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...

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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...

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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:...

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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...

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National Wildlife Federation Teams with Scotts

...tions like the NWF, that are little more than a mailing list, is over. We need more grass roots organizations at the community level that consist of actual people meeting face to face to do things like building school gardens, teaching permaculture and 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...

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Canning Citrus

...f liquids: water very light syrup (1/2 cup sugar per quart) light syrup (1 cup sugar per quart) medium syrup (1 3/4 cup sugar per quart) heavy syrup (2 3/4 cups sugar per quart) very heavy syrup (4 cups sugar per quart) syrup with honey (one part sugar to one part honey in any of the ratios above) The citrus preserved in just water was edible but not particularly good nor was it aesthetically pleasing. As much as I try to avoid sugar it does h...

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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...

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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...

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Self-watering terracotta seed-starters!

...dea: self-watering containers for seedlings. Most anyone who has ever tried to start a garden from seeds has had the experience of having seedlings die or go shocky due to a heat wave or a day or two of neglect. Starting seeds in a self-watering container makes a whole lot of sense. These containers can go up to a week between waterings. Even better, Anne’s seed starters are made out of terracotta instead of plastic. We’ve tried out h...

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