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The Growing Trend in U.S. Food Forests

Upstart food forests — designed landscapes incorporating perennial and woody plants that produce food — are popping up around the US, inspired no doubt by Seattle’s new Beacon Hill Food Forest as well as successful older sites including Mercy Emily Edible Park on 18 vacant lots in Philadelphia and Dr. George Washington Carver Edible Park […]

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Read related articles in: Eat This, Green the Grounds, What's Happening
Posted by on July 16, 2014 at 2:01 am   This post has 11 responses.

Removing Sod, Saving Earthworms, and Obsessing over Make-Overs

With lawn reduction growing in popularity, email groups are lively with discussions of how to remove the stuff.  There are basically four choices – digging, using a sod-cutter, smothering and spraying with herbicide.  I’ve removed a far bit of sod over the years, always using that first one – great...

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Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Lawn Reform
Posted by on June 13, 2014 at 7:20 am   This post has 10 responses.

Saving Seedlings, Saving the World

Recently I went camping near my new home in Boise. I sat down with a cup of coffee and a notebook in my campsite one morning, enjoying the trilling of a meadowlark and a view of natural scrubland as I pondered (this is one of my favorite activities). As...

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Read related articles in: It's the Plants, Darling, Lawn Reform, What's Happening
Posted by on May 20, 2014 at 11:52 pm   This post has 21 responses.

The Joys of Curbside Gardening, and Groundcover Sedums

Hellstrip gardening is getting its due these days, thanks to Evelyn Hadden’s terrific new book on the subject, and Lauren Springer Ogden’s coining of the term in the first place.  And it starts a discussion about gardens that bring pleasure to not just the gardener, but the whole community. ...

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Read related articles in: It's the Plants, Darling, Lawn Reform
Posted by on May 16, 2014 at 7:56 am   This post has 7 responses.

Great Healthy Yard Project

That’s Diane Lewis, whose New York Times editorial “The Toxic Brew in our Yards” about pesticides stated the problem so convincingly and drew kudos from around the gardening world.   I found the video on the website of her Great Healthy Yard Project. I’ll be contacting Dr. Lewis to congratulate...

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Read related articles in: Lawn Reform
Posted by on May 13, 2014 at 7:12 am   This post has 10 responses.

The Smiling Faces of Spring

SPRING!!! I am traveling to Brooklyn to do some garden business, and to see what spring looks like after a long, long winter. I am amazed at the pep in everyone’s step! Living for so long in Southern California, one takes the endless summer/spring for granted – but NOBODY...

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Read related articles in: CRRRITIC, It's the Plants, Darling, Lawn Reform, Real Gardens
Posted by on May 1, 2014 at 4:55 pm   This post has one response.

Hellstrip Gardening Highlights and Give-away

How could I NOT love Hellstrip Gardening?  The subject is fun and inspiring, and I’m a long-time fan of the author, too – the Rant’s own Evelyn Hadden  (whose earlier book about Beautiful No-Mow Lawns I reviewed here.) But this isn’t a “review.”  (They’re usually so boring!)  Instead, I...

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Read related articles in: Everybody's a Critic, Lawn Reform, Uncategorized
Posted by on April 25, 2014 at 9:09 am   This post has 94 responses.

A Courtyard Garden Promotes Pondering

My understanding of a place dawns slowly. Occasionally I design a garden, and it is a ponderous and effortful activity because it doesn’t come easily to me. This has been brought home to me over and over as I struggle to set out the bones of my new garden....

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Read related articles in: Lawn Reform, Real Gardens
Posted by on March 5, 2014 at 3:45 am   This post has 27 responses.

The brand that dares not speak its name

Remember subliminal advertising? One of the books that exposed it is Subliminal Seduction, by Wilson Brian Key. The examples in the book use the eternal themes of sex and death to sell products. According to the book, imagery evoking these two themes appears in advertising (often deliberately inserted), thus...

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Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy, Taking Your Gardening Dollar
Posted by on March 3, 2014 at 8:00 am   This post has 15 responses.

Should Community Gardens be Organic-Only? What about Pesticide-Free?

As I recently mentioned here, the community gardeners in my town are fighting – with the treehuggers who don’t want the shade-producing trees nearby removed, and with each other over rules outlawing the use of synthetic gardening products.  And people wonder what’s there to rant about over gardening?  Ha!...

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Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on February 21, 2014 at 8:36 am   This post has 15 responses.

Do Trees Have Rights?

Let us consider the non-mobile, those who live at a slower speed than humans, those who conduct many “activities of daily living” underground. I’m talking about trees. Bound to its place place to a degree that most modern humans cannot comprehend, a tree must make do with only those...

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Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on February 19, 2014 at 3:40 am   This post has 29 responses.

My Favorite Turfgrass? Sheep Fescue!

Guest post by Thomas Christopher Enhancing biodiversity is fundamental to transforming lawns from the polluted green deserts that they now are into the sustainable, environmentally constructive landscape features we desire.  For that reason, in my plantings I’ve avoided becoming too reliant on any one grass.  Instead, I try to...

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Posted by Thomas Christopher on February 13, 2014 at 7:42 am   This post has 11 responses.

Coming soon – Roundup-Ready Turfgrass

Photo via Shutterstock News from the garden-product company we love to hate – Scotts-MiracleGro, of course.  As reported here (via a Rant tipster) CEO Jim Hagedorn announced at the company’s annual meeting that it’s testing genetically modified grass seed (Kentucky bluegrass) that will withstand the large-scale spraying of the...

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Read related articles in: Lawn Reform
Posted by on February 7, 2014 at 11:35 am   This post has 9 responses.

The Public Food Forest: Clever Solution or Future Flop?

Public food forests are a shiny new trend in the United States. Focused on perennial crops such as fruit- and nut-bearing trees and shrubs, they embody the values of permaculture (which I’ve touted elsewhere) : generosity, abundance, good health and nutrition, and food security. If they are developed and...

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Read related articles in: Feed Me, Lawn Reform, What's Happening
Posted by on February 5, 2014 at 3:49 am   This post has 26 responses.

The Trouble with the Word “Invasive”

This is a long-simmering rant about the many ways the term “invasive” causes confusion, and more.  DO weigh in with alternatives, pushback, and rants of your own. “Invasive” as synonym for “nonnative” Google “native versus invasive” and the 5.6 million hits confirms my observation that this is a common...

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Read related articles in: It's the Plants, Darling, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on January 24, 2014 at 9:12 am   This post has 104 responses.

We Only Bond with Complex Landscapes

Here’s one of my beefs with lawns: where is the mystery? We live within this awe-inspiring natural world, teeming with diverse creatures and plants. We have a built-in fascination for other living things (1). Why would we construct our daily environments in such a way that we avoid being...

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Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Lawn Reform
Posted by on December 4, 2013 at 2:04 am   This post has 40 responses.

More than just seed porn

It’s ironic that by far the largest and most beautiful garden catalogs I receive are for the smallest commodities. And some might find it sad that I never buy any of these small items. Seeds are really cheap for all they can deliver, and nobody celebrates the glory of...

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Read related articles in: Eat This, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on November 25, 2013 at 8:56 am   This post has 4 responses.

Help make the Arboretum Lawn Education Program a Good One!

Readers may remember this post announcing a forthcoming lawn education program at the National Arboretum financed entirely by the turf industry. (Scroll down here to see the funders).  Well, it’s now a reality, with the official ground-breaking event last week, and I’m more concerned than ever.  Though I’m a...

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Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Lawn Reform
Posted by on November 22, 2013 at 9:47 am   This post has 2 responses.

No poo for you, organic farmers!

If the FDA’s proposed food safety regulations go through, the use of animal manure on farms over a certain size, or which supply food to supermarkets, will be severely limited. According to this NPR story (and I am sure it has appeared in other news outlets), when farmers spread...

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Read related articles in: Eat This, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on November 21, 2013 at 9:38 am   This post has 25 responses.

Annoying step back or welcome relief?

Unlike scrapbooking, genealogy, homebrewing, model trains, or cosplay, gardening brings with it an inseparable relationship to time and season. During the late fall and early spring—whenever those may fall for you—we are most at the mercy of that relationship. And for some gardeners, the interventions of the twice-yearly time...

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Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy, Science Says
Posted by on November 4, 2013 at 8:02 am   This post has 17 responses.
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