The Homegrown Mailbox: How and Where Do I Get My Soil Tested?

...yin’ and make no claims to accuracy. But, we’re happy to take the letters from Kevin, the horse poop for compost and try our best. Here’s one question we get a lot: Q: Y’all know where I can get my soil tested? I’ve started HUGE garden in my side yard and it just occurred to me that it is where people used to park their cars. I’m concerned about Oil or other pollutants from the cars that might still be in the...

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Defining a Garden’s Purpose

...rdeners (a small minority even in rural areas) there was little evidence that people ever went into their yards. It confirms what a UCLA anthropology team discovered when they placed cameras in 32 Los Angeles homes to see how people used their houses and back yards, “More than half of the families in the Los Angeles Study spent zero leisure time (none for kids, none for parents) in their back yards during our filming. In quite a few of these case...

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What To Do With Old Vegetable Seeds

...eeds 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 understory of some small f...

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Why You Should Avoid Staking Trees

...ice or to the nearly 2000 year old words of Seneca: No tree becomes rooted and sturdy unless many a wind assails it. For by its very tossing it tightens its grip and plants its roots more securely; the fragile trees are those that have grown in a sunny valley. It is, therefore, to the advantage even if good men, to the end that they may be unafraid, to live constantly amidst alarms and to bear with patience the happenings which are ills to him on...

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Butterfly Barrier Failure

...#8211;a butterfly caught within the netting. So two alternatives: Floating row cover (inconvenient and too warm for our climate) More biodiversity in the garden I’m liking the biodiversity option the best. Planting a bunch of brassicas is like opening an all you can eat buffet for cabbage leaf worms. Our backyard has more biodiversity and fewer problems with pests. I used better (homemade) compost  in the raised beds in the backyard, thus...

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What’s Your Personal Food Policy?

...policy, started to sound a bit holier than thou. As Rumi says, Spiritual arrogance is the ugliest of all things. It’s like a day that’s cold and snowy, and your clothes are wet too! One issue, however, that over the years I’ve come to feel strongly about is factory raised meat. I just can’t eat it anymore. It used to be that, out of courtesy, I’d eat anything served to me when I’m a guest at another person̵...

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The Perfect Chicken Coop?

...un gives chickens some space to scratch around in while keeping them safe from predators if you can’t make it home by dark. You can hang a feeder in the space under the hen house to keep their feed dry. The run is tall enough to stand in. You can put an access door to the nesting box from the outside so you don’t have to go in the coop to collect eggs. It has a roof over the run to keep your chickens dry. It’s the basic form I...

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Sunday Spam: Automatic Chicken Cage

...or Madam, Liaocheng Dongying Hengtong Metal Manufacturing Co.,Ltd here. Glad to hear that you are on the market for Automatic chicken cage. We are a professional producer of the complete sets of equipment for raising birds. At present, it is an enterprise which has the import-export license and exports a batch of complete sets of automatic equipment for raising chickens. These products gained good prestige among customers and they are not only u...

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Building a Makeshift Treadmill Desk

...k twice a day — that was probably as much a precipitating event as anything — I’d been walking 3-5 miles a day with them, but it was no fun walking around town or out in the mountains without them. So, the treadmill desk solved a couple of problems — I could fit exercise in around my day job and during the winters, which typically blow 30-50 mph. I’d gotten lazy about going out for a walk. I hate gyms, walking has al...

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