Failed Experiment: Bermuda Buttercup or Sour Grass (Oxalis pes-caprae) as Dye

...o use equal measurements of each (e.g. 6 oz of t-shirt/6 oz. plants).  The second step is to steep the plants in water. This is where I made my first half-assed mistake. I threw the plants into the pot whole, instead of chopping them up, as I was supposed to. Then, I covered the greens with water. The instructions didn’t give exact water quantities to match the fabric weight–it only said “cover”–which seems a bit pro...

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More Washing Machine Greywater Fun

One of the problems with the washing machine surge tank greywater strategy is that what you are watering has to be downhill of the machine. This is a common problem with greywater systems, and trying to use pumps to get the water uphill is simply not economical, nor is it environmentally hip since those pumps have a lot of plastic and other icky industrial materials in them. Fortunately washing machines have a pump built-in and it’s possib...

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Build a Washing Machine Greywater Surge Tank

...is called a surge tank with a fifty gallon plastic drum is the simplest way to reuse your washing machine waste water. Perfectly good water that would ordinarily just go down the sewer will instead water your plants after first spending a short time in the fifty gallon drum. Temporarily draining your washing machine into a fifty gallon drum has two advantages. First, it allows hot water to cool and secondly it prevents siphoning mishaps and wash...

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How to Make Stock

...d be better off using a bouillon cube than that stuff. It’s easy. How do you use it? Think of it as super water. Substitute stock for water whenever you can. Use it: As the basis of any soup or stew To make sauces and gravy To cook beans To cook rice To cook any whole grain To cook pasta and couscous To make risotto To make polenta For braising vegetables or meat For sauteing vegetables Straight, as a broth Preparing for stock: Stock is...

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Self Watering Containers

...is the way to go. But container gardening has several drawbacks. Containers dry out quickly and if you forget to water, especially with vegetables, you can easily kill your plants. In fact inconsistent watering is probably the number one cause of container plant failure. Container gardening also uses a lot of water and can be messy, as the excess water flows out of the bottom of your pots leaving muddy stains on decks and balconies. Thankfully, t...

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How to make a Calendula oil infusion

...crumble between your fingers. If there’s any flexibility to leaf or flower, that means there’s still water in there.  The reason you don’t want water in there is that spoilage in oil infusions usually comes about because of the presence of water in the plant material. Spoilage can result in anything from off smells to mold to–worst case scenario–botulinum toxin in the oil.  Now, to be sure, I know folks who infuse f...

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Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS)

Via Afrigadget, a visual explanation of how to disinfect water with just a PET plastic bottle. The diagram, developed by Unicef, pretty much speaks for itself. Too much gunk in the water? Let it settle and filter through some cloth. At least six hours of sunlight will be enough UV to kill bad buggies. Using solar water disinfection, or “SODIS”, replaces the need to boil water, thus reducing deforestation to supply fire wood. Obviousl...

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Watering 101

This is watering 101. Those of you who have been gardening for a while have probably learned this the hard way. Those of you just starting out may find it helpful. Soil lies. It looks wet, but it’s bone dry a fraction of an inch beneath. Or it looks dry on the surface, but it’s actually quite wet below. Or it’s wet, but only for one inch down. The only way to find out if you’ve watered your garden enou...

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Dry Farming

...to a 2010 report by Ceres “Water Risk in the Municipal Bond Market,” Los Angeles ranks number one in water supply risk. But we’re not alone. Many other US cities including Atlanta, Phoenix and Dallas also face a future of water insecurity. Due to these water risks we’d all do well to consider ways to grow edibles without supplemental irrigation. This may sound absurd at first, but I’ll note that in our garden we̵...

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How to Prep Fabric for Dyeing: Scouring

...c. If I didn’t have that, I’d have turned to Bronner’s Sal Suds or dish soap. How to: How much water should you use? The fabric has to have lots of room. If you pack it into the pot it won’t clean properly.  Liles recommends 1 quart of water per ounce of cotton yarn and 2 quarts per ounce of cotton fabric.  This may mean you’ll have to scour in batches to do it properly. Allow time for this. Recommended quantities of...

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