Pee on your Compost

...ine is a fantastic source of nitrogen and it’s estimated that we all produce enough urine to fertilize all the wheat and corn that we as individuals consume. And urine is sterile and safe unless you’ve got a bladder infection. Urine should be diluted before applying directly to plants since salts in your pee can build up in the soil. Dilution should be at least 10 parts water to one part urine. Peeing directly on plants can burn them...

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Save the World–Poop in a Bucket

...going on in the magazine/internet world. As we wrote our meditation on human waste, a number of other stories on the subject came out at the same time: Wasteland: A Journey through the American cloaca in Harper’s Magazine. Journalist Frederick Kaufman traces sewage from New York’s North River Solid Waste Treatment Plant to . . . [spoiler here!] bags of soil at Home Depot. A Mother Earth News reader submitted a photo and description...

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Events in Los Angeles This Weekend: SIP Workshop and Maria’s Garden

...helped save another neighbor’s garden from a management company that wanted to remove it. Tomorrow, Sunday the 15th, Anne has organized a work party to tidy up the garden and she’s looking for volunteers and a few donations of pots, mulch and soil. The fun begins at 9 am at 421 North Coronado Street. “This is a great opportunity to help a Senior Citizen in need and spend the day puttering around in the garden! We need people o...

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Laundry to Landscape 2.0

I just installed a “laundry to landscape” greywater system at the house of Lora “Homegrown Neighbor” Hall using greywater guru Art Ludwig’s free open-source plans. It was a cinch. And, thanks to a revision in the California plumbing code last year, it’s legal with no permit required. I started in the laundry room by rigging up a three way diverter valve so that Lora can route the greywater back to the sew...

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Let’s Get Biointensive

...the triangular spacing of the French biointensive method. You can view a nice diagram of biointensive spacing on the LandShare Colorado website. And see some images of the way Jeavons’ spaces his garden on This Girl’s Gone Green. Triangular plantings squeeze more veggies into small spaces. The tight spacing, with leaves allowed to just touch each other when the plant is mature, also creates a living mulch which shades the soil and sav...

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Grub

...agic” on raising black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) grubs as poultry and fish feed. “If we offer the grubs 100 pounds of food wastes, for example, they will reduce it to 5 pounds of residue usable as a superior soil amendment, in the process generating 10 and possibly up to 20 pounds of live grubs that can be fed to livestock; in addition to liquid effluent (how much depends on the moisture content of the feeding materials) which...

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Straw Bale Garden Update: Success!

...etables 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 is a great solution for beginning gardeners or for those cursed with bad soil. And the skunks that have dec...

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DIY Project: Reconnect with Nature

...mong your potted plants, but it is easier to do in a natural place. A quiet beach. In a meadow. By a lake. Up in the mountains. Go alone, or have your companion(s) leave you alone for a while. 2) Walk to a place that feels inviting. You’ll know it when you see it. 3) Sit. It’s best to sit on the ground if your body allows it, to be in direct bodily contact with the soil, leaves, sand, rock.  Actually, it’s even better sometimes...

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Compost Field Trip

...e windrow machines straddle and churn the piles. They look like something out of Star Wars. Several months later the finished compost is sold to farmers. Community Recycling is a totally vertically integrated operation so of course they farm a little too–organic almonds, some row crops and some forage crops. That way, if they have too much compost on their hands at one time, they can always put it on their own land. The soil looked pretty...

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Ordo Ab Chao

There’s a lot of conflicting advice in the vegetable gardening world. You’ve got your square footers, biointensivists, permaculturalists and survival gardeners, just to name a few. The truth is these often conflicting techniques probably all work for someone. I’ve been thinking lately that the next book we write should be a version of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Dis...

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