Saturday, September 29, 2007

Cradle To Cradle

Here is what happened to Councilman Rosendahl's Eggs:

Breakfast For Madi And Nader (Obviously We Ate The Green Ones - Brown And White Eggs Are Just Not Fun):

Then The Shells Went Into The To-Be-Composted Container On Our Kitchen Counter, Along With Some Coffee Grounds And Carrot Tops:

And Into The Compost Bin That Fred Made:

Along With Grass Clippings, Leaves, And Other Garden And Kitchen Waste (NO MEAT OR MAMMAL POO, PLEASE, Also, Do Not Put Nut Grass, Garlic Mustard, Or Tomatoes In Your Compost. The Seeds Will Withstand The Heat And You'll Have An Invasion!)

Eventually, You'll Have This For Your Garden (The Wire Mesh Funnel Is To Aerate The Compost):

Here is a great set of plans for a home-built compost bin. The wood we used for ours is certified sustainably farmed cedar, which holds up well to moisture. Fred built ours in a day:

If you live in Los Angeles, as we do, here is a city resource that does composting classes and sells inexpensive bins:

This link explains the composting process:

Now that we're composting, we only put our city green can out about once a month, and we have more compost than we know what to do with. Also, we feel better knowing exactly what went into the compost that is going into our garden. Cradle to cradle - grow it, eat it, compost the leftovers to make ammendment to grow more food. It couldn't be more elegant.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Otis Home Tour!

Last weekend, the garden was featured in a home tour sponsored by the Do It Now: Live Green design show at Otis. It was incredibly fun, and many neighbors and friends showed up, including members of the wonderful Mar Vista Neighborhood Association (MVNA), and our amazing City Councilman Bill Rosendahl. He gave an inspired talk about each of our personal responsibilities to live lighter, use less, and was incredibly supportive of our project. He spoke about the importance of doing both large and small things, and the cumululative effect of participation. Afterwards, I got invited back to his house and got beautiful brown, white, and green eggs from his hens. Guess we're not the only urban farmers in Mar Vista!

Our friend Donna who owns the fabulous Surfing Cowboys store on Abbott Kinney talked about how much the garden has become a social center of our street. Everyone stops by to say hi, as we are constantly in the front has changed the way we live in our neighborhood. I haven't had so many friends on my block since I was 10 years old.

This garden has completely changed my life, and I am so grateful for it, and for my husband Fred, who was behind me all the way with his support and sweat and commitment to rid the world of nut grass.

Meg Linton Of Otis College Of Art And Design, Councilman Bill Rosendahl, Me, And Fred
(Photo by Susan Black-Feinstein, Treasurer, MVNA, THANK YOU!)

Donna Speaking At The Garden:

Councilman Bill Rosendahl Speaks:


Fred's Panoramas...

Councilman Bill's Arucana Eggs


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Do It Now: Live Green

I had the honor of co-curating the Do It Now: Live Green show with the indomitable Meg Linton of Otis College of Art and Design, and my incredible friend, Colette Brooks, of Big Imagination Group.
Do It Now: Live Green features household products and services made from renewable, recycled, and repurposed sources by individuals and companies who are manufacturing and distributing with environmental integrity (Beyond The Lawn is featured). It celebrates today's evolving consciousness and innovation in green technology.
Please come and visit!

Here we are on You Tube:



Saturday, September 8, 2007

Eggsperiment Of The Week!

Eggs with Tomatoes, not just for breakfast anymore! According to Tony Kienitz (If you haven't read his book "The Year I Ate My Yard", do it NOW!):
"When transplanting tomatoes I like to provide a slow-release fertilizer that can be found and purchased quite conveniently. I buy chicken eggs in twelve packs - you're probably familiar with them. Into each freshly dug transplant hole, I put a raw egg right beside the tomato rootball. I bury the tomato all the way up the stem, leaving two or three baby leaves exposed, and then I water gently, and then I go throw rocks at the pigeons on my house.
Lots of people complain that they grow huge tomato plants but get few fruit. Why? Too much nitrogen. Everybody gets all worked up about gettin' the plants enough nitrogen, and consequently they apply way too much to the soil. Operating under the dellusion that "Everything Grows Better With Crap!" we throw bags of poop at every poor defenseless seedling. it isn't necessary. Bigger is not better.
An egg, unbroken, will slowly decompose beside the tomato. As it breaks down it will provide sulphur, which will help the plant fend off disease. finally, when the plant is well into its cycle of producing fruit, the egg will supply nitrogen, which will then be utilized to create grande tomatoes not much leaves and branches. An egg is cheap, low-tech, in the fridge, and fun."

Ok Tony. Here we go. One Tomato Siberia (yep, that's a cold season plant, just right to plant in LA in September!), One ORGANIC, FREE RANGE, HORMONE FREE Egg, and Viola, either a stinking mess, or great tomatoes. Results will be recorded here along the way! Eggseptional.