Comrades

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Bulk Bin Microgreens

...ni-mall where the isles are redolent with that unmistakable and unidentifiable 1970s health 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...

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Least Favorite Plant: Ficus benjamina

...what could be termed “outsider topiary.” To be fair, Ficus benjamina is not without some benefits. It’s one of the plants NASA studied for its use in improving indoor air quality. But as the horticultural equivalent of the Nagel print, perhaps it’s time to replace a few of them with its edible cousin Ficus carica. Ficus fans and foes alike should visit Schoenholz’s Etsy store for some handsome photos of what city...

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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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Seeding Change

...t North Hollywood High. Let’s get that chicken coop paid for! Fellow Angelino Caitlin Flanagan be damned! It’s also a good moment to point out the reasons it’s best to grow from seed rather than buying seedlings at your local nursery. You get many orders of magnitude more selection, it’s much cheaper and you prevent the spread of soil diseases. Last year a fungal disease, late blight, infected gardens due to seedlings gro...

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Coffee Chaff Chickens

...sthetics and good neighbor relations. Chickens need to scratch, so giving them lots of stuff to scratch is kind. It also absorbs odor and protects stray eggs from breakage. Even better, their constant scratching combines their waste with the bedding material, creating useful compost over time. We use straw in our coop and run (the outside parts) and wood shavings (animal bedding) inside the hen house. We use horse bedding inside the house instea...

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Humanure Happens

...“Four loads of earth mixed with one load of privy soil, will be equal to five loads of barnyard dung. Let it lie for several months and occasionally turn it over with a shovel, and it will be of use as manure.” The editors of the Old Farmer’s Almanac 2010, where I found that quote, deemed it necessary to tack on a disclaimer, “Human waste, as well as that of dogs and cats, is not recommended as manure for fertilizer today...

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Compost Field Trip

...er, yard trimmings and anything else they can find a market for or a way to keep out of the landfill. I must say it was pretty impressive. But the most exciting part of course was the compost. There were literally mountains of compost called windrows in rows perhaps twenty feet high by several hundred feet long. It’s a large scale operation with not just one windrow but dozens of them. And this is all stuff that otherwise would end up in...

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Raccoon Proof Chicken Coop

...feathers flying everywhere. I opened the coop and shouted at the raccoon to get out. Somehow, we got up there in time, because there was no visible carnage. One chicken lost a lot of feathers trying to escape, so it did look like quite a horrific mess. While my housemate held a flashlight, I picked up the frightened hens two by two and put them inside the house in my bathroom. But I couldn’t find Joan, one of my silkie bantams. It was dark...

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The Boy Scouts Suck

...Abbey: One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am-a reluctant enthusiast… a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encount...

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