Picture Sunday: A Winter Harvest in Florida

Root Simple reader Noel Ramos sent the picture above of some local fruit grown in Florida to remind us that winter gardening is big there too. Noel grows over 500lbs of fruit and veggies every year on a quarter acre city lot. In the picture: Canistel, Rollinia, red navels, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Carambola, pineapple, sapodilla, sugar apple, dwarf Cavendish bananas, ambarella, jaboticaba, jackfruit flowers, papaya, lemon and red palm fruits (inedi...

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Erik’s 2012 New Year’s Resolutions in Review

...e license. Fail: Get HAM technician’s license. Learn Morse code Attend CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) classes. Organize messy office so it doesn’t look like an episode of Hoarders. Organize supplies in garage into labeled boxes: still messy. Turn the garage into the ultimate man cave. Increase running distance. Organize bug-out box. Backpack more often. Camp on Santa Rosa island again. Return to biodynamic practices in the garden. Lea...

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Saturday Linkages: A Boat Couch and Chickens in the News

‏ Design Couch made out of old rowboat: http://www.dudecraft.com/2012/12/all-at-sea.html … Chickens in the News Pet chicken alerts family about house fire http://www.weau.com/home/headlines VW Chicken Coop Scale Model http://www.dudecraft.com/2012/12/vw-chicken-coop-scale-model.html … Gardening What a Little Paint Can Do In Your Garden | Garden Rant http://gardenrant.com/2012/12/what-a-little-paint-can-do.html … For these links and more, fo...

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Saturday Linkages: Bow Drills and Cramped Apartments

Bow drill from Low Tech Magazine Gardening The End of Molasses Malarkey: http://ow.ly/1TC4aU DIY Making Wooden Spoons http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/2013/03/making-wooden-spoons.html#.UUPl2rFofzQ.twitter … Low-Tech Wonders Hand powered drilling tools and machines: http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2010/12/hand-powered-drilling-tools-and-machines.html … Endless Rope Drives: http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2013/03/the-mechanical-transmission-...

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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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Biochar: Miracle or Gimmick?

Cornell University illustration showing biochar as a means of sequestering greenhouse gases. I’m always skeptical of what I call the “notions and potions” school of gardening. Every few years there is some new substance touted as the secret to a lush vegetable garden. One such substance is biochar, a kind of charcoal used as a soil amendment. The University of Minnesota Extension service is in the midst of a four year study to...

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On Living in Los Angeles Without a Car: A Debate

...that makes me sad. Also, I’m worried about the animals. We have a cat in heart failure. How will we get her to her specialty vets, both of which are in other cities?  What about emergencies? What about all the farm and gardening supplies we have to haul around? It seems to me that deciding to live without a car in a city like this is a little like deciding to take religious orders. It involves a reworking of all your habits and considerabl...

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

Growin’ Why Your Supermarket Only Sells 5 Kinds of Apples http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/04/heritage-apples-john-bunker-maine … Taming the Wild Thyme: A Visit to a Za’atar Farm in Lebanon http://ow.ly/kqeoi  New Farmer’s Almanac for 2013: http://boingboing.net/2013/04/21/new-farmers-almanac-for-2013.html … Plants as Education: Kit Brings Gardening Back to the Masses http://dornob.com/37885/  Fortrait #4 “Su...

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Lady Urine, Water Conservation and Halfway Humanure

...we’re trying out this strawbale garden thing. We can help to get the bales going by peeing on them. But there’s a lot of bales, and Erik only has so much pee. My contributions would be useful. Plus, this method of gardening is undeniably water hungry. I feel like we should partially offset this expenditure by conserving water as much as we can. One simple way to save water is to stop flushing the toilet so much. And if all our pee wen...

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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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