DIY Solar Space Heating

Photo: Build It Solar. Mrs. Homegrown, who spent her formative years in the mountains of Colorado, made fun of me this morning as I noted the “cold” temperature . . . 60°F. It was the first ironic “brrrrrr” out of her mouth, letting me know that we’ve transitioned from the hot smoggy season to the the less hot smoggy season here in Los Angeles. In the northern hemisphere it’s time to conside...

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Pakistan Mulberry Fever

...Now I need a regular Pakistani mulberry fix. If I wanted to plant one Bay Laurel Nursery has several varieties. It’s mostly a warm climate plant but some varieties do better in lower temperatures. Here’s what Steve had to say about his six year old tree which he thinks is the “Cooke” variety: It has totally thrived and become huge.  I have to top back huge vertical branches every year after harvest season and tie limbs d...

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Gardening Mistakes: Six Ways We’ve Killed Plants

...ll with compacted soil, including natives. The best way to break up compacted soil is with a broadfork, a spendy item. We use a garden fork instead. 3. Soil fertility When it comes to growing vegetables, in particular, you need rich soil. Get a soil test first. But soil fertility is a lot more than chemistry–it’s about life. Healthy soils have a rich and diverse microbial and fungal ecosystem. You can jump start that fertility with co...

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Easter Lessons

...as white eggs, but the post promised good results with brown eggs, and the dyes were deep and earthy enough that it seemed it would not matter. The technique was simple–a one to one ratio of organic matter to water, boiled 15 minutes or more, cooled, and then spiked with vinegar. The eggs soak in this mix for as long as you like, perhaps overnight, refrigerated. I tried out onion skin (russet dye), red cabbage (bluish dye) and hibiscus flow...

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Adopt an Indigo Plant in Los Angeles

...ecaria Tinctoria, also know as Polygonum Tinctorum, has been a staple source of blue in East Asia for millennia. It is known for being relatively easy to grow. All it needs is lots of sunshine, plenty of water, and some food. As an experiment, I’ve germinated a bunch of indigo seeds and want to get the seedlings into as many people’s hands as possible! I hope to spread the wonder about the fact that color can be gr...

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Is Purslane the New Kale?

...fifteen minutes of vegetable fame. We planted some this year in our summer vegetable garden and I’ve used it in a lot of salads this week. Purslane is a common weed in North America. We’d love to be able to forage it in the neighborhood but, for some reason, it only tends to appear in unappetizing locations: usually the gutter (I think it needs a bit more water than what falls naturally from the sky here). You can eat the whole plant...

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Saturday Linkages: Invaders, Sick Chickens and Adaptive Reuse

...he Half Shell | Garden Rant http://gardenrant.com/2014/07/more-foreign-invaders-possums-on-the-half-shell.html … Water rationing for farmers? It’s on the horizon http://garynabhan.com/i/archives/2494  When To Isolate A Sick Chicken | HenCam http://hencam.com/henblog/2014/08/when-to-isolate-a-sick-chicken/ … via @terrygolson Can Edible Gardening Reduce Deforestation? – http://go.shr.lc/1lkI1wO  via @TenthAcreFarm How to Kill Poison Ivy ̵...

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Apartment Parking Lot Gardening in East Hollywood

...x 8 x 6 ft. fence boards instead of the 1 x 6, though, and fill the soil about an inch below the boards so when watering the water doesn’t spill over the sides as is the case with my 1 x 6 boards. One of the advantages of having my garden space in the parking lot is that when I leave in the morning I can spend a few moments watering and pruning and picking some delicious tomatoes for lunch and when I come home at night I can repeat the sam...

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Dudley brittonii “Giant Chalk Dudleya”

...ur Arrakis like conditions here in California, an excellent bonus is that this plant does well with only monthly water. It also thrives in a pot. Mature, it’s around 18 inches across. Annie’s does mail order and we’ve had a lot of luck with their plants. I visited the nursery on a blogger junket last year and was very impressed with the variety and quality of the seedlings–no root bound plants! Now I’ve got to remind...

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening

...ged products. Unable to truly embrace the “no dig” philosophy: despite best efforts to the contrary, it seems the soil needs to be swapped out every few years. It’s container gardening, really. Going through that list of pros and cons, if it weren’t for our contaminated soil it would be better for us to grow in the ground. From a water use perspective, in Mediterranean climates such as ours, it’s better to garden at...

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