Straw Bale Garden: What I Learned

...will fall over eventually. I knew this but was too lazy to actually do it. Straw bale gardens are a great option for those cursed by poor or contaminated soil. I’ve got lot of bales to compost! My future in straw bale gardening I’ve decided to continue straw bale gardening on a smaller scale. I’m going to build some raised beds and fill them with soil, but I’m leaving room for two bales to grow nitrogen hungry crops, pr...

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Tracking the Mood of the Gardener

...noticed that we have a new feature on the blog–if you click on an individual blog post you’ll see a list of related posts at the bottom. Looking at some of those older posts showed that I have an annual vegetable gardening freakout around November. Why? Two factors: freak heatwaves (that are common here in the fall) as well as skunk activity which is related to applying compost (they are digging for grubs). So it may be, in fact, bet...

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How to Plan a Vegetable Garden

...ike to eat. A planning form from Ecology Action Deciding How Much to Plant To decide how much to plant I rely on the charts in John Jeavons’ book  How to Grow More Vegetables . I took his three day Biointensive gardening class early last year and recommend it highly, especially for learning how to use the, at first, intimidating charts in the book. Jeavons handed out a handy planning form during the class that works with the tables...

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Till vs. No-Till

A 3-D view of tilling in Russia c1915 My post on lasagna gardening, which linked to a brief article by horticulture professor Linda Chalker-Scott seems to have opened a can of worms, so to speak.  Two issues came up in the comments on my post: the wisdom of using cardboard in a lasagna mulch and the pros and cons of double digging/tilling. Let’s address them in separate blog posts, beginning here with double digging/tilling. Ther...

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Gathering of Community Gardeners

This weekend is the third annual Gathering of the Gardens in Los Angeles. While the event is put together by the non-profit L.A. Community Garden Council, it is open to all interested parties. You don’t have to be a member of a community garden to attend, just interested in community building and gardening. There will be workshops and discussions on topics such as vegetable gardening, composting, native plants, beekeeping and even a worksh...

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Arduino Homesteading Projects

...’d compile a list of Arduino based project related to the “low-tech, home-tech” subjects covered on this blog. I’ll keep updating this list as I hear of more projects. Chickens Chicken coop controller Gardening Garden Bot (information about “an open source garden monitoring system). Includes links to other Arduino based gardening projects. Gardening moisture sensor/watering controllers An Arduino waterer that twee...

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Permaculturalist Paul Wheaton in Los Angeles

...ly to life in the concrete jungle?  Hear this Permaculture designer and entrepreneur speak about healing our cities, creating jobs, and transforming LA’s food culture. Darren Butler of EcoWorkshops.com 3:30pm to 5pm Systems Gardening Does gardening have to be such hard work? Learn how to work with Nature’s systems to make your garden easier to manage and more productive than ever before. Paul Wheaton on Irrigation Free Gardening at Armory Cent...

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Straw Bale Garden Update: Success!

Ladies and gentleman, straw bale gardening works. I left town for a week earlier this month and, during my absence, the vegetables in the straw bale garden exploded in size. The Tromboncino squash on the left, is threatening to envelop the entire yard.  The tomatoes are equally vigorous and covered in ripening fruit. Zucchini is on the menu. While it takes an input of outside resources in the form of straw and fertilizer, straw bale gardening i...

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Bar Codes on Veggies

...y of vegetables grown in that prefecture. Ibaraki Prefectural authorities and the JA Ibaraki Prefecture Central Union of Agricultural Cooperative cooperating with other farming and agricultural associations are adding QR code labels right at the point of origin. In the supermarket, consumers use camera equipped cell phones to scan the QR code on the label. The code links to a mobile website detailing origin, soil composition, organic fertilizer c...

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Back on the Yogurt Train: How to Make Yogurt

...me in a little six pack cooler. Very clean canning-type jars Hot water bottle (optional) Towel(s) for insulation Your last store bought container of yogurt. You need live yogurt to start the culture, only a few spoonfuls. The label should say something about containing live, active cultures. You’ll need 1 Tablespoon of live yogurt for every quart of milk you’re transforming. Milk, of course. Make sure your milk doesn’t say ̶...

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