Speak to me

When I lived in San Francisco, I had the pleasure of paying the occasional visit to a woman named Frieda. Her last name is lost to me, but I remember vividly how much I enjoyed spending time with such an erudite, interesting human being. She was a mathematician by training, but she seemed to know […]

Posing a pepper puzzle

I have a horticultural mystery on my hands, and it’s weird, weird, weird. One of the plants that seems to thrive in our hydroponic system is peppers. Although they’re a little tall and weedy, they’re nice and green, with lots of flowers. Until about a week ago, I thought we were going to have a […]

How to make self-watering containers

Watering is a fact of gardening. Plants need water and, unless the weather is rainier than you want it to be, you have to give it to them. You can do this with a system of hoses and pipes, in which case your effort stops being watering and starts being irrigation.  Or you can stand […]

Better gardening through chemistry

The problem with gardening is that you have to do it in the garden. This is our third season trying to bring our “soil” up to snuff, and there are so many variables, and so many opinions on what to do about those variables, that I feel like I’m just guessing. You amend to the […]


It was Bernd Heinrich who introduced me to corvids. Bernd Heinrich is the kind of guy who makes you feel crappy about yourself because anything you can do, he can do better. He’s a biologist who has made serious contributions to our understanding of birds and insects, but that’s not the half of it. He’s […]