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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Book Review: The New Sunset Western Garden Book

The Sunset Western Garden Book was one of the first gardening books we picked up when we bought our house back in 1998. A new version is out this month, now dubbed The New Sunset Western Garden Book, and it’s a significant improvement over our old copy. Lavish photos have replaced the drawings of my 1998 copy. The new edition has significantly more coverage of edibles, including a vegetable planting schedule as well as nice photographs of...

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Lady Urine, Water Conservation and Halfway Humanure

I approve of the oval shape of the opening of this funnel– and the sporty color. Fact 1: Human urine is an excellent source of nitrogen for your garden. It can be applied directly to a compost pile, or diluted 10:1 and used on plants. Fact 2: Nature has equipped the male of the species in such a manner that it is easy for him to contribute nitrogen to the compost pile. For women, it’s a bit more tricky. So, how do ladies give back to...

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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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Saturday Linkages: Tall Bikes, Za’atar and So Much More

, a yard in Africa: # JoeMinter and 400 years of African-American history: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/garden/joe-minters-african-village-in-america.html?ref=garden … pic.twitter.com/qx07xlvDa4 Bikin’ Here’s what it feels like to ride a 14.5-foot-tall bike http://grist.org/list/heres-what-it-feels-like-to-ride-a-14-5-foot-tall-bike/#.UXl2JmJoeY0.twitter … Bikesnob on self driving cars: http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/2013/04/this-jus...

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Biochar: Miracle or Gimmick?

e for some crops. Yet, there was a decrease in growth in some plants and higher yield in others. In the Arboretum and St. Paul campus sites, we noted similar results, but more crops seemed to decline with biochar than without it. There’s nothing new about biochar. It was in use by native peoples in the Amazon region before Columbus. Hopefully this study will help clarify what types of soils and what crops benefit most from its use. Do you h...

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Saturday Linkages: $1 Homes, Compost Heated Showers and Potty Talk

3573 Lincoln St.in Gary, Indiana. Yours for $1. Home Sweet Home Gary Indiana unveils Dollar Home Program: http://bit.ly/19HD517  Gardening Pipe planters http://www.recyclart.org/2013/06/pipe-planters/ … Mariposa Nabi Community Garden features this alter via @GlenDake http://pinterest.com/pin/306667055846811135/ … DIY IKEA Hackers: New life for Old Poang! http://www.ikeahackers.net/2013/06 13 Ways To Turn Your Outdated ’90s Tech Into Truly Usa...

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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: Hiding Spots, Bedbugs and Rodents of Unusual Size

...objects/ … 130 Square Foot Micro Apartment in Paris | Inthralld http://inthralld.com/2013/04/130-square-foot-micro-apartment-in-paris/ … Bedbugs! How a Leafy Folk Remedy Stopped Bedbugs in Their Tracks http://nyti.ms/12H9HDI Gardening All About Gabions : Cheap Retaining and Other Garden Features http://shar.es/JHCQS  New killer compost problem–Imprelis: http://ow.ly/1UWcBj How to protect plants from frost: http://ow.ly/1UMWLG Farmers tack...

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Picture Sunday: A Winter Harvest in Florida

Grapefruit, Carambola, pineapple, sapodilla, sugar apple, dwarf Cavendish bananas, ambarella, jaboticaba, jackfruit flowers, papaya, lemon and red palm fruits (inedible). Amazing. If you’ve got a picture to share, send it along to us at [email protected]...

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