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 th...

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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...

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Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land

...us a glimpse of the lived experience and philosophies of people who have thrived in difficult climates. Some of the key positive characteristics of a dry land farmer are adaptability, resilience and persistence. What worked for us in the past is not always going to work in the future. We must know our land intimately, make good guesses, and be creative about developing  strategies to distribute risk. Gardening is hard enough, heaven knows. The b...

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In Defense of the Paper Wasp

...-burn of cheap booze. The wasps I see the most around our house are paper wasps (family Vespidae and probably of the genus Polistes, though there are many different kinds of paper wasps). Paper wasps like to build their small nests under the eaves of the house. Their diet consists of caterpillars, flies and beetles—anything that eats those kinds of bugs are a friend of mine. Nests consist of around 30 to 40 wasps–workers, queens and d...

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Village Homes: A Model for Sustainable Suburbs

...st. All of the rainfall is captured and instead of being directed to the sewer system, it runs to swales between the houses, to nourish fruit trees. The resulting space is a lush park full of edibles, from exotic jujubee trees to grapes to almonds. Residents can stroll around in the abundant shade and pick fruit at will. Only the almond crop is off limits–the almond crop is harvested every year and sold to support the the gardening services...

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Watering 101

This is watering 101. Those of you who have been gardening for a while have probably learned this the hard way. Those of you just starting out may find it helpful. Soil lies. It looks wet, but it’s bone dry a fraction of an inch beneath. Or it looks dry on the surface, but it’s actually quite wet below. Or it’s wet, but only for one inch down. The only way to find out if you’ve watered your garden enou...

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Saturday Linkages: Sink Urinals!

Sink urinal from Latvian designer Kaspars Jursons. Gardening Toronto Gardens: Idea File: Matt Gil’s garden works with the constr… http://torontogardens.blogspot.com/2013/07/idea-file-matt-gils-garden-works-with.html?spref=tw … Brace yourself: remove staking from trees! https://sharepoint.cahnrs.wsu.edu/blogs/urbanhort/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=938 … Metro rips out Phantom Planter’s flowers at Dupont Circle stat...

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Getting Things Done

One of the side benefits of the Age of Limits conference, that we attended back in May, is that whenever we tired of what was going on in the main tent, we could always find Archdruid John Michael Greer holding court outside on everything from HAM radio to vegetable gardening to the history of obscure fraternal societies. He’s got another good blog post this week. My favorite quote from that post: . . . if the global e...

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Saturday Linkages: Let’s Make Chickens Legal in Pasadena!

...omatoes http://greenroofgrowers.blogspot.com/2013/01/uli-westphals-ripening-tomatoes.html#.UQxX3qqq5vY.twitter … The Wild, the Domesticated, and the Coyote-Tainted http://j.mp/14EAlz6  Design Tiny Apartment in Soho/Insanely Well Designed http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/2013/01/tiny-apartment-in-sohoinsanely-well.html#.UQxfUVfoVY0.twitter … Beyond Thunderdome Bug-Out Security with UV : http://dirttime.com/?p=2804 For 40 years, this Russi...

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Lady Urine, Water Conservation and Halfway Humanure

...ght now because, as regular readers know, 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...

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