73 Plans That Will Change the Way You Grow Your Garden

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Groundbreaking Food Gardens: 73 Plans That Will Change the Way You Grow Your Garden

by Niki Jabbour, illustrations by Anne Smith, Elayne Sears and Mary Ellen Carsley

Storey Publishing

2014, 272 pages, 8 x 10 x 0.8 inches (softcover)

$15 Buy a copy on Amazon

Fittingly, the layout of Groundbreaking Food Gardens is similar to a community garden. Within the landscape of this one book, readers find 73 distinct plots, each neatly contained, each with its own character in the beds of text and image. In it, edible gardening expert Niki Jabbour curates 73 thematically diverse illustrated plans contributed by master food growers and writers with unendingly fresh perspectives. Each mini-chapter opens with three or four cornerstones of the design therein, and these points become headers for each section, like garden markers for the reader.

Even the most bibliophilic gardener has to admit, it’s hard to find a good gardening book that says or does something new. But within the first 24 hours of bringing home Groundbreaking Food Gardens, I had filled it with every bit of scrap paper in our bookmark pile. Though more of a design lookbook than a how-to, it still offers plenty of information. Woven throughout the plans, there are both practical tips and historical gardening factoids to appeal to new and seasoned gardeners alike. You wouldn’t use a bean pole to support a squash, and so the scaffolding of each design chapter changes slightly to reflect the 73 unique concepts. Read the rest

Gator and canoe, Texas summertime (photo, Boing Boing Flickr Pool)

Photographer and Boing Boing reader Fred Facker of Houston, TX shares this image with the Boing Boing Flickr pool. "Just a floating log next to our canoe."

"You can go get the canoe," he writes. "I'll catch up." Read the rest

8-year-old plays Flint Hill Special on banjo

[Video Link] As one YouTuber commented: "First time I've ever seen the Millennium Falcon next to a taxidermied fox." Read the rest

Bury, don't shred your documents

I had 52 pounds of documents that I needed to get rid of securely. My wimpy shredder would choke on that much paper, and the quotes I got from onsite shredding services were too costly for me.

So, I dug a hole in my backyard and buried the papers. I'm curious to find out how long it will take for the papers to decompose.

I wasn't sure that the hole I dug was big enough to hold all the papers.

It turns out there was room to spare! I mixed in as much dirt as I could to accelerate the composting process.

I filled the top foot of the hole with dirt. Mission accomplished, along with some pleasant outdoor exercise! Read the rest

To do in Austin, TX: "Third Annual Funky Chicken Coop Tour"

BB reader J. Woods says,

If you're in Austin this Saturday, check out the third annual Funky Chicken Coop Tour--there's no food more sustainable and local than eggs from your own backyard! We also have an Info Center with a drawing for a free chicken coop, along with other cool chicken-related prizes. It's a free, self-guided tour using maps downloaded from our website. You can also see some of the coops on videos.

Above: Coop #8 on the 2011 Austin Funky Chicken Coop Tour map.Video Link. Read the rest

To do (for free) in NYC today: massive red and white quilt show, may induce "Amish heart attack"

Boing Boing reader cinemajay says,

My wife and I just returned from NYC where we saw "Infinite Variety," an exhibition of 650 red and white quilts. As the husband of a quilter I'm used to going to craft-related events, but this was absolutely breathtaking in scope and presentation. It was nothing short of magical, and I say that with the seriousness of an Amish heart attack. So if you're in NYC today, (the last day of the exhibit) do yourself a favor and check it out--oh, the event is also totally and completely free.

More about the exhibit in the Financial Times. "Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts" takes place at Armory on Park. Image: untitled work from the collection of Joanna S. Rose, photo by Gavin Ashworth. Read the rest

Hotline for saving bees in L.A.

The folks at Google Voice interviewed my friend Amy Seidenwurm, one of the co-founders of Backwards Beekeepers, a no-treatment beekeepers club I belong to.

1. Tell us about your organization. The Backwards Beekeepers are dedicated to saving the native honey bee population by teaching chemical-free beekeeping. We have monthly meetings in L.A. and also advise beekeepers all over the world.

2. How are you using Google Voice? We use our Google Voice number for the Bee Rescue Hotline. People all over L.A. call the hotline when they find unwelcome bees in their garages, hot tubs, trees, chimneys and such. We get their message on our Google Voice account and email it to our list of almost 500 beekeepers (and aspiring ones). Someone claims the job, contacts the caller and picks up the bees.

Google Voice: Helping save bees in L.A. Read the rest

The Appalachian Trail in 4 minutes

I don't know about you, but I could use something kind of soothing this morning. Please enjoy this 4-minute video journey through the entire Appalachian Trail, and have a happy Monday.

Via Minnesota Public Radio's News Cut

Read the rest

Buy a tube station

A disused tube station is up for sale in London for the bargain price of £180,000 ($290,000). Formerly Shoreditch Underground Station, the 1,600 sq. ft. single-level property would make an unusual home for someone willing to put in some elbow grease—and willing to tolerate living immediately next to train tracks. Rooms include a ticketing office, lobby, plant area, and a toilet.

Andrews & Robertson [via BLDGBLG] Read the rest

Detroit velodrome reclaimed by lawnmower-wielding urban bike activists

A group of urban activists known as The Mower Gang have cleared the half-mile Detroit Velodrome track of weeds, beer cans, and other trash that kept bicycles away for decades. "It's really not about getting some 45-year-old guy a better place to ride his bike," said the Mower Gang's founder. "It's more about getting 10-, 12-, 13-year-old kids a better place to spend an afternoon." (freep.com, via Mr. Jalopy) Read the rest

How to turn carrots into bacon

Via the BB Submitterator, reader kentbrew says,

Here is an instructional Flickr set that shows you exactly how to turn the carrots you allowed to grow way beyond the point where they were edible by human beings into something verrrry close to bacon.

As an herbivore, I heartily approve!

How to Turn Carrots into Bacon! (Flickr) Read the rest

Bamboo Charlie: homeless man builds toy-filled refuge

"I love the expression on people's faces when they come here," says "Bamboo Charlie" Walker in this Los Angeles Times profile. "A homeless man with toys? Whoa!"

For the better part of 18 years, Charles Ray Walker, a homeless man from Houston, has made his home near the junctions of the 5, 10, 60 and 101 freeways in Boyle Heights, on a plot with a shock of green bamboo trees. There, he grows nectarines, peaches and strawberries and displays a collection of found objects.

Here's video, here's a photo gallery of his amazing abode and meticulously arranged found object collection, and here is the interview. Read the rest

Video about the White House bee hive

The White House has a very nice beehive. But I think the President should invite my daughters over to teach his daughters how to process the honey themselves!

This beehive on the South Lawn is a first for the White House. The busy bees pollinate the kitchen garden, flora all over Washington and provide honey for the White House kitchen. Take a look at this year's colony, estimated at about 70,000 bees, and listen to how the idea for a beehive on the South Lawn came about.

Inside the White House -- Bees! Read the rest

Nouveau Oldtime Jam: Blind Boy Paxton, Dom Flemons (of Carolina Chocolate Drops), and Frank Fairfield

(Watch video: YouTube, Dotsub, or download MP4.)

A quick little goodie from Boing Boing Video. Last night, I sat in on a live recording session at Santa Monica's Village Studios with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, described as "African-American string band revivalists." They were amazing: I have never been so emotionally moved by someone playing a musical jug (and banjos, fiddles, cow bones, and kazoos). Their performance was witnessed by a handful of music biz folks and oldtime music enthusiasts, and made me feel deeply homesick for Appalachia (I'm also craving cornbread and butterbeans today - there's a song for that).

The Chocolate Drops have a new record coming out in 2010, and Boing Boing will be all over it like gravy on grits. If you dig R. Crumb, Smithsonian Folkways recordings of pre-blues and pre-bluegrass banjo music, and love folks who bring new life to authentic American music, you will flip out.

So, the video above: after the Drops' performance and recording session ended, Dom Flemons (of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, seated in center in the video), Blind Boy Paxton (seated at left in the video), and Frank Fairfield (seated far right) sat down together and jammed pure, sweet magic for a spell. I wasn't prepared with a proper camera or crew, but I grabbed my iPhonetraption out of my pocket and got to shootin'. I hope you enjoy it as much as everyone in the room did. Pure magic, these guys. Read the rest

Goat rentals for clearing brush

GOOD reports on the Seattle-based Rent-a-Ruminant organization that hires out goats to people who want to clear brush on their property.

[R]ather than spending tons of money and time on diesel-powered machines, filing the proper permits, and administering dangerous herbicides, the Seattle-based Rent-a-Ruminant organization will loan your a team of 100 goats for all your brush-clearing needs--all at a very modest rates. As Serious Eats explains, the benefits of goats are numerous: they eat just about anything, they can work on uneven ground, you don't need permits to use them, and they can clear a quarter-acre in about three days.

Rental Goats Clear Brush Better, Beat Cosmonauts in Space Race Read the rest

Wearable hummingbird feeder: they'll think your eyes are juicy, delicious flowers!

A face mask with which to attract hungry, curious hummingbirds, $80 from heatstick.com. The masks do look silly, and the website is nothing if not homebaked. But if the maker's YouTube videos are to be believed, these contraptions do attract the little buggers and make for amazing eye-to-eye encounters with one of the most magical winged creatures on the planet. I'm kind of dying to try one out.

Using and enjoying the feeder is a two step process. The first is to acquaint the hummingbirds with the feeder. We set an old can of paint on a small shelf on the side of the barn and slipped the feeder onto the can. It wasn't long before the hummingbirds found it, and after a little searching, found the feeding station. Then we let them get familiar with the feeder for a few days. Finally we set a chair next to the shelf, removed the feeder from the can, slipped it on and waited. One never forgets the first time a hummingbird suddenly arrives at the feeder right in front of your eyes.

Video embedded above: "Chris Makes a New Friend" [YouTube]

Product: "Eye to Eye Wearable Hummingbird Feeder." The guy behind it lives in California's Humboldt County, and has invented some other neat earth-gadgety stuff, too, like the Veg-a-Lot growing shelter [heatstick.com].

(Thanks, Dean Putney!) Read the rest

WWOOF - World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms

Boing Boing guestblogger Connie Choe is a health and culture writer by day and a professional kimchimonger by night.

Having lived in suburbia for the past 20 years, I often hear desperation-tinged fantasies (my own, mostly)of wanting to flee this neatly manicured existence to someplace that is rather different and very beautiful, but that's not too expensive and preferably not mucked up by other travelers.

For anyone else who seconds this emotion, I believe the answer to our yearnings is WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). Here's how it works: You choose a host organic farm in whichever country you like and arrange a temporary stay (ranging from a few days up to several months) during which you will work without pay in exchange for food and shelter. It's all the fun of being an indentured servant or migrant laborer without all the obligations! Read the rest

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