Native Plant Workshop

Vitus californica covering our ugly chain link fence There’s a couple of common misconceptions amongst novice gardeners about native plants: 1. If you use native plants the whole garden has to be natives. In fact, it’s great to mix natives with non-native plants. The natives bring in beneficial wildlife, are hardy and are efficient in terms of water use. Flexibility is key here–go ahead and mix natives with vegetables, fruit...

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Spreadin’ Seed

Savers Exchange is a non-profit member supported organization that maintains a seed bank of over 25,000 varieties of vegetables. You can order seeds from them at www.seedsavers.org. Catalogs We’ve been obsessed with the Italian seed company Franchi for almost ten years now. Meeting the west coast distributor Craig Ruggless at the seed swap and seeing his display racks of seeds was the horticultural geek equivalent of bumping into a rock sta...

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Shiitake Happens

Well, actually, shiitake doesn’t happen. It’s back to the drawing board for our first experiment in mushroom growing. We ordered a kit and dutifully followed the directions, but a combination of high temperatures and too much or too little water resulted in the result you see above, what looks like a cake with a skin disease. And even if we got a crop the cost of the kit was too high to make the process economical. The kit came pre-...

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Steve Solomon’s Soil and Health e-Library

I’m really enjoying the incredible variety of obscure old books being scanned and put up on the interwebs. Of interest to readers of this blog will be the archive of free e-books maintained by gardening author Steve Solomon. His Soil and Health e-library contains books on “holistic agriculture, holistic health and self-sufficient homestead living” You can download the books for free, but Solomon requests a modest $13 donation....

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Let’s Democratize Permaculture

When I heard that Miley Cyrus (aka Hannah Montana) has the number one country album, I fell into a dark spiral of despair. Isn’t this a clear sign of the end of the American empire? But wait, won’t permaculture save us from this petrochemical fueled Miley Cyrus soundtracked nightmare? Don’t hold your breath. It might be awhile before everyone’s front yard is full of perennial vegetables and Merle Haggard is back on FM rad...

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Erik’s 2012 New Year’s Resolutions in Review

...plan out the garden but nature had her own plans including a destructive series of skunk attacks. I’ve switched to a hands-off approach to veggie gardening inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka. Start a podcast (decided to make it a video podcast). You can subscribe in the iTunes store here (it’s freeeeee!). Clean up the graphic design on the blog and organize information better: Thank you to our book designer Roman Jaster for doing this for...

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Saturday Linkages: A Boat Couch and Chickens in the News

‏ Design Couch made out of old rowboat: http://www.dudecraft.com/2012/12/all-at-sea.html … Chickens in the News Pet chicken alerts family about house fire http://www.weau.com/home/headlines VW Chicken Coop Scale Model http://www.dudecraft.com/2012/12/vw-chicken-coop-scale-model.html … Gardening What a Little Paint Can Do In Your Garden | Garden Rant http://gardenrant.com/2012/12/what-a-little-paint-can-do.html … For these links and more, fo...

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Picture Sunday: A Winter Harvest in Florida

Grapefruit, Carambola, pineapple, sapodilla, sugar apple, dwarf Cavendish bananas, ambarella, jaboticaba, jackfruit flowers, papaya, lemon and red palm fruits (inedible). Amazing. If you’ve got a picture to share, send it along to us at [email protected]...

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Saturday Linkages: Let’s Make Chickens Legal in Pasadena!

Let’s really make backyard hens legal in Pasadena CA!  Gardening Preventing the heartbreak of splayage: http://ow.ly/1RN6pB Uli Westphal’s Ripening Tomatoes http://greenroofgrowers.blogspot.com/2013/01/uli-westphals-ripening-tomatoes.html#.UQxX3qqq5vY.twitter … The Wild, the Domesticated, and the Coyote-Tainted http://j.mp/14EAlz6  Design Tiny Apartment in Soho/Insanely Well Designed http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/2013/01/t...

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Saturday Linkages: Chicken Hot Dogs and Toilet Museums

DIY Printing press made from IKEA drawers: http://boingboing.net/2012/12/05/printing-press-made-from-ikea.html … How to Build a Gypsy Caravan from Recycled Materials… http://bit.ly/S8pABN Gardening Home Depot’s Leaf Bags and their Eco-Terrible “Tips” | Garden Rant http://gardenrant.com/2012/12/home-depots-leaf-bags-and-their-eco-terrible-tips.html … Design High-Hanging Tea House Offers Suspended Getaway | Designs & Ideas on Dornob htt...

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