Eight Things to Consider When Saving Vegetable Seeds

...l need to make sure they have space and won’t shade out other plants. 6. When to harvest Fruits harvested for seed may need to stay on the plant for a long time. For example, eggplants that you want to save seed from need to be harvested well past when they’re still edible. 7. Prepping seeds In general, seeds harvested when dry, such as lettuce need to be air dried before storing. Seeds harvested wet, such as watermelons, need to be...

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Defining a Garden’s Purpose

...irms 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 cases, no family member so much as stepped into the back yard for any purpose. For another 25 percent of the families, the p...

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My New Drug Dealer Phone

...omewhat of a necessity in modern life. A few years ago a reader suggested picking up a prepaid phone. We had one for a long time and it worked great, as long as you don’t use it that much. We lost it and I  had to replace it recently. For $20 I picked up the Tracfone 440. It bears a striking resemblance to: Pay as you go flip phones are used only by old dudes, drug dealers, terrorists and old dude sustainability bloggers...

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How Much Can You Carry on a Bicycle?

How I transported the 8-foot poles for our new trellis. We’re overdue for an update on our car-free Los Angeles lifestyle experiment, but one thing that has made it possible is the cargo bike I’ve had since 2006, the Xtracycle. Xtracycle pioneered the “longtail” bike, essentially a bike stretched out in order to accommodate large panier bags. My Xtracycle was an add-on to an existing mountain bike. Xtra...

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Last of the Saddle Tramps

Mesannie Wilkins riding Rex,  Depeche Toi on Tarzan A wise man once told me it’s good practice to read books published before you were born. Last of the Saddle Tramps just makes the cut. Published in 1966, it is a memoir, Mesannie Wilkin’s accounting of her great journey from Minot, Maine to Los Angeles. On horseback. In 1954, Mesannie was 63 and she didn’t think she’d survive another winter in Maine. S...

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Closed vs. Open Floor Plans

..., of course, had completely separate servant/kitchen quarters with their own entrances. One even had a room just for preparing flowers and a kitchen devoted entirely to cleaning game shot from a balcony off the second story (the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills!). The “out of sight, out of mind” servant is one of the chief arguments used for the open floor plan: that is, that an open floor plan liberates the cook (often the woman of...

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How To Stop Powdery Mildew

...able garden back off on nitrogen Non-chemical approaches sprinkle plants with water mid morning–add soap for more effectiveness remove infected leaves promptly and dispose of them Fungicides: apply horticultural oil, neem oil or jojoba oil if the temperature is under 90° F. Do not apply any of these oils if you have used sulfur. DIY Options For home remedies I turned to advice from Washington State University horticulturalist Linda Ch...

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Garden Design: Quantity vs. Quality

...tudents 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 garden we plant...

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Of Man Caves and Woman Caves

...s Magazine got me pondering gender equality issues. Why no Woman Caves Magazine? A haphazard Google image search for “woman cave” turned up things like this: Looks like a room that’s never used. I’m curious if Root Simple readers have man or woman caves. What activities take place in the woman cave? What room of the house does it occupy? Does your woman cave take up less square footage than the man cave? And gentlemen, if...

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Cat Update

...e will no longer be using the services of the vet who somehow overlooked her loud heart murmur when prepping her for anesthesia. There is little we can do for her. There is medication which will ease her heart action some. Dr. Zimmerman would not give us a prognosis because, as she says, “kitties always surprise us.” So Phoebe might have weeks, she might last years. She’s not in pain–she is just not as active as she used t...

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