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    Rediscovering Production

    To consume means to destroy. That’s why “consumption” was the name given to tuberculosis. – Vandana Shiva[i] Producing food. For the most part, people alive today have lost touch with this most basic of human activities. Instead, we have become…

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    The Evolving Question

    My personal garden has been a grand experiment. For the first 15 or so years I dabbled at growing vegetables. At first it was about novelty: How could I stretch the tomato season? Tangy mesclun, nutty Christmas limas, and smoky…

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    High-yield vegetable gardens

    How to obtain incredible yields from a small urban square footage, and make it all look beautiful, too! 1. Plant edibles. It sounds really obvious, but Americans tend to plant way too many flowers. Fill your space with food plants…

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    Nourishing with Compost

    When we broke ground at the Community Garden at Holy Nativity, the site was old grass and junipers. Not the nice kind of grass, but the scratchy stuff that kids won’t even romp on. Photographic records showed that the space…

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    How Much Mulch

    Emilia Hazelip, gardening near the fields of France, used straw — about 10 inches of it! A local homestead project once stated on their blog that they use 4 to 6 inches of mulch. Lowenfels and Lewis are far more…

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    A Thick Quilt of Mulch

    “Nature abhors bare soil,” said French Permaculturist Emilia Hazelip. When you take a hike in the mountains, have you ever noticed how the shrubs drop a thick layer of leaves? In their natural state, shrubs make their own mulch. Peel…

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    Smooth or Chunky

    In the gardens of my youth, the soil texture was definitely chunky. Chunky then meant sandstone and shale rock pieces – chunks so hard you could not break them with a pick, let alone with the tender root of a…

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    Drop Yer Bloomers

    Lately I’ve been growing impatient with impatiens. Petunias, snapdragons, bouganvilla, ficus, bird-of-paradise: our Southern California cities luxuriate in year-round ornamental gardens. Pretty bloomers, yes. But truly, a mix of non-functional tropical plants slurping water in what is really a desert…

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    Going Organic

    Going organic is much more than just switching from Monsanto-manufactured chemical warfare, to herbal sprays and less-toxic powders. Going organic is an opportunity to rethink. It is a journey of rebuilding with different, yet similar, basic components. When we build…

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    The Lost Art

    “Can she bake a cherry pie?” chants the American folk song. That didn’t mean opening a can of goo from the supermarket and dumping it into a frozen pie shell. It mean knowing when the cherries were sweet and ripe,…