienced back to back two of the driest winters on record (winter is our rainy season). Last year’s rainfall total was under 6 inches. The governor has asked California residents to cut their water use by 20%.  Apparently, we’ve only managed to cut it by 5%. There’s a strange sense of unreality about the drought. I think that’s because we’re just...

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Decomposed Granite as Mulch: A very bad idea

There’s a well defined architectural vocabulary house flippers use in our neighborhood. Flippers buy a crumbling 1920s bungalow, paint the front door orange, add a horizontal fence, redo the interior in a Home Depot meets Dwell Magazine style and then turn around and sell it for a million bucks. When house flippers tackle a yard they tend towards the “low-maintenance” landscape (in quotes because there’s no such thing as...

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Cactus Thief Strikes Again

our clothes and you are not angry at the man who steals them . . . our losses and our pains have to do only with the things we posses.” (Discourses Book 1.18) And wanting to posses a Home Depot cactus is quite pathetic. It reminds me of something a friend told me, “Never drive by and look at a garden in a house you once owned.” Our gardens are impermanent. That impermanence is actually something that makes gardening interesting....

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Reforming City Codes

On my high horse pointing a finger. In response to my intemperate use of the word “bureaucrat” in yesterday’s post on the city of Miami Shores’ crackdown on a front yard vegetable garden, a Root Simple reader DRBREW responded: I hate to do this, but in defense of City bureaucrats (of which, I am one) and code enforcement people (of which I am not)…… Most of those citations are complaint driven, it is the code enforcement...

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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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Village Homes: A Model for Sustainable Suburbs

I’ve recently discovered a truly inspiring housing development in Davis, California. This is not new news–it was built in the 1980′s, but it’s new to me and worth sharing. Village Homes is the brainchild of architect/developer Michael Corbett. It encompasses 70 acres and 200-some homes. It has all the space and privacy that brings people to the suburbs, but it’s designed with considerable intelligence. For instanc...

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In Defense of the Paper Wasp

only to discover that you can’t move paper wasps. They just flew back immediately to where their nest had been. Wasps don’t like scented products such as perfume, cologne, aftershave or hairspray. Come to think of it, if I were a wasp I’d sting people over this stinky stuff, particularly at the gym. But I digress. Concluding rant I suppose there are legitimate reasons to kill the occasional nest, but I wish more people knew the...

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Our New Straw Bale Garden–Part I

lems presented by our property–lead and zinc contamination and a backyard that is up 30 steps–make straw bale gardening a promising solution. Bales and fertilizer are easier to carry up the stairs than bulk soil. It will be cheaper than buying soil. No lead and zinc. I was also inspired by this attractive straw bale garden in Arizona. It will be a garden that changes over time. I like the idea of watching the bales turn into compost...

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