Vegetable Garden: One Potato, Two Potato

Why Grow Potatoes?

Ahh, the beloved potato.  This starchy little turd-shaped tuber we all know and love is responsible for so much prosperity and sometimes misery.  Beginning in the ancient Andes region of South America and spreading to every corner of the modern world, the human-potato partnership has grown to blockbuster proportions over thousands of years.  And with good reason.  The potato is nutritious, is delicious, can be stored, and is easy to propagate.  Although it won’t be winning any beauty pageants (except for the purple and blue ones – they are AWESOME), just like so many things, its what’s on the inside that counts. Continue reading “Vegetable Garden: One Potato, Two Potato” »

Lamb’s Ear: Putting a Useful Plant To The Test

Lamb’s Ear Overview

Lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantina) is one of my new favorite plants.  Known for its light gray-green color and ultra fuzzy leaves, this low growing border plant is much more than just a pretty face.  It is useful, edible, kid friendly, hardy, drought tolerant, and attracts bees like nobody’s business.

Intrigued?  So was I.  I tried it out for myself,  here are my findings.

Putting It To The Test

Examine the fuzzy leaves and flower stalks of lamb’s ear and , and you’ll start to get to ideas about  how this plant might be useful in many ways.  I spent some time testing its various traditional uses for myself, and this is what I found: Continue reading “Lamb’s Ear: Putting a Useful Plant To The Test” »

Edible Landscaping: From Lawn to Garden

Why Edible Landscaping?

Edible landscaping is the practice of removing ornamentals and replacing them with edible plants.  In our water district, it is estimated that over 50% of all household water is used to water landscaping.  With sustainability in mind, it stands to reason that if you are going to spend money and resources to water a landscape, shouldn’t it at least give something back?  The use of edible landscaping presents an opportunity to exchange something that mostly consumes resources, such as a lawn, with other plants that produce food, save money, conserve resources, and are attractive as well.  In this article, I’ll show you how to plan and implement an edible landscaping project.

Edible Landscaping Before After Suburban Stone Age

Continue reading “Edible Landscaping: From Lawn to Garden” »

Southern California Springs Fire Looms Near Suburban Stone Age

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It has been a hectic few days around here.  The Spring Fire began as a 10 acre brush fire and has grown to consume over 10,000 acres of tinder dry Southern California brush.  Although we are nestled in the center of our community and not adjacent to the brushy hills, the fire could be readily seen from Suburban Stone Age.

We are all safe from harm, but the fire is still raging.  It has presently moved to the Santa Monica Mountains, where it is still a danger to homes.  We’ll be keeping an eye on the situation.

This is a view of the fires yesterday, as seen from SSA and the neighborhood.

 

Updates on the fires can be found here:

http://www.vcstar.com/news/2013/may/03/day-2-spring-fire-grows-10000-acres-will-continue/

Straw Bale Garden: Your Own Personal Bale Out

You can Garden in a Straw Bale?

I wish this was my original idea, but it is not.  I am always looking for an inexpensive, labor-and-back-friendly way to expand my raised garden beds.  When I was introduced to this technique at the local community garden, it seemed too good to be true.  So I tried it.  And its true.  You can, in fact, grow food in a straw bale.  Think of it like container gardening, where the bale becomes the raised garden bed, container, soil, compost, and plants, all in one. Continue reading “Straw Bale Garden: Your Own Personal Bale Out” »

Biodiversity Roundup: The Birds and the Bees, and More!

Why is Biodiversity important?

According to Wikipedia, biodiverstiy is simply “a measure of the health of ecosystems“.  I can’t control a lot of things out there, but I can control a thing or two on my postage stamp on Earth.  And hopefully leave it better than I found it.  With that in mind, every insect, mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, fungi, bacteria, and plant that comes to live with me in my yard is a vote that things are heading in the right direction, that the health of the ecosystem is improving. I take it as personal encouragement that I am being a good steward, and that there is hope for the future. Continue reading “Biodiversity Roundup: The Birds and the Bees, and More!” »