106 Opposable Thumbs

cover_medium

This week on the Root Simple Podcast we’re featuring the first half hour of another podcast we think you should subscribe to: Opposable Thumbs. Hosts Taylor Hokanson and Rob Ray interview a guest each week who issues a creative challenge to the next guest on the podcast. Think of it as kind of a maker game show. We’re simulcasting the first half hour of episode #10 on which Kelly and I tackle the challenge, “creating problems.” To find out what we did you’ll; have to listen to the podcast.

ballsandrocket

Hint: it involves seed balls, payloads and explosives. To listen to the rest of the show head over to Opposable Thumbs #10 or subscribe to the show in iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher. The show is also the first time we’ve ever been involved in a conversation about alien autopsies and the Cisco hold music.  We also discuss:

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.

Save

Save

Save

Save

105 GardenNerd’s Tips for Organic Gardening Success

christy_052 copy

Our guest on this episode is “GardenNerd” Christy Wilhelmi, previously heard on episode 19 of the podcast, who returns this week to discuss her new ebook 400 Plus Tips for Organic Gardening Success. As you might guess we touch on a lot of topics and tips including:

Christy’s website is GardenNerd. You can also connect with Christy on Facebook and Twitter.

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.

Putting Your Civic House in Order: How the Young Members of the Family Help

Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 9.51.39 AMToday, in its entirety, Root Simple brings you an article on a school garden program in Los Angeles by writer and German literature translator Mary Richards Gray from the June 1916 issue of The Craftsman. Some context: Los Angeles has always been a little ‘rough around the edges.’ LA was also, in the early 20th century, the wealthiest agricultural county in the US, producing high-value crops such as citrus and walnuts. This particular attempt to get LA’s “civic house in order” recalls the strategy of 4-H clubs: Adults are set in their ways so you’ve got to get to the kids to make change happen. Work your way through the rambling early 20th century prose and you’ll find some solid advice we could really use to get our present day civic house in order. You can read all of the 1916 Craftsman issues for free in Google Books.

by Mary Richards Gray
The desire for beauty, health, order is inherent in mankind, is among the deepest and most powerful forces in life. Man’s first consciousness of these desires is operative only within the narrow confines of his own personality. Then, as he grows wiser, he wishes beauty, health and happiness for his family, then for his neighbor, his city, country, until finally he is eager for the joy and the advancement of the whole world. He no longer thinks that his interests are confined only within himself, he knows that the boundary of his life extends until it touches the uttermost ends of the world. He feels that his home is the world, not just merely the corner lot in a small town upon which he has built a house. He understands that as he makes his own lot more beautiful he has increased the beauty of the world, that every improvement he makes in his own house is made for his community as well, that it is virtually impossible for him to work for himself alone, that he rises or falls with his neighbors, with his countrymen.

This larger, pleasanter, truer outlook on life has recently been reached in most interesting manner by the citizens, old and young, of Los Angeles through a widespread civic housekeeping siege. Even the children now understand that as they clean up their small corner of their yard and make flowers to blossom where weeds once bristled, they help clean up the city and become true gardeners. If every child in a town and every town in the country followed the Los Angeles plan of campaign for a more beautiful and healthful city would be the beauty spot of the world.

Continue reading…

The Mulch Robs Nitrogen Myth

2008-08-12_Mulch

I was surprised to hear a landscape professional, at a convention I attended last weekend, repeat a common myth about wood mulch, namely that “mulch robs soil of nitrogen.” In the interest of promoting the soil boosting and water saving benefits of mulch we need to send this common misconception into the bad idea chipper/shredder.

It’s true that if you mix a lot of carbon, such as wood chips, into soil the amount of nitrogen available to plants will decrease. This is because soil organisms use nitrogen to process carbon. But this happens only if you incorporate mulch into rather than on top of soil. When you top dress your soil with mulch some nitrogen at the surface will be locked up, but this actually works to your benefit by inhibiting weed seed germination. Far from reducing nitrogen, as mulch decomposes it will actually increase the nitrogen content of your soil. This is one of the many benefits of using wood chips over inorganic mulches such as gravel.

I sometimes get asked what kind of mulch to use in a vegetable garden. I use straw since it’s inexpensive and easy to clean up at the end of the summer growing season. I wouldn’t use wood chips on vegetable or other annuals since they might get churned into the soil even though I don’t ever till or double dig. Wood chips are for perennials.

Now, my Root Simple friends, go forth and tell people that mulch does not rob the soil of nitrogen!

For more information about mulch which includes a discussion of other mulch misconceptions such as allelopathy and termites, see Washington State University Extension’s publication “Using Arborist Wood Chips as Landscape Mulch.”

Save

104 Erin Schanen the Impatient Gardener

Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 10.11.02 AM
Listen to “104 Erin Schanen the Impatient Gardener” on Spreaker.
On the podcast this week we talk to garden blogger Erin Schanen, the Impatient Gardener. Erin lives in a small cottage in Southeastern Wisconsin. During the show we discuss some of Erin’s recent blog posts and other subjects including:

Websites: The Impatient Gardener, Impatient Gardener on Facebook and Instagram, @impatientgarden on Twitter. Special thanks to Eric of Garden Fork for introducing me to Erin!

If you’d like 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. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.

Save

Save

Save