Straw Bale Gardens

...a book and a downloadable pamphlet on straw bale gardening. Some tips from an experienced straw bale gardener at The Gardener’s Pantry We’re going to bioassay (that is, test ) the straw from our local feed store. The Compost Gardener has good instructions for this. In our case, we’re doing the method where you plant beans in soil, and water them with tea made from the straw. Washington State University–instructions for how...

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Straw Bale Garden Part III: Adding Fertilizer

...ertilizer. We’re following West Virginia University Extension Service’s Straw Bale Gardening advice. They suggest a 1/2 cup of urea per bale or “bone meal, fish meal, or compost for a more organic approach.” (I think they mean blood meal as bone meal does not have much nitrogen in it.) Choosing the organic approach, we’re watering in two cups of blood meal a day to each bale for days four to six. Days seven through n...

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What’s in Worm Leachate?

Garden Professor Jeff Gillman analyzed worm leachate (the liquids the flow our of your worm bin) from a home vemicompost setup. It’s pretty strong stuff! Gillman concludes, this could be a great liquid fertilizer if it were used properly.  I’d recommend diluting it somewhere between 1:1 and 1:5 worm juice : water before applying it, and I’d only apply it once every week or two.  If you want to use it, try it on somethin...

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Our New Straw Bale Garden–Part I

...attractive straw bale garden in Arizona. It will be a garden that changes over time. I like the idea of watching the bales turn into compost and their gradual replacement with more permanent structures. I’m hoping that the view from the two Adirondack chairs that face the bales will be like a botanical Robert Smithson piece–a front seat on nature’s balance of entropy and creation. The next step is to add fertilizer and water. We...

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New Phoebe Update/Question

...brightly lit, vet office with a barking Yorkie as a roommate. We’ve been keeping her in our room, so that the other two cats can’t harass her. I figure she feels threatened when her strength is down. I thought that maybe a long sleep would put her to rights, but she’s acting just the same this morning.   She’s moving slow, staring into space, doing odd things like hunkering down with her head over her water dish and just...

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Can Whole Wheat Solve the Wheat Allergy Problem?

...e kernel. Ponsford claims that many people who have wheat allergies have been able to eat his baked goods due to the use of whole wheat flours. Ponsford, through his bakery and his classes for amateur bakers, is showing how tasty baked goods can be that are made from real whole wheat flour. But it’s tricky. High extraction whole wheat flours are a lot less uniform than white flours. And they suck up a lot of water when you use them for maki...

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Worth Doing From Scratch: Corn Tortillas

...re at Root Simple Labs. Some things work out and others fail miserably. I thought I’d periodically look at the projects that have worked in the long term, specifically from scratch. Call this the first blog post in a sporadic series about stuff that’s easy and economical. Now you should be suspicious of any tortilla making advice dispensed by a gabacho. Let’s just say it’s easy and the results are way better than those dry...

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Adopt an Indigo Plant in Los Angeles

...ts in your hometowns. Here’s the 411 from his website, grahamkeegan.com: Indigo pigment grows naturally in the leaves of a large number of plant species from around the world. This plant, Persecaria 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...

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Josey Baker’s Awesome Adventure Bread (gluten free!)

...g gesture after Erik’s gluten post of last Friday. We love our gluten intolerant friends, and want to feed them well. We are also continuing our love affair with Josey Baker’s new book, Josey Baker Bread. While Erik is the Bread Master in our house, I step up to the oven sometimes, when I really want to try something. One thing I really wanted out of this book was a loaf of what Baker calls “Adventure Bread” which by the p...

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Making Tofu From Scratch at the Institute of Domestic Technology

...u from scratch. Nguyen is the author of a couple of cookbooks including Asian Tofu: Discover the Best, Make Your Own, and Cook It at Home and a new book, The Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches . She began the tofu class with with some soy beans that were soaked the night before. The pre-soaked  beans were ground up in a blender and the slurry was boiled in a pot with some water....

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