Shibori Challenge Proves Challenging

...ht, deep yellow with no fuss. And I just happened to have a big container of stale turmeric just wasting away on the shelf. I tried some shibori techniques with that, with some okay first time results — though also with plenty of beginner mistakes. In the pic above, the white cloth with the yellow lines on it was done by folding the cloth into accordion folds, like a paper fan, then folding that shape into a stack of triangles, then clampin...

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How to Prep Fabric for Dyeing: Scouring

...ave that, I’d have turned to Bronner’s Sal Suds or dish soap. How to: How much water should you use? The fabric has to have lots of room. If you pack it into the pot it won’t clean properly.  Liles recommends 1 quart of water per ounce of cotton yarn and 2 quarts per ounce of cotton fabric.  This may mean you’ll have to scour in batches to do it properly. Allow time for this. Recommended quantities of soap and soda vary so...

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How to Prevent Bees From Living in Your Walls . . . or Welcome Them In

...;s an example of a hive box built into a stone wall in India: Photo from http://ranichari.blogspot.com/ There’s a tradition of keeping hives in wall or niches in Europe and many other parts of the world. No need for spray foam or exterminators–just lots of free honey from your wall. Bee skep in a wall in Kent, England. Time to bring back this practice! Note from Kelly: This might seem obvious, but you would be surpri...

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Avoiding Hyperthermia

When spending a day baking pizzas at a public event in front of a 1000º F oven in the full Southern California sun remember to drink water and take breaks. Otherwise you will spend the next day in bed with a splitting headache, unable to eat, barely able to drink anything and at the mercy of two young cats. The first time I pulled off a case of hyperthermia was after a long bike ride. I would not call it fun, nor would I like this to happen whe...

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Hippie Heart Horizontal

  Mrs. Homegrown here: So I was wrong about the rains in that self-pitying post I wrote a week or two ago. They came again. (But this time, I really do think this is our last spate of rain.) It was a strong, blustery storm and it laid our flax flat. The poor hippie heart. It had just started to bloom. Those little blue flowers turn to pods. Each pod holds a few seeds. That’s where flax seeds come from. As a city girl, I find t...

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Avocados

...What few pests avocados have can be sprayed off with a hose.  Occasional deep waterings flush out chlorides in the soil that can cause leaves to turn brown at the tips and poor fruit production. In fact if the first rain of the season is less than 3 inches, you should irrigate to flush out salts that build up during the dry season. Avocados take a long time to ripen on the tree–12 months or more depending on variety. For additional rea...

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Seeding Change

Lora “Homegrown Neighbor” Hall is in the New York Times this week in an article by Michael Tortorello, “Packets Full of Miracles.” Tortorello asks six gardeners to pick out their favorite seed varieties. Homegrown Neighbor chose New Zealand spinach, Nero de Toscana kale, Red orach, Sugar Ann snap pea, Crimson California poppy and Verbena bonariensis. I’m sure Homegrown Neighbor would appreciate a reminder that if y...

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Bulk Bin Microgreens

...alth food store scent. Is it some chemical reaction between soy, wheat grass and carob fumes? But I digress. For the sake of science I chose this forlorn store, which will remain nameless, since I assumed the stuff in their bulk bins has been sitting around a long time and I wanted to test seed of questionable viability. This store sells seeds for sprouting and microgreens, such as radish at around $9 a pound. The much cheaper bulk bin items, how...

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Gideon Lincecum Virtual Herbarium

–click to biggify– (If you still can’t read it, it says “Erigeron canadensis, the common hogsweed, bruise and press out the juice from the green plant and take it in tablespoonful dose as often as the stomach will bear, for bleeding lungs, bleeding from the stomach, bowels or womb. It is a powerful agent in stopping hemorrhage from any organ.”) Mrs. Homegrown here: Our friend Nancy gave us some salve made up o...

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Compost Field Trip

...ended with wood chips or wood ‘fines’ as needed. Huge 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, t...

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