On the Many Frustrations of Gardening: Pierce’s Disease

...s vineyards have experienced what Turney described as an “edge effect”, with Pierce’s claiming the vines on the outside of vineyards. The only way to prevent the spread of the sharpshooter is frequent application of pesticides (on both grapes and citrus), not practical for the home gardener and we’re organic around the Homegrown compound anyways. In fact, one of the pesticides used to control shapshooters is Imidacloprid,...

Continue reading…

The End of California Citrus?

...ithout copious pesticide application. Both diseases are bacterial and both are spread by phloem sucking insects. The pesticides used to control the Asian Citrus Psyllid and the Glassy Winged Sharpshooter (the insect that spreads Pierce’s disease) are also the same, and include a ground application of imidacloprid, marketed under the brand name Merit and manufactured by Bayer Environmental Science. State agricultural officials that I spoke w...

Continue reading…

How To Make a Sourdough Starter

Here’s the first in a series of Root Simple how-to videos. Look for them on the blog and, soon, on your mobile thingies. I started with a little edit on how to make a sourdough starter. And I take requests–if there’s a topic for a video you’d like to see just leave a comment.  Making a sourdough starter is as simple as mixing flour and water. There’s no need for all the crazy things I’ve heard suggested: a...

Continue reading…

Hoshigaki Success!

...s been a big success. The white powder that looks like mold is sugar in the fruit that has risen to the surface. The result is, incidentally, very different from drying persimmons in a dehydrator (which also tastes good but has a much firmer texture–hoshigaki has the texture of a gummy bear). It took about a month. One observation is that the persimmons that got the most sun also developed the most “frosting”. Hoshigaki sells fo...

Continue reading…

How to Bake a Traditional German Rye Bread

...0 grams sea salt 1 teaspoon caraway seeds 250 grams rye sourdough starter (see step one) 400 grams warm water 1. The night before I want to bake I take a tablespoon of rye starter (see our video on how to make a starter) and mix it in with 125 grams of dark rye flour and 125 grams of bottled water. 2. In the morning I mix all the ingredients together. Ideally, let the mixture rest for a half hour to an hour before shaping it, but I’ve skipp...

Continue reading…

What To Do With Old Vegetable Seeds

...e to distribute those old seeds around our micro-orchard to see what comes up. Fukuoka has some tips in his book The Natural Way of Farming for creating a semi-wild vegetable garden: Include nitrogen fixers (in my case some clover seeds) Use daikon and other radishes to break up hard soil Sow before weeds emerge Scott Kleinrock has used the same strategy at the Huntington Gardens. Here’s what his semi-wild vegetable garden, growing in the...

Continue reading…

Garden Design: Quantity vs. Quality

...t pot. The students who were graded by quantity rather than quality made the best pots. I’ve noticed, from the years I used to be in the art world, that he most talented creative folks I’ve met crank out lots of material. So how do we apply the quantity over quality principle to laying out a garden–especially since you often get only one chance a year to get it right? Above you see some of Kelly’s ideas for the parkway gar...

Continue reading…

More on our gardening disasters

We need to put the heart back into our garden. (Our Heart of Flax from way back in 2011) I thought I’d chime in on the subject of this year’s garden failures. Before I do, I’d like to thank you all for your kind advice and commiseration that you left on Erik’s post. First, I will agree that it really, truly has been a terrible year in the garden. Sometimes Erik gets a little melodramatic when it comes t...

Continue reading…

The Sundiner–A Groovy 1960s Era Solar Cooker

...ed rays of the sun. Here is a sample of how long various meats take to cook: Hamburgers, franks, and fish, 15 to 20 minutes. Steaks and fillets, 20 to 25 minutes. Quartered chicken, 25 to 30 minutes. Temperature variations are possible by turning the Sundiner toward or away from the sun. The advantage of the Sundiner is that it can be used as a safe substitute for a fuel-fired stove on beaches, parks, decks of boats, and other restricted areas. C...

Continue reading…

Nasturtium Leaf Pesto

...source at your own home–right now our yard is choked with nasturtium and I’ve never made good use of the leaves. I have used the flowers for a pesto, but it’s kinda labor intensive. Nancy made a pesto with the leaves and I had to try my own version: Nasturtium leaf pesto 2 fistfuls of nasturtium leaves 1 fistful of nuts–pistachios preferred but any will do a half fistful of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano olive oil salt pepper...

Continue reading…