Elsewhere Online: Project Noah App Lets You Learn About Nearby Wildlife and Plants

I love when someone puts the iPhone to good use. Here is one that uses the Internet access, camera and GPS to help your explore your world.


Project Noah is directed at kids, but I think anyone would find it interesting. You take photos and tag plants and wildlife along your travels and share them with other Project Noah users. Having trouble with identification? No problem, post it anyway and let the community help you figure it out.

Project Noah App Lets You Learn About Nearby Wildlife and Provide Worthy Research Yourself: “Project Noah App Lets You Learn About Nearby Wildlife and Provide Worthy Research Yourself

Kat Hannaford — This could be an app that makes you relinquish control of your iPhone and see the nearest kid around you begin a lifelong journey in wildlife appreciation. The free Project Noah app lets you snap photos of a plant or animal and submit it to find out details on exactly what it is, and what it’s good for.”

(Via Gizmodo.)

Read the entire article

I Like This – April 1, 2011

What I’m Reading… Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon

You don’t have to be a proponent of survivalist training to understand the joys of preserving what food you are giving so you can enjoy it later, usually when the food would not be available otherwise. Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It runs the gamut of preserved foods. The title says it all and then you add in salad dressing recipes, beverages, candy and more.

As with most food books I read, this one has many paper markers sticking out of the binding. There are many things I plan on trying, given half a chance. The section on making your own butter and cheese caught my eye immediately. I have been exploring making my own cordials and hard cider, so a little cheese to go along with them would be a great next steps. Of course, as harvest time arrives this year, I will be well prepared to save some of the abundant fruit for those long Winter nights in the form of jams and jellys.

Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon from Amazon.com

I first heard of this book from Eric Rochow over at Gardenfork.tv. He followed some of the recipes for making his own cheeses.

How to make cheese, ricotta cheese, queso blanco: Gardenfork.tv

Product Description from Amazon.com

Do you relish the joys of hot toast spread with your own homemade butter and jam? Love to dazzle your friends with jars and tins of choice goodies–all created by you? The kitchen is a paradise for crafty cooks, and whether you’re a newcomer to the realm of amateur artisanal edibles or a seasoned food crafter on the prowl for your next batch of appetizing challenges, Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It has recipes galore for you (75, to be exact).

Projects range from perfect pantry staples (Butter, Crackers, Pasta) to festive giftables (Toasted Walnut Brandy, Lemon Curd, Peanut Butter Cups); some give quick gratification (Mayonnaise, Rumkirschen, Potato Chips), while others reward patience (Gravlax, Ricotta Salata, Kimchee). Practical prep-ahead and storage instructions accompany each recipe, several give variations (like Caramelized Onion and Thyme Butter–yum), and most share ideas on how to use it, serve it, and give it away.

Complete with color photographs and the accumulated wisdom of author Karen Solomon’s years of food crafting, Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It is your one-stop resource for turning your culinary inspiration into a pantry full of hand-labeled, better-than-store-bought creations

Karen Solomon is a food and lifestyle writer and veteran culinary tinkerer and food crafter. She is the author of The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to San Francisco, a contributor to San Francisco magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle, and a former editor and columnist for the San Francisco Bay Guardian. She has also contributed to Chow! San Francisco Bay Area, the SF Zagat Guide, and dozens of Bay Area and national publications. She lives with her partner, son, and food-focused dachshund in (you guessed it) San Francisco, California. Reach her at www.ksolomon.com.

Question: What are your garden planting plans this season?

Chime in on this Facebook Question on the A Gardener’s Notebook Fan page…

Agn question

Click to Answer

What I’m Reading…The Wild Garden by William Robinson

This is a new edition of Robinson’s Fifth Edition of 1895 edition along with extensive expanded material. There is a long commentary on the original work and dozens of amazing photographs illustrating Robinson’s concepts on “The Wild Garden.” The new material, including the lovely photographs, are by Rick Darke.

I have what is best described as a woodland garden here and there are some excellent ideas to be applied here.

The Wild Garden: Expanded Edition from Amazon.com

Product Description from Amazon.com


William Robinson’s revolutionary book, The Wild Garden, envisioned an authentically naturalistic approach to gardening that is more vital today than ever before. First published in 1870, The Wild Garden evolved through many editions and remained in print through the remainder of the author’s lifetime (1838–1935). In the book, Robinson issued a forceful challenge to the prevailing style of the day, which relied upon tender plants arranged in rigidly geometrical designs. In sharp contrast, Robinson advocated for the use of hardy, locally adapted native and exotic plants arranged according to local growing conditions. Robinson’s vision was inspired by his first-hand observations of natural habitats in Europe and North America, and he put his ideas into practice in his own garden at Gravetye Manor in West Sussex. The Wild Garden was ground-breaking and hugely influential in its day, and is stunningly relevant to twenty-first century gardeners and landscape stewards seeking to adopt sustainable design and management practices.


In addition to the complete original text and illustrations from the fifth edition of 1895, this expanded edition includes new chapters and 125 color photographs by award-winning photographer and landscape consultant Rick Darke. His new material places wild gardening in modern context, underscoring Robinson’s importance in the evolution of ecological design and illustrating an inspiring diversity of contemporary wild gardens.

The potent combination presented here makes this new edition of a timeless classic an essential resource for all who wish to know how we have arrived at our present understanding of gardens and what opportunities lie ahead. As will be immediately clear to anyone who leafs through this book, Robinson’s urgent message continues to resonate.


#treechat – Another chat for the gardener in you


I came across another great Twitter chat today in the form of #treechat. There was lots of good information and discussion. Today’s topic was tree planting and early care.

With so many cities giving away free trees these days, if really pays to know as much as you can about the trees before you plant them. The best way to have a happy experience with your trees is to pick the correct one for your climate, location in your garden and growing habit.

You can find out more about #treechat on the #treechat Facebook page. Transcripts of the complete chat are also available after each event.


On Twitter-based chats…

For most Twitter chats, such as #gardenchat and #treechat, the best way to participate is by using the Tweetchat web site. Once you log in with your Twitter account, Tweetchat automatically scrolls the conversation and adds the hashtag (such as #gardenchat) to each message you send. Tweetchat really makes the experience painless.

Video: Tomatomania 2011: Scenes and Interview

Douglas E. Welch from A Gardener’s Notebook visits Tomatomania 2011 in Encino, California. He interviews Scott Daigre, organizer of Tomoatomania at a dozen locations across the country and chats with a few of the tomato buyers, many who come back year after year. Tomatomania hosts over 250 varieties for sale at each location from beefsteak, to plum, to cherry tomotoes and everything in-between.

Despite grey skies in usually sunny Encino, seedings were flying off the lot by the cartload. All ages were represented from long-time growers to kids eager to help Mom and Dad select just the right plants.

See http://Tomatomania. com for more information on future events in California and on the East Coast of America.

Download “Tomatomania 2011: Scenes and Interview” – iPod Ready format

Photos: Tomatomania 2011

I spent the day wandering around Tomatomania 2011 here in Encino, California today. Here are some quick photos I shot. I was more concentrated on taking extensive video of the event, including an interview with Tomatomania organizer, Scott Daigre. I will be posting that video in the next few days.


View an album of photos from Tomatomania 2011.

Elsewhere Online: The Dry Garden: ‘Reimagining the California Lawn’

I will try and catch up with the authors as they make their tour nearby.

I could use a lot of advice like this in sprucing up my own garden.

Seen in The Dry Garden: ‘Reimagining the California Lawn’ from L.A. at Home by Craig Nakano

Maybe you want to remove your lawn. Maybe you want to shrink it to make way for flowers, food plants or a shade tree. Maybe you don’t know what you want. A new book written by three of California’s most knowledgeable horticulturists lays out options.

It would be disingenuous to treat “Reimagining the California Lawn: Water-Conserving Plants, Practices, and Designs” like any other garden book. It’s not. The authors have close to rock-star status in California horticulture, something they possessed even before the publication of their first book in 2005, “California Native Plants for the Garden.”

Read the entire article

Reimagining the California Lawn at Amazon.com

I Like This – March 25, 2011