043 Growing Vegetables with Yvonne Savio

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Yvonne Savio is the Master Gardener Coordinator for UC Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles County. In this episode of the podcast we pick her brain about:

  • Why you should grow your own food.
  • Favorite vegetables.
  • How to harvest vegetables.
  • How to prepare a vegetable garden.
  • Making compost.
  • The problems with municipal compost.
  • Raised beds vs. growing in the ground.
  • Where to buy soil.
  • Testing soil.
  • How to irrigate vegetables in a drought.
  • Buried buckets for watering vegetables.
  • Seeds vs. seedlings.
  • Succession planting.
  • How to plant seedlings.
  • The website and calendar that Yvonne is putting together.
  • Grow LA Victory Garden Program

You can reach Yvonne at [email protected]

If you want to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected]. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. The theme music is by Dr. Frankenstein. Additional music by Rho. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.

Are Rubber Mulches or Tires in the Garden a Good Idea?

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Rubber mulches are used both as a soil cover and underneath artificial turf. Is this a good idea? According to “Garden Professor” Linda Chalker-Scott, the answer is no. She has a new fact sheet on the subject which concludes,

Rubber mulches can be attractive, easy to find and apply, and may not need frequent re-application. However, there are significant problems associated with using these mulches. In the short term, rubber mulch is not as effective as other organic mulch choices in controlling weeds. Furthermore, rubber mulches can attract insects (e.g., cockroaches), and they are highly flammable. In the long term, decomposing rubber mulch releases heavy metals and organic chemicals with unknown effects on human and environmental health. Other organic mulch choices, especially wood chips, are better performers and pose none of the environmental risks attributed to rubber mulch.

One of the principle plant toxins leached by rubber mulch is zinc. We have personal experience with zinc phytotoxicity in our own yard due to air pollution in Los Angeles (many years worth of brake linings blowing around and settling on the soil). I suspect that many of our gardening frustrations are related to our zinc problem.

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What about the use of whole tires in the garden, such as for planters or compost bins? According to a report by an environmental consultant sent to me by Mark, a Root Simple reader, whole tires do not seem to be a problem (at least in aquatic contexts). So it seems that we should keep those tires whole rather than shred them.

Picture Sundays: Agave Roast

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We had the great pleasure of attending a feast at the Malki Museum on the Morongo Reservation to sample a large assortment of Native American foods as well as celebrate the end of a agave harvest and roast. I’ll nudge Mrs. Homegrown to blog about it, but let’s just go over a few of the delicious items on this plate: agave, yucca, beavertail cactus, chola buds, two forms of acorn mush, venison, rabbit stew, fry bread and a salad with a white sage dressing. I didn’t get to the fried crickets in time!

Saturday Tweets: Trade Your House For an Entire Medieval Italian Village

042 The Tailpipe of Consumption

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Our guest this week is Kreigh Hampel, recycling coordinator for the city of Burbank, a city of over 104,000 people within Los Angeles County. The title of this podcast, “The Tailpipe of Consumption” is from Kreigh’s own words. I think, after listening to the show, you’ll appreciate why Kreigh, who has to deal with the damaging waste of our consumer lifestyle, is so concerned about our consumption and about the changes we all need to make to our lifestyles.

During the show we discuss:

  • The dangerous stuff people put in the recycling
  • Producer responsibility
  • How recycling enables waste
  • Master Recycler Program
  • Reduce, reuse, repair
  • How plastics are recycled
  • What the plastic number codes mean
  • The problem with #7 plastics
  • What happens to recycled plastics
  • What happens to paper
  • Styrofoam

Links:

Burbank Recycle Center website

Burbank Recycle Center on Facebook

If you want to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected]. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. The theme music is by Dr. Frankenstein. Additional music by Rho. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.