Chiako Yamamoto is the first and only female sensei of Japan's revered bonsai masters. She shows trees of various sizes and ages, including those she inherited from relatives generations ago. Read the rest
The Japan Federation of Landscape Contractors' Kei Truck Garden Contest challenges people to transform the beds of their miniature pickup trucks into lovely mobile gardens. From Spoon & Tamago:
Other than using the kei truck there are very few limitations and landscapers have incorporated everything from benches and aquariums to elements of lighting into their designs. Judges then rank the entries based on planning, expression, design, execution and environment.
Over at Popular Science, Jim Shaw, proprietor of Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm, posted his recipe for Worm Tea, an organic liquid fertilizer and insecticide. The key ingredient is three pounds of castings, also known as worm shit. Shaw writes:
Collect 2 to 3 pounds of castings (or buy them from us). Next, pack them in a porous cloth, such as a burlap bag or even a pillowcase, to make a jumbo tea bag. Then dunk the bag in 2 to 3 gallons of lukewarm water, and soak it overnight. Finally, squeeze the bag; you just brewed your own worm tea.
Spray the Worm Tea on the plants or pour it at the stem. For best results, don't drink it.
One of the more interesting methods of gardening that people are trying is the food forest, where they convert a yard into a low-maintenance garden that doesn't really look like one.
A lot of urban gardeners point out that the "Back to Eden" / "Food Forest" options are not going to give optimal yields on smaller parcels of land, and certainly are not ideal if you're doing an urban or suburban garden as a commercial venture.
I'm a huge fan of the Earthbox. My best crops of tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, and corn have all been from these wonderful self-watering containers.
I really like gardening in self-watering containers. I have made my own, but after a number of seasons, I've found that that the Earthbox-brand, commercially produced with plastics that last in the outdoors, last a lot longer. There is also no guess work with soil vs. reservoir depth.
I've ordered 4 new Earthboxes to compliment the two I have been using for nearly 10 years. The best tips and tricks I can offer for container gardening are to simply follow the directions from Earthbox. I've bought a few books, I've scoured the interweb forums for info, and honestly nothing has helped more than doing it exactly the way Earthbox suggests.
I may try some of California's newly legal recreational plant in a box as well. Who knows, everything else likes to grow in them...
The inventor of the Roomba robot vacuum, Joe Jones, has come up with something new: a solar-powered weeding robot called the Tertill. It will patrol your home garden daily looking for weeds to cut down.
How does it know what's a weed and what's a plant?
Tertill has a very simple method: weeds are short, plants are tall. A plant tall enough to touch the front of Tertill's shell activates a sensor that makes the robot turn away. A plant short enough to pass under Tertill’s shell, though, activates a different sensor that turns on the weed cutter.
Get your own weed-killing robot for $249 through the Tertill's Kickstarter.
Pearl Fryar of Bishopville, South Carolina created this incredible garden mostly from plants he saved from a local nursery's compost dump.
Ironically, according to Great Big Story, "When he first moved to the small town in the 1980s, he was almost unable to build his house because neighbors feared that as an African American, he wouldn’t keep up his yard."
The delightful grounds of Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, England contain such alluring settings as the Poison Garden, home to more than 100 species of plants that are deadly to humans. Please meet the head gardener, Trevor Jones, who must wear protective gear when he's digging in the dirt.
We have a potted lemon tree in out backyard. I water it by filling a watering can from the garden hose. The spigot for the garden hose is against the house, behind a scratchy bush. I didn't want to get scratched by the bush any longer, so I bought this Hose Bib Extender on Amazon for $30, along with a 6 foot hose to attach it to the existing spigot. Now I have an easy-to-access spigot and look how green the lemon tree looks!
The FarmBot Genesis is an open-source robot gardener for home food production. You design your mini-farm with their app and then the Raspberry Pi-powered robot handles the rest, from planting to watering, weeding to harvesting. The FarmBot Genesis sounds like the evolutionary descendant of Ken Goldberg and Joseph Santarromana's groundbreaking 1994 telerobotic artwork, the TeleGarden:
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
2014, 272 pages, 8 x 10 x 0.8 inches (softcover)
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
Gardening games tend to be soothing cycles of repetition: You plant, you water, you harvest, and then you do it again. You play them to relax, which is probably why so few of those games are set during wars.
But that's exactly where A Good Gardener begins, by asking you to tend a small garden in the midst of a terrible conflict. You're a captured deserter in this unspecified war, assigned to grow crops for the troops in a small, open air compound that looks like it once had a roof. Perhaps it was blown up? All you can see beyond it is sky, and the top of a deserted building in the distance, its windows broken.
The experience of the game is simple: every day you collect a box of seeds, plant them, and water them. (Don't forget to refill your watering can at the spout on the days when it rains.) As the days pass, you'll see different crops take different shapes until they reach their final form, and then your mustachioed supervisor will come to collect them. On the days when he arrives to gather the fruits of your labor, he'll often make offhand, ominous statements about what's happening in the world outside, or even your own mysterious past.
Who are you really, and what exactly are you enabling with your green thumb? That's the question that lingers over your peaceful daily routine of weeding and watering, and if you're a good enough gardener, perhaps you'll learn the truth. Read the rest