Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

This has been buggin me for a long time (haha). There ain't no such time as 12 a.m. or 12 p.m. a.m. is an abbreviation for the Latin ante meridiam meaning before midday which is noon. p.m. is an abbreviation for post meridiam which is Latin for after midday. Midnight separates the start of the ante meridiam from the end of the post meridiam.
Don't they teach kids how to tell time in school?
Repeat after me
When it is light outside it is 12 noon.
When it is dark outside it is 12 midnight.
Got it?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mushroom are coming

The mushroom cultivation workshop with Paul Stamets was great. There were 27 people attending from as far away as Russia, Mexico and Germany. A huge amount of information was presented over the course of the weekend. Paul is so passionate about what he does. It is very inspiring. He is committed to saving the planet with fungi leading the way. He and his team were going to San Francisco last Monday to provide oyster mushroom spawn to break down the oil from the spill in the bay. The oil was soaked up into human hair mats by volunteers on surf boards.
Paul says that the fungi mother the forest. They interconnect all of the creatures. This is the link i have been searching for during my whole career as a horticulturist and landscape architect.
I now see the Funny Farm through a mycelial lens. Everything we do from here on out will be mothered by fungi. We started work on our sterile culture lab today. Soon we will be producing mushroom spawn and inoculating the world with it so we can take advantage of all the nutritional and medicinal benefits that mushrooms provide us.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wake up Kodak

I bought a larger memory card for my camera today. The packaging it came in is a ridiculous and excessive use of plastic. A package within a package within a package wrapped in some paper with more paper inside. Just give me the little box the card is in and save the petroleum used to make the rest.
I did put in the recycle bin but who knows whether any of it will actually be recycled.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Portland, Or - A Model of Sustainable Living

We spent several days in Portland. I am amazed each time i visit there at how much progress they are making towards sustainable urban living. We visited Zenger Urban Agricultural Park which is a farm purchased by the city to protect a wetland behind an industrial development. They turned the rest of the farm over to a non- profit organization to be an education center for urban farming. A farmer grows vegetables and chickens on 3 of the acres that are sold at a CSA.
They have a community garden that is used by immigrant families to grow their own food. They have a solar power system and collect 6000 gallons of rainwater for use during the dry summer season.
There are lots and lots of restaurants that serve local organic food and they promote it heavily. We had breakfast at a restaurant/yoga studio that served their food on real plates and used cloth napkins. Imagine that!
We went to a farmers market that was started 15 years ago. It is held in the parking lot of an awesome food coop called the Peoples Market. We were able to buy salmon, fresh mushrooms and lots of vegetables for our dinner all in one place.
We visited The Rebuilding Center which is a Non-profit that recycles building materials. It was started in a down and out neighborhood a few years ago to provide jobs for local residents. Now it is thriving and so the the surrounding neighborhood. Businesses have moved in, houses have been restored and new construction is under way.
There are rain gardens all around the city that capture rain water and allow it to soak into the ground replenishing the groundwater instead of allowing polluted water to wash into the rivers.
We need to look to Portland as a shining example of what Atlanta can become through our collective efforts.

Burgerville, Fast Food Done Right

In the northwest there is a fast food chain called Burgerville. They use potatoes grown in the northwest. They use fresh beef grown naturally by a coop of farmers in the northwest. They have bean burgers, turkey burgers and milkshakes from seasonal fruits. There packaging is minimal and without printing on it except to spread their message. They offset their carbon output by investing in a wind power farm. Why can't all fast food restaurants do that?
Wake up Wendy's, Mcdonalds, Burgerking, et, al

Trashed on the road

I've been out west for 8 days. In the beginning i tried to keep up with my project documenting my trash, recycling and reuse project. As time went on I found that doing so was detracting from my ability to have a relaxing vacation so i relaxed my vigilance to some extent. However i did have some insights along the way. The first one is that other cities are way ahead of Atlanta on the path towards sustainability. Both the airports in Denver and Seattle have recycling containers readily accessibly throughout them. Wake up Hartsfield! The second is that it takes a lot of planning and discipline to eat healthy food and to tread softly on the planet while on the road. It has been suggested that we need to be more responsible about taking frivolous or unnecessary trips on airplanes anyway. I don't feel that was the case on this trip because i traveled to a workshop to learn about growing mushrooms. Once I put what i learned into practice i will more that offset the carbon expended on the trip by growing and using mushrooms and by teaching others how to do so as well.
More about that in future posts.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Go West Old Man

I'm headed to Portland tomorrow. I'll be visiting friends and touring a couple of urban farms. One is called Tryon Farm and the other is Zenger Urban Agricultural Park. Watch for reports and photos later in the week.
Can't hardly wait to get out of ATL!

Reuse, Recycle, Reduce


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Reuse, Recycle, Reduce


I know i'm an idiot for starting to smoke at age 50 something.

Advice to Sonny Perdue

Dear Gov. Perdue,
Here is my advice for solving our water shortage problem.
Require all the citizens of Georgia to piss in a bucket, dilute it with water from their showers and use it to water a plant.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Reuse, Recycle, Reduce

I use a fair amount of paper in my design work. I print on paper with 35% post consumer content (the largest % i could find at office depot) and I print on both sides whenever possible and i save used pages to print tests on or for internal use.
If anyone knows a good locally owned source for inkjet paper that contains a high percentage of recycled content please let me know.


Yes Pomi marinara is imported from Italy and it is packaged in a non-recyclable package and it is not organic. But it tastes great and they use it on Iron Chef America.
I don't feel guilty!
By the way, I sauteed the oyster mushrooms i collected the other day and put them in the marinara sauce and ate it over spaghetti (not pasta, spaghetti, remember spaghetti?) with romano pecorino cheese on top.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Reuse, Recycle, Reduce

I'll be putting the cardboard on the ground in the garden paths which i will then cover with wood chips, a layer of mushroom spawn, and more chips. In 9 months or so we'll be harvesting mushrooms in our garden paths. Cardboard is a favorite food of fungi and is a much better choice than landscape fabric under mulch because roots can't penetrate it , it is not made from petrochemicals, and you can grow mushrooms on it.
Someone posted a comment on yesterday's post suggesting this website www.catalogchoice.org. The site provides you with the means to stop getting all those unsolicited catalogs that are mailed out by the millions every day. Below is an excerpt from a letter sent by Forest Ethics to the top 100 catalog companies about their practices.
Each year, US catalog companies send out more than 18 billion catalogs, over 200 for every family. Producing the paper for these catalogs has enormous negative impacts on the world’s forests, including endangered forests in the Canadian Boreal and the U.S. South – globally critical forests for protecting biodiversity and wilderness and stabilizing the world’s climate. Almost none of the paper used to make these 18 billion catalogs contains post-consumer recycled content. This is an industry-wide shame that must be addressed by reassessing your company’s responsibility for the welfare of future generations

Do something about it please.


Ok this is the dilemma for today. Aluminum foil can certainly be reused but this was wrapped around a turkey. I could probably clean it but with the water shortage.... also what if i didn't clean it well enough to keep the salmonella from developing? And what about using aluminum foil at all? Does it leach into the food and make us sick?
What would you do?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


We got our first frost this morning and it is supposed to go below freezing again tonight. I wrapped our beautiful lettuce up in a blanket to keep it crisp and nice. We sold some today to Little's Grocery in Cabbagetown along with some tatsoi and radishes.
Wow, we're real market gardeners now!


This trash examination project is like opening pandora's box. First of all if i had remembered that i had to tell the world about it i never would have let down my guard and gone into Wendy's for lunch. I told myself i was tired of eating turkey sandwiches for 4 days straight but i was just lying to myself because i ate a turkey sandwich about 3 hours after eating the wendyburger and frosty. (i really love turkey sandwiches)(especially the mayonaise, organic of course).
And then, when i was ready to shave, here i am faced (no pun intended) with yet another example of ridiculous packaging and throw-away stuff. I don't use any shaving cream or gell crap when i shave, I depend on the lubricant on the little strip attached to the top of the 4 blade cartridge that will eventually end up in the landfill for a million years. that's right i dry shave and i don't change blades until i absolutely have to. Yea, i'm a real macho man.
Maybe i'll get myself a straight razor for christmas. ( but think about all the medical supplies that will be used once and thrown into the trash) geeez!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


I went to the community garden today to harvest the last of the tomatos before the first frost comes tonight or tomorrow night. I got about 10 pounds in various stages of ripeness. Some of the green ones we'll fry up and some that are closer to ripe i'll wrap in newspaper and let ripen in the dark.
The excitement of the day though was discovering a big patch of oyster mushrooms. That was totally unexpected. I'd found flushes of them several times this year in the same place growing on the stump of a pawlonia tree that was cut down 3 years ago when we had an old house demolished to make room to expand the garden.
We'll be eating well for the next few days.
That just increased my excitement about going to Washington state next week to learn how to cultivate mushrooms from Paul Stamets and his crew at Fungi Perfecti.

Reuse, Recycle, Reduce

You can compost old cotton socks. Cut them up into small pieces before adding them to the pile.


A word about today's trash. I have a cold and have been using Zicam to make it go away quicker. The packaging is ridiculous! Check out my Facebook page and watch my video rant about packaging.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Pet Milk Remains White

Our esteemed Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin has decided not to require dairy farmers to put black dye in the raw (unpasteurized, unhomogenized) milk they sell to us for our pets to drink. You know of course that it is illegal for us humans to drink raw milk in Georgia.
God bless Tommy Irvin for keeping me safe. I'm so glad he realizes I am not capable of making my own decisions on this issue.
Thanks to Chad Carlton of Carlton Farm for fighting the good fight. Carlton farm sells raw cow's milk for pets. They have several distribution points around metro Atlanta including one at The Urban Gardener.

Reuse, Recycle, Reduce

The Grocery store bags we reuse at our store The Urban Gardener, the glass and cans go into the recycle bin the city picks up ( we don't really know what happens to it after it is picked up but we hope it actually gets recycled) and the food scraps go into our compost pile where it is reduced to essential plant nutrients by our friends the microorganisms.


Sunday, November 4, 2007


In the latest issue of Orion magazine ( a great magazine, excellent writing, fantastic photography and art) there is a piece about Tim Gaudreau who photographed they stuff he threw away every day for a full year. He is a self-proclaimed recycler, is "ecologically conscious, limited what he bought and didn't participate in any of the traditional consumer holidays." Still he threw away a lot of stuff. And don't we all.
I've decided to follow in his footsteps and post photos of the stuff i throw away every day for the next year. I hope that this exercise will make me a better steward of the earth and maybe it will help you to be better too.
Being a recycler myself i think it would be only fair to also post photos of the stuff i recycle too. We can all learn from that as well.

Learning to Like Radishes

Does anyone really like radishes? I know I don't. But ever since i've been a gardener i've grown them. They are easy and they grow fast. I guess there's satisfaction in that even though i don't like the taste and the burniness of them.By leaving them in the ground until they flower i am doing the beneficial insects a favor. Thats a good thing.
When i was in grad school we used to drink vodka with some russian dudes who ate black radishes that were grated up and salted. We thought they were good but salted dogshit would taste good too after all the vodka we drank.

Are they nutritious? I'm not sure. Hold on while i look that up.....
According to http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts-C00001-01c20g2.html
The Good
This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Magnesium, Copper and Manganese, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Folate and Potassium.

The Bad
A large portion of the calories in this food come from sugars.
Ok so they would be good for me if i were to learn to like them.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


I've been dicking around on facebook recently. I think i read about it in a article and wanted to see what it was all about. I had a myspace page and found it to be rather childish so abandoned it. I got a message on my "fun wall" on facebook today from my niece asking me if i was going to post to this blog more often now that i had posted it on my facebook profile. She actually reads this blog. I'm glad somebody does. My family are not good communicators. I rarely talk to my family even though i love them very much. At least with facebook, which all of my sister's family use, we can know a little more about what we all are up to without having to communicate directly like by talking on the phone. Why is talking on the phone so hard? I don't know but is seems to be.
My best friend and adopted son John Henry and I haven't seen much of each other these past few months because she is carrying a very heavy load this semester in graduate school but we do use instant messaging to stay in touch and keep each other informed about hot topice of mutual interest. She is also one who abhors the telephone and rarely returns my phone calls. I told her the last time we were together that it would be nice it hear her voice once in a while during the long periods when we can't find time to be in the same room together. She asked me why and my answer was that hearing one's voice is a much richer more complete form of communicating. One can learn much from tone of voice, inflection, timbre. One can tell if someone is tired, sad, angry, bored. All of that is lost with email or instant messaging. It is a very flat form of communicating which can sometimes lead to misinterpretation of meaning without the richness that one's voice adds to a conversation.
I guess the point i'm trying to make is that in some ways the internet has opened up ways for us to stay in touch which is good but if we are not careful we'll end up making personal physical communication a thing of the past.
That won't be good!