Abundant Harvests - garden info, Climate solutions

garden by mconnors via MorguefileHere’s how our gardens can become part of solving some of the world’s greatest problems.

LIVING ECOSYSTEMS.  Humanity is part of  a vast network of life on this tiny planet. The planet’s ecosystems operate as intricate interconnected and interdependent systems, so vast that scientists are only beginning to glimpse their magnitude and complexity. “The environment” is a life-support system – for us as well as for all living beings. Without functional ecosystems, we have no life.

As we, humanity, become more conscious, it is becoming increasingly apprarent that all design must support ecosystems. From pollinator populations to soil organisms, Nature needs our help.   Continue Reading

Climate solutions

Living more sustainably doesn’t necessarily have to mean going meatless.

I just finished reading the beautifully written Gaining Ground by market farmer Forrest Pritchard.  It is a lovely story about rebuilding local foodsheds and knowing the people who produce your food.

Inspired by Joel Saletin, Pritchard’s focus is on rebuilding soil, reversing the effects of chem agriculture, and cleaning up waterways.

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My home garden

heirloom bean seedsA fascination with little tiny objects – that’s probably how it started.

I remember collecting seeds in my mother’s garden as a child. I’d gather minuscule flat honey-tan alyssum seeds. In my pocket linings I’d hoard round red-brown glossy seeds from a special heirloom flower.

Vegetables came from seeds in those days. If nursery 6-packs existed, I didn’t know about them. The next-door neighbor would gift an occasional veggie start, but for the most part we sprouted everything ourselves. Continue Reading

Climate solutions

“Buy Local.”  Why do we keep saying that? Why is it important? What does it accomplish?

How: Buy your food from the most local producers you can find.  For instance my farmers’ market often features vendors as close to L.A. as Moorpark, Lompoc, and Tehachapi.  Try to shop first at the most-local vendors.

Shift your consciousness to view chain stores as a “last resort,” where you fill in a few remaining ingredients that the local farmers might not have.

Environmental benefits: When you buy from local farmers you reduce your food miles -the transportation (and greenhouse gas emissions) of your food.

Your financial support helps assure that local farmers stay in business – close to the cities, where we need them as the Age of Fossil Fuels necessarily drifts into the sunset. Continue Reading

Community events in Westchester

plumsArborist Pieter Severynen has a wealth of wisdom to share.
In this 3-part workshop series you’ll learn how to make each pruning cut count – you’ll be able to tell the reason you made that particular cut!

You’ll learn how to adapt your pruning decisions or different types of trees. You’ll learn about good cuts and bad cuts, as well as how to select and maintain good tools. You’ll learn about planting trees, and how to have a lifetime relationship with them. Continue Reading

Community events in Westchester

The Westchester Community Oven, completed summer 2015
The Westchester Community Oven, completed summer 2015

Dana Morgan and Linda Preuss (of L.A. Bread Bakers) will be offering three sourdough bread baking classes this autumn for beginners and intermediate bakers.  Come join the fun!

These will be hands-on, get flour everywhere kind of workshops!

Oct 22: Tartine-Style Sourdough – 30% Whole Grain

Nov 12: 100% Whole Grain Breads – Blending Varietal Grains

Dec 10: Baking with Spelt – 100% Spelt Breads Continue Reading

Abundant Harvests - garden info

Many popular garden books promote methods such as the “Lasagna method”: You layer materials such as cardboard, black plastic, compost, mulch, etc., on top of grass and create a garden. In Southern California we must evaluate such recommendations carefully:

  • Does the person who is telling of great Lasagna success live in a year-round growing season, or do they have the benefit of a frost to help eradicate weeds and pests?

  • Does the storyteller have Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon)?

  • Are they speaking of long-term success: Have their observations endured beyond Bermuda’s regrowth timespan or were those Lasagna layers very recently applied?

Here in Southern California, without frost of any significance and with nearly every backyard being populated with Bermuda grass, in my experience there is only one long-term viable solution: Continue Reading

Cityscape Seeds

aldermanIf the only peas you’ve ever tasted are those chalky greyish marbles from the grocery store’s freezr section, you’re really missing out!

Alderman peas are sweet, tender, and delicious.  They’ve got a depth of flavor, a “greenness,” that gives them flavor dimension.  Your body aches for something that tastes this fresh and healthy and good. Continue Reading