What I’m Reading…Fermentation is your friend

Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods by  Sandor Ellix Katz

Description from Amazon.com…

“Bread. Cheese. Wine. Beer. Coffee. Chocolate. Most people consume fermented foods and drinks every day. For thousands of years, humans have enjoyed the distinctive flavors and nutrition resulting from the transformative power of microscopic bacteria and fungi. Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods is the first cookbook to widely explore the culinary magic of fermentation.”Fermentation has been an important journey of discovery for me,” writes author Sandor Ellix Katz. “I invite you to join me along this effervescent path, well trodden for thousands of years yet largely forgotten in our time and place, bypassed by the superhighway of industrial food production.” The flavours of fermentation are compelling and complex, quite literally alive. This book takes readers on a whirlwind trip through the wide world of fermentation, providing readers with basic and delicious recipes-some familiar, others exotic-that are easy to make at home.”

Photo: Snowbells

Following close after the paperwhites each year are the snowbells. These grow in small clumps all over the garden and were planted by the previous owners. I am thinking that I might augment these bulbs with some new ones for the coming year.

I love the little green dots at the ends of the white petals — almost like a little painter came along and dotted each one once it was open.

Snowbells

Snowbells (click for larger image)

Other blog posts about Snowbells on A Gardener’s Note

Photos: Daffodils Arising

My labor a few months ago of planting 75 new daffodil bulbs is starting to bear fruit. As I walked out the front door the other day I noticed the daffodil bulbs throwing up nice strong leaves from among the leaf litter in the beds.

It looks like these new bulbs are going to bloom earlier than the existing ones in the garden, so this should mean for a longer overall bloom of daffodils this year and hopefully in future years. Here are some shots of the new growth “springing” up.

Daffodils Arising

Daffodils Arising Daffodils Arising

More AGN posts about Daffodils (Google Search)

Photos: Seedlings and roses

The seasons are always a bit wonky here in Southern California, so I present these two things which would be considered strange to nearly everyone else in the US at this time of year — seedlings and roses. The kale seedlings need to be started now as kale, and many other leaf crops, will bolt to seed as soon as the temperatures rise. I’ll try to get a better shot of the seedling when they aren’t in the shade. I only remembered to grab this one when I cam home from school pickup.

Kale Seedlings

Kale seedlings just popping up

Rose

JFK Rose JFK Rose

The roses are rejoicing, I think, with the new sunlight available now that a pine tree was removed along the southern property line. They are still shaded quite a bit, but not nearly as much as they were before.

The leaf cleanup never ends!

My garden is filled with leaves. It only makes sense since it is totally surrounded by mature trees of many varieties. Even more, the deciduous trees drop their leaves only to start a completely new set almost immediately. Even worse, I really don’t like cleaning up leaves. Oh woe is me! (LAUGH)

Leaves in the garden

 

tb-chipper.jpg

Today, though, I bit the bullet and pulled out our behemoth of a chipper shredder. It is so large I don’t feel like it is worth using most times, but when we are buried in leaves (and limbs) like today, it was time. I hadn’t used the gas-powered chipper shredder is quite a long time, so I was also dreading the fact that it might not start at all. While I learned how to repair gasoline motors and all sorts of things growing up, mechanics was never my strong suit. I left that to the amazing skills of my father, who seems able to make anything work no matter how worn or abused

 

Imagine my surprise when the chipper-shredder started with one pull. Granted, I had remembered to run it completely out of gas the last time I used it, but you can never tell what might happen when something sits unused for months. So, now that the gardening planets appeared to have aligned, it is time to shred leaves for the next 5 or 6 days, I would guess. We filled out green gardening bin today for pickup, but I have instructed everyone that the main gardening job right now is gathering leaves and depositing them next the shredder so that I can make regular visits — between the blogging and the podcasting and the consulting — and get rid of this years crop eventually.

For the next few days the compost and leaf mold piles will be overflowing.

 

I Like This – Wine Crate Gardening

This ended up being a very, very popular “pin” on Pinterest.com. You can find my “pins” on my personal Pinterest Page.

The link will take you to the original source of the photos and ideas at the Fennel and Fern blog from the UK. This idea has made me start looking at every cool container I see as a possible garden bed. (LAUGH)

Source: fennelandfern.co.uk via Douglas on Pinterest

Elsewhere: DIY shade finder tool takes the tedium out of solar surveys

Nothing like applying a little science and technical ingenuity to make an onerus task easier and faster. I could see this being very useful to a gardener who is trying to site a new plot, tree or home plantings. I have toyed around with using video or time-lapse to accomplish this task, but this is certainly easier and much more accurate.

DIY shade finder tool takes the tedium out of solar surveys

[Steven Dufresne] does a lot of tinkering with solar-powered applications, a hobby which can be very time consuming if done right. One process he carries out whenever building a solar installation is creating a sun chartto determine how much (or little) sun the target area will get.

The process requires [Steven] to take elevation and Azimuth measurements of many different points, which often consumes about half an hour of his time. While taking measurements recently, he started thinking about how he could improve the process, and came up with a stellar solution that reduces the process down to a one-minute task.

Read the entire article

 

Photos: Azaleas 2012

The azaleas have started to bloom here, pretty much on schedule according to my gardening calendar.

Azaleas 2012

Azaleas 2012 Azaleas 2012 Azaleas 2012

Elsewhere: Books: 100 books about the world around us: Nature, science, math, and applied crafts.

Lots of great ideas here for reading online, from  your library or buying. I am adding a lot of these books to my To Read list at GoodReads.com, too.

100books nature

100 books about the world around us: Nature, science, math, and applied crafts.

Sometimes a book is the best way to visit a place, idea, or possibility. Max wants to know how everything- from the hen to a house to a volcano- works. So the world is our oyster. I used an asterisk to indicate the books which can be found for free online. Because so many great and marvel-inducing things can be found for free online.

  1. A Child’s Story of the Animal World by Edward G. Huey
  2. A Practical Guide for the Amateur Naturalist by Gerald Durrell
  3. A Weaver’s Garden: Growing Plants for Natural Dyes and Fibers by Rita Buchanan

See entire list

Photos: Lavender and Parsley

I had to go to the local home store today to pick up a new garbage disposal and, of course, a quick trip through the garden section had me bringing home a couple of new plants. First was 2 lavender plants to replace some that had died back in our original planting a few years ago. Then my wife had said she wanted some Italian Flat Leaf Parsley for the recently retrofit “food” bed, so I picked up one of those, too.

New Lavender

My new rule is that new plants get put in the garden the same day they are purchased, so the moment I got home I grabbed my shovel and placed them. This was easier as I already knew where we wanted them and also allowed me to use the new hose I had picked up for working in the food bed.

New flat leaf parsley

In planting out the lavender, I came across some of the daffodil bulbs I planted earlier. They are showing some very healthy growth and I re-seated them below and around the lavender. Good to see that they will bring a healthy crop of flowers in the next few weeks.

I then took a few minutes with my new chainsaw pole pruner and took off a couple of small, dead limbs that I had been meaning to deal with for a long time. Overall a pretty productive 30 minutes in the garden on this 80 degree+ day here in Los Angeles. I know some of you might be jealous but I would much rather it be in the 50s or 60s at this time of year.