Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Backyard Garden and Rainwater is Path to Better Living

June 14, 2011 Comments off

My regular readers know I started a garden a few months ago. I planted carrots, strawberries, and blackberries. I put radishes in large planters and they are ready to be pulled and eaten. The carrots are almost there. The berries will come next month. They have been a disappointment, but they may bear fruit later than what I expected.

I also ripped out some bushes and made a place along the North side of my house for two, 60 gallon rainwater barrels.

I added a water filtration system a few years ago from Kinetico.

All these things add up over time. I have filtered water to water the plants. I will have backup rainwater for the drier months. And I will have my own veggies and berries. Years ago I planted rosemary and lavender bushes. The rosemary is a great herb for adding to sauces and to season meat. The lavender just smells wonderful. I know it can be used in soaps. Maybe I will give that a try.

Money not spent on veggies and berries is a good thing.

I bought the starter plants at Walter Andersons in San Diego of Pacific Coast Highway. I will provide the source info for the rainwater system once I get that project completed.

Please consider donating to PTWB! Thanks!


Books On Tap: Reimagining the California Lawn

March 27, 2011 Comments off

Reimagining the California Lawn:Water-conserving Plants, Practices, and Designs by Carol Bornstein, David Fross and Bart O’Brien, three of California’s star horticulturalists.

Buy it now, click here

Product Description
Reimagining the California Lawn features water-conserving plants from around the world and offers design ideas and practical solutions to help you create a vibrant garden that complements our mediterranean climate. From greenswards and meadows to succulent and kitchen gardens, this book presents alternatives to the traditional lawn that can reduce water use, beautify the landscape, and attract birds and butterflies. The authors of Reimagining the California Lawn, Carol Bornstein, David Fross, and Bart O Brien, are visionary horticulturists who wrote the award-winning book California Native Plants for the Garden. With this new publication, they share their passion for water-wise plants and landscapes to help Californians discover the many possibilities and pleasures that come with reimagining the lawn.

If you are thinking about removing or reducing your lawn, this inspiring book is the perfect companion to help you begin the process. Its detailed text provides information about how to plan, install, and maintain an attractive landscape that can replace your lawn and describes hundreds of water-thrifty plants from California and other mediterranean climates of the world. Reimagining the California Lawn is illustrated with more than 300 color photographs and offers a variety of plant palettes to choose from as you begin the process of creating a more sustainable landscape.

Helena Norberg-Hodge – Economics of Happiness

March 8, 2011 Comments off

I am choosing Helena Norberg-Hodge to honor as part of International Womens’s Day today. She is the founder of The International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC).

ISEC is a non-profit organization dedicated to the revitalization of cultural and biological diversity, and the strengthening of local communities and economies worldwide. Our emphasis is on education for action: moving beyond single issues to look at the more fundamental influences that shape our lives. You can visit her site by clicking here.

Helena believes that those running the global economy are imposing structural violence in our world. “The message of the Grandmothers, the message from indigenous cultures and peoples around the world has been managed, marginalized, brainwashed, and corporatized in a way that makes it very very difficult to get [the Grandmothers] message out,” she said.

Helena is fighting to rebuild the strength of Ladhka’s local culture and economy. She is also battling the effects of this worldwide global economy. For 25 years, she and John live 6 months out of the year in Ladakh. Helena’s book, Ancient Futures: Learning From Ladakh, has been translated into 42 languages and made into a film. Helena also founded the International Society for Ecology and Culture and is on the editorial board of ‘Ecologist” magazine. She also co-founded the International Forum on Globalization and the Global Eco-Village Network. For her efforts, Helena received an Alternate Nobel Prize.

Economics of Happiness
ISEC’s new documentary has been featured here and we have seen great interest in this film. Here is the link to their site to purchase the film.

Read Helena’s biography, click here

Why Buy Produce Locally?

March 1, 2011 Comments off

Most produce in the US is picked 4 to 7 days before being placed on supermarket shelves, and is shipped for an average of 1500 miles before being sold. And this is when taking into account only US grown products!

Go to, Local Harvest to read more on, Why Buy Local

Claiming Our Independence with Liberty Gardens

February 22, 2011 Comments off states:

During World War I, patriots grew “liberty gardens.” In World War II, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Claude R. Wickard encouraged householders to plant vegetable gardens wherever they could find space. By 1945 there were said to be 20 million victory gardens producing about 40 percent of all American vegetables in many unused scraps of land. Such sites as the strip between a sidewalk and the street, town squares, and the land around Chicago’s Cook County jail were used. The term “victory garden” derives from an English book by that title written by Richard Gardner in 1603.

I have planted a strawberry patch and when the rains stop next week, will be adding cucumbers, green beans and carrots. No pesticides. Good soil. And the satisfaction of doing it myself. I am also tearing out two shrubs and making room for two rainwater barrels. That will help to water my gardens.

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Books on Tap: World on the Edge

February 9, 2011 Comments off

Lester R. Brown was special guest today on Bloomberg Street Smart today. Host Carol Massar discussed the issues of rising food prices, food yields, population growth, water scarcity, and ethanol subsidies impacting corn with the author and founder of Earth Policy Institute. This is one book I will be reading soon.

World on the Edge, How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse by Lester R. Brown

Product Description
In this urgent time, World on the Edge calls out the pivotal environmental issues and how to solve them now. We are in a race between political and natural tipping points. Can we close coal-fired power plants fast enough to save the Greenland ice sheet and avoid catastrophic sea level rise? Can we raise water productivity fast enough to halt the depletion of aquifers and avoid water-driven food shortages? Can we cope with peak water and peak oil at the same time? These are some of the issues Lester R. Brown skillfully distills in World on the Edge. Bringing decades of research and analysis into play, he provides the responses needed to reclaim our future.

Frost Kills 70-100% of Northern Mexico’s Produce

February 9, 2011 Comments off

WSJ REPORTS Suppliers are scrambling to find other sources for cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, squash, and eggplant. Florida is reporting a 25lb case of tomatoes at $30 per. Here in San Diego some remain as high as $50 per. Restaurants like the Souplantation are substituting edamame, tofu, feta cheese, and other items to offset the shortage. The shortage is expected last through April when new crops will be harvested.

On our local Channel Ten News last night I heard this: severe frost has killed 70-100% of northern Mexico’s produce. We are already feeling the affects here as tomatoes are going for $50.00 a case! One more reason to GROW YOUR OWN.

This is part of Plan ‘B’ to be self-sufficient as much as possible. Do not rely on distribution systems, BIG Agra farming, and imported food, to support your lifestyle. Why? Because things are changing and it is risky to do so.

I will be reporting on a special food price report after watching Bloomberg special this morning. Stay tuned.

see also Reuters report, click here

The Tucson Citizen reported February 4, 2011:

Tucson suffered some record cold temperatures the past two nights, and even if you covered your tender plants, chances are they froze anyway. Frost damage extent depends on how long it stayed below freezing. Covers will work if the freeze is only for a few hours. When you are looking at temperatures below freezing for 8 hours or more, damage is likely.

The important thing to remember is to not rush out right away and prune off dead branches. Wait until spring to see what is really dead. If you have citrus trees that suffered frost damage; wait until summer when you can see if new growth is appearing on what looked to be dead branches. Prune back to the nearest live branch. .Unlike many other fruit or ornamental trees, if frost damage is severe enough, citrus trees will not survive and will need to be replaced.

Plants like lantana, which almost always get nipped in the winter, can be pruned back to a few inches above ground, but don’t remove the bed of leaves around the roots until late spring. This layer will protect the plant from further frost damage.

Frost sensitive cacti, especially columnar varieties, that froze on top will not survive. It may take a while for the damage to show, but they will rot from the top down. Remove and replace with hardier species in May.

BTW: you can construct a small greenhouse or buy one to protect your plants.

“Corporate farming” is a fairly broad term that deals with the general practices and effects of a small number of large, global corporations that dominate the food industry. It does not refer simply to any incorporated agribusiness enterprise, although most agricultural businesses today are in some way economically connected to the dominant food industry players. As such, it may be thought of as a movement, which is at times also referred to as “anti-corporate farming”

Critics argue that the ultimate goal of corporate farming is to vertically integrate the entire process of food production, up to the point of the distribution and sale of food to consumers. Some corporations are considered to be well on the way to achieving this objective, and have become very large in the process, such as Archer Daniels Midland, Monsanto Company, and the privately held Cargill, with 2004 revenues of $62.9 billion

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