A Common Sense View of Invasive Plants

Via the Garden Professors blog a sensible letter in Nature from Mark Davis and 18 other ecologists on the tired, in my opinion, native vs. invasive species debate: It is time for scientists, land managers and policy-makers to ditch this preoccupation with the native–alien dichotomy and embrace more dynamic and pragmatic approaches to the conservation and management of species — approaches better suited to our fast-changing planet. Clearly, natu...

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Our favorite way to cook zucchini

It’s that time of year again. Put aside those zucchini bread recipes and try this instead. This recipe–or technique, rather– sounds too simple to be good, but it really works. As one friend said of the dish, “It tastes like there’s a lot going on, but there’s not.” All you’ve got to do is shred your zucchini up on the large holes of your kitchen grater. Saute the shreds in an uncovered s...

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Spigarello: Nature’s way of saying that broccoli is so over

Spiga-what-the-who-now? The wavy leaved stuff is the spigarello. The flowers are arugula. Mrs. Homegrown here: Spigarello, more properly called Cavolo Broccolo a Getti di Napoli, is a leafy green that tastes a lot like broccoli. But unlike broccoli, you eat the leaves instead of the flowers. Unlike many of the “exotic” Italian greens we grow, this one is not bitter, and probably will pass muster with those who are fussy abou...

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Obligatory Cute Chick Post

Look, it’s just that time of year. We have to live with it. We have no chicks this year. Our ladies are not maternal, they have no male companionship, and we’ve made no chick missions to the feedstore. These pics are from our neighbors’ house. Anne and Bill have a menagerie of ridiculously cute small animals. You recall the pea eating Chihuahua? Among their collection are a pair broody little Silkies, who are old-timers on the...

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My Sooper Seekrit Compost Pile

Welcome to the Lucy and Ricky show! As some of you know, Erik is a complete and utter compost wonk. A heavy book about the science of decomposition is pleasure reading for him. He has a really, really big thermometer and knows how to use it. We’ve kept a compost pile for years and years, but only in the last two years has it become an obsession for him. One of his more recent projects has been to make an gigantic bin in our back yard. Thi...

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Dumpster Herb Score

Mrs. Homegrown here: Scored big at Trader Joes yesterday. Love a good dumpster find, almost as much as finding good feral fruit.  It looks like they were clearing out their plants and flowers for Valentines Day, because out by the cardboard piles we found a grocery cart heaped full of wilted flowers and random potted mums. (Joes really needs to start a composting program, don’t you think?) We sorted through the cart and found fou...

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Sun Bleaching Really, Really Works

Line drying in the sun is a time honored means of brightening whites. But I had never guessed how effective it can be. I have a pair of white bath towels which developed mysterious, spreading yellow stains all over them, stains which I could not remove no matter what I tried (Borax, oxygen bleaches, stain removers), and which I may have actually worsened by a final, desperate flirtation with chlorine bleach a few years ago. The towels were in...

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Strange brew: herbal steam for a chest cold and sinus pain

Mrs. Homegrown here: I’ve had a bad cold for almost a week now. It’s gone through all the classic steps: the sore throat, then the snot factory, then the ghastly “productive cough” that keeps you awake at night, and on top of it all, the lost voice. Oh, the fun! I thought I was almost out of the woods, but then I seem to have hit a cul-de-sac involving the sinuses. Sinus trouble is a new malady for me–I’m jus...

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Hugo, humanure and nettles

One of the original illustrations to Les Misérables (1862) Mrs. Homegrown here: Anne, our neighbor with the pea-ravaging Chihuahua, brings to our attention the fact that Victor Hugo was a humanure enthusiast, and in fact dedicates long passages of Les Misérables to it. This is taken from Volume V, Book 2 (The Intestine of the Leviathan), Chapter One, provided by Project Gutenberg: Paris casts twenty-five millions yearly into the wate...

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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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