The Real Know How

How-Tos, Videos, Tutorials — Ramping Up for the 21st Century

Archive for the category “gardening”

How to Make Compost Tea: Cfenster

Cfenster shows us how he makes compost tea to improve soil fertility.

Using Vinegar in Your Garden

Howard Garrett talks about how to use vinegar in your garden. He uses it heavily diluted in the water he uses to water plants and in concentrated form with orange oil and soap as an organic herbicide for weeds.

How to Make Seaweed Fertilizer

How to make seaweed fertilizer yourself rather than spend on expensive commercial seaweed fertilizer. In this video it’s made both with fresh whole seaweed and with sushi nori sheets, water and a hand blender. Babybabkas also mentions that she can also find dried whole seaweed in Chinatown.

She uses the seaweed mixture right away — but I’ve also seen where people let the mixture ferment.

Farming Helping to Revitalize Depressed West Oakland, California

This video looks at the decline of West Oakland, California and how the community has started to bounce back in part through community and backyard gardening initiatives. The video looks specifically at the work that non-profit City Slicker Farms has been doing in the community.

Controlling Insects with Soaps and Oils

Skip Richter talks about using sprayed on soap and/or oils to minimize insect problems in your garden.

Setting Up A Residential Greywater System

Rethinking Water: Greywater Guerillas Workshop from RyanIsHungry on Vimeo.

Micropropagation or “Cloning” Plants at Home

This is a completely new topic for me. I had no idea that it was possible to grow small plants from plant tissue samples and to do so at home.

Question: Why would anyone do this?

Answers via Wikipedia (I’ll list just 5 of the possible reasons):

– To “copy” a great plant (produces nice fruit, is a high yielding plant, is hardy, etc)

– To produce mature plants quickly.

– To produce multiples of plants in the absence of seeds or necessary pollinators to produce seeds.

– To produce plants from seeds that otherwise have very low chances of germinating and growing, i.e.: orchids and nepenthes.

– To preserve a rare and endangered plant species.

According to Wiki, micropropagation is a widely used in forestry. Should we really be producing cloned forests?

The process does seem to have several steps and takes care as you have to try to get your working environment and the tissue culture you are working with as sterile as possible.

I find micropropagation fascinating but it also brings up all kinds of questions for me. What do you think? Micropropagation – thumbs up or thumbs down?

Power Tools and Compost

Yorkshire’s Allotment Diary guy shows us his jigsaw-powered compost sifter in action. Interesting idea.

Graywater Systems for Your Garden

This is a great talk by Laura Allen (here walking us through her home humanure system) and Gregory Bullock about setting up a home graywater system.

“Greywater (water that comes from sinks, showers, and washing machines) turns wasterwater and its nutrients into irrigation water, saving time, money, and fresh drinking water. Whats more plants love it, especially fruit trees, berries and vines. Last year California rewrote its greywater code, making simple greywater reuse legal and affordable. Learn the why and hows of greywater reuse, and how to transform your household plumbing into a greywater irrigation system.”

They are in California so some of the impacts, positive and negative, that they talk about here focus on that state, but the issues are similar everywhere.

The talk covers really important Dos and Don’ts. Some topics mulch and mulch basins as filters, choosing good soaps and cleaners to use in your home if you are going to set up a graywater system, how to set up plumbing for the system (they look at a system that uses the pump on the washing machine as its driver), costs, types of crops it is suitable to irrigate (apparently root crops are out but it’s fine for “fruit” and leaf crops.

The Plant World’s Clean-up Crew – Hyperaccumulators

Hyperaccumulators are plants that are highly effective at accumulating nasty stuff like heavy metals in their “bodies.” So much so, that they can be planted expressly to improve contaminated soil.

Here’s the Wikipedia list of these plants.

You’ll notice some familiar plants on the list: sunflower, alfalfa, barley, kale, broccoli, cabbage, etc. The rapeseed plant, for example, seems very willing to accumulate several different heavy metals where some plants only have one heavy metal friend.

Raised beds of new soil are the usual solution for the home gardener who’s done a soil test and knows that they have contaminated soil but phytoremediation is being used by the US government as a cheap, effective, low-on-labor way to clean up the heavily contaminated Superfund sites.

Grist has an interesting article on what happens or should happen to plants that have been used to clean up toxins.

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