The grape that ate the world

...ing. Oh, and do we at least get fruit from this beast? No, we do not. It has never fruited. Not a single grape. californica does make fruit, supposedly, but we’ve never tasted it. Our vine is too busy putting all of its energy into swamping the world. You may be asking why we don’t plant a Vitis californica on our arbor. The answer is we probably will next year. Erik had his heart set on a tastier grape, so resisted that option, but...

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Sourdough Bread Class at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano

...s and easy Chad Robertson Tartine recipe. By baking bread at home, you’re in charge of what goes into every loaf and can choose to incorporate local and organic ingredients. Other benefits of baking at home include using less energy (used in harvesting, processing, and shipping store-bought bread), using less plastic packaging, and spending less money. Become a baker and join us for a weekend of heart-healthy, bread baking workshops: Saturday, Ju...

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Sourdough Rye Bread Class at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano

...you better learn how to bake it yourself! By baking bread at home, you’re in charge of what goes into every loaf and can choose to incorporate local and organic ingredients. Other benefits of baking at home include using less energy (used in harvesting, processing, and shipping store-bought bread), using less plastic packaging, and spending less money. Become a baker and join us for the rye class on Sunday, June 22, 1-3p. We’ll provide ing...

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Why Your Garden Should Be Dark at Night

...e travel, and gave up fantasizing about space colonies, we’d take better care of our home. Highline Park at night. Photo: highline.org. Keeping Gardens Dark Thankfully light pollution is an easy fix and saves money and energy too. We can keep our outdoor spaces dark at night to benefit our well being and as well as the survival of nocturnal creatures. Night Sky concluded with a brief interview with Hervé Descottes, one of the lighting desi...

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How to Deal with Extremely Root Bound Plants

...r loss. Baby them as much as you can. [ETA: One of our readers reminds me that another way to up your chances of success is to trim back the foliage of the plant. Fewer leaves means it will need less water, and can spend more energy growing new roots.] No plant wants to be handled this way but with luck and care, the plant might do well afterward. The only alternative is planting it root bound, and no root bound plant can thrive. As in its pot, i...

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Piet Oudolf’s Enhanced Nature

...lants, sometimes by literally scattering seeds that will pop up seasonally and introduce spontaneity and wildness. Oudolf and Kingsbury favor perennials both for environmental reasons (popping in annuals every year supports a energy intensive nursery industry) and for aesthetics (perennials are more prevalent in the natural landscapes Oudolf is mimicking). Winter on the High Line. The tyranny of the rose Oudolf and Kingsbury stress the importanc...

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Supper for a buck?

...more pennies  the salt costs, and yeast or, alternatively, the small amount of extra flour needed for the sourdough starter. But how do you calculate starter costs, since it involves constant feeding over time? And what about energy costs to run the oven? Or the investment in the Dutch oven we use to bake the bread, amortized over time?  This way lies madness. [Note: I have gone a little mad so I just figured out that there are 636 1/4 teaspoon m...

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Maggots!

Like a lot of the agricultural duties around our urban homestead, composting requires time and initiative. Unfortunately both our garden and our energy level are at a low point, both sapped by the record breaking heat – anyone see Al Gore’s movie? The result of this lack of effort has been the maggot party currently going on in our compost pile. The best compostin’ revolutionary I ever met, photographer Becky Cohen maintained a...

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Essential System #8 – Nutrition (Extra Food)

...the hot trunk of his car. Scared by the main entrée he just ate the cracker and chocolate. Here is what he had to say, “The cracker was what you’d expect – a cross between balsa wood and salt. The chocolate energy bar was much more substantial with a thick, waxy chocolate-like-ness, almost completely masking a surprisingly malty undertone. I’d use the word cloying, but I hate that word.” Should you require another o...

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Vote Yes on 37!

rved up by mainstream media. That being said, I’m going to break my own rules.  I want to urge all California residents to vote yes on proposition 37. Proposition 37 will require genetically modified food products to be labelled. And that’s all–it’s not a ban on GMOs. If you like GMOs in your food you’ll still be able to get them in your hot Cheetos. All I’m asking is to be given a choice, through labeling, as...

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