California Dreaming

ek of gloomy news both personal and national. My 83 year old mom broke her sternum in an automobile accident, making her yet another victim of a city designed for cars that forces everyone to drive, even for distances of less than a mile. After the accident, many hours were spent dealing with doctors, auto body shops, insurance companies and the vile Automobile Club whose lobbyists, by the way, are busy in the state capital pushing for the auto-c...

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Initial Thoughts on the Age of Limits 2013 Conference

...it of full disclosure we should state where we stand on these ideas, and the truth is we disagree to some extent. Kelly’s statement: I believe oil is a finite resource and that it will eventually cost more to extract it than it’s worth, that the record high CO2 levels in our atmosphere are changing climate and acidifying the oceans right this moment, and that our national and global financial systems are in a bad way. Erik’s sta...

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Compost and Pharmaceuticals

We get this question a lot–will pharmaceuticals end up in my compost if I use human urine or animal manure? This is really three questions: Does composting break down pharmaceuticals? Are some pharmaceuticals worse than others in terms of their ability to survive the composting process? If pharmaceuticals persist after composting do edible plants uptake them in sufficient quantities to effect humans? A look at what science has to say W...

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Our Keyhole Vegetable Bed: What Worked and What Didn’t Work

may have helped prevent skunk incursions. The compost bin in the center of the bed should have been sturdier. Skunks got into it eventually. The cheap bagged soil I bought had a lot of wood chips in it. Brassicas did fine but other veggies did not appreciate the high carbon content of the bagged soil. It would have been better to make my own soil with high quality compost, but I was in a hurry. Clover in the keyhole bed did well and produced som...

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Root Simple and Edendale Farm on ABC-7

A local ABC affiliate did a nice, short piece on growing food in the city featuring us and our friend David Kahn of Edendale Farm. I’ll note that David runs a real city farm (he sells eggs) while I call what we do simply gardening, as we don’t grow/raise enough to sell. It’s good to see vegetable gardening and keeping chickens going mainstream–it’s the bright side of the “great recession”....

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Free Postmortem Exams for Backyard Flocks in California

ary Medicine. A Root Simple reader who is a veterinarian tipped us off to this service. You don’t need a veterinarian (though you might need one to help interpret the results) and the service is free to those with less than 1,000 birds. All you need to do is get the body, as soon as possible, to one of four labs in either Davis, Turlock, Tulare or San Bernardino. The backyard flock submission form is available at: http://www.cahfs.ucdavis...

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4 Vermicomposting Tips

...hotosensitivity of worms–but instead of making pyramids he lays out softball sized mounds of castings. The worms will cluster at the bottom of the balls, allowing you to harvest off the tops and sides. This works faster than our pyramid method because the worms don’t have as far to move. You can harvest faster, and get it done all at once instead of forming and reforming the pyramid. Of course when you’re doing either method you...

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Thoughts on Samhain

...e Celts believed places and times of transition–dawn, dusk, midnight, crossroads, lakes and streams, caves, etc.–held supernatural energy. These were places and times where the boundaries between our world and the other world was very thin. Samhain was one of those transition periods, and coming as it did at the last harvest, at the beginning of winter, it was associated with the dead. And of course, within the Catholic Church Novembe...

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