Tuesday, January 21, 2014

10 Houseplants That Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

10 Houseplants That Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

January 10th, was “Houseplant Appreciation Day”. In honor of this little-known holiday, we wanted to take a closer look at the top ten houseplants that have the ability to naturally improve the air quality in your home.
All of these indoor houseplants were analyzed by NASA in 1989. They found that each had a unique way to naturally cleanse the air of toxins that have a negative effect to your health. To read the full report from NASA, please visit this link. In case you didn’t want to read through NASA’s paper, we’ve summarized the top ten houseplants that act as natural air purifiers.
If you don’t have an air purifier in your home, or just want to take extra precautions, we would recommend adding a few of these houseplants to the most important areas of your home. It’s a great first step to improving the air quality inside your home.

1. Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily)

Spathiphyllum - Peace Lily
Often referred to as a Peace Lily, this beautiful evergreen plant is widely regarded to be easy to care for, even for those that don’t have a green thumb. They require very little light or water to remain healthy, which is one of the main reasons why they’re one of the most popular plants to keep in your home. In fact, Spathiphyllum should never be put in direct sun light, as the rays of sun may lead to leaf burn. While they are great to have inside your home, they also work remarkably well as a groundcover around your home, especially in areas where grass is hard to grow because of the shade.
NASA’s analysis of indoor houseplants revealed that the Peace Lily was the most efficient at removing airborne Volatile Organic Compounds, including formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and benzene. Simply put it in a dark corner, give it water once a week and this little plant will help purify the air around that general area.

The major downside of Spathiphyllum, however, is that it is mildly toxic to both humans and pets. If you ingest any part of this plant, you may start to feel nauseous, experience difficulty when swallowing, or feel a burning sensation in your mouth or skin. If you start to feel any of these symptoms as a result of ingesting Spathiphyllum then it would be wise to seek medical help immediately.

2. Chrysanthemum morifolium (Florist’s Chrysanthemum)

Chrysanthemum Morifolium
Sometimes called Florist’s daisy or Hardy Garden Mum, this houseplant is another popular perennial plant that people like to have in their home. Unlike the Peace Lily, this houseplant loves direct sunlight and a medium amount of water.
With the proper care and right type of soil, theChrysanthemum morifolium will start to produce lots of beautiful blooms of various colors. These blooms not only help brighten the room, they also help cleanse the air of many chemicals that are common in homes. These include formaldehyde, xylene, ammonia, benzene, toluene, and trichloroethylene.
Words of caution on this houseplant. While they are beautiful to have around, they are also poisonous to animals. If your dog or cat has ingested any part of this plant, they will likely experience diarrhea, dermatitis, vomiting and a lack of coordination. If your pet has consumed this plant, please call your veterinarian as soon as possible.

3. Epipremnum aureum (Devil’s Ivy)

Epipremnum aureum
Often called Devil’s Ivy or Golden Pothos, this popular houseplant is native to the Soloman Islands, but is can be found growing all over the world. With evergreen vines and small green heart-shaped leaves marbled with yellowish-white hues, this houseplant is commonly sold in decorative hanging baskets. It is best to keep Epipremnum aureum near a window, without direct sunlight shining down on it. The soil should be peaty with lots of moisture.
It’s one of the most popular houseplants not only because it looks good in your home, but also because it’s extremely easy to care for. The most important benefit of Epipremnum aureumis that it is quite efficient at cleansing the air of pollutants, such as benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene and formaldehyde.
However, this is another plant that can be toxic when ingested, especially for your pets. If you think your dog or cat has ingested part of this plant, they will likely experience vomiting, irritation and difficulty swallowing. Seek the advice of your veterinarian if you believe your pet has consumed this plant.

4. Dracaena reflexa (Red-Edged Dracaena)

Dracaena reflexa
Often called Red-Edged Dracaena or Pleomele, Dracaena reflexa is an upright evergreen shrub that produces narrow green, yellow or cream-colored leaves. Once the plant starts to mature, you may notice small white flowers start to bloom, shortly followed by small red-orange berries.
This low-maintenance plant is extremely popular in America not just because it looks cool, but also because it takes little work to keep it alive. All you need to do to keep this plant alive, is keep it in an area with indirect sunlight and keep the soil slightly moist.
According to the NASA Clean Air Study, Dracaena reflexa is one of the most efficient plants at removing formaldehyde from the air in your home, as well as other VOCs, including benzene, trichloroethylene, and xylene. However, keep your pets away from this plant, as it can be toxic to animals when ingested.

5. Sansevieria trifasciata (Snake Plant)

Sansevieria trifasciata
Often referred to as Snake Plant or Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, this evergreen perennial plant is another houseplant that is known to improve your indoor air quality. According to NASA, it is one of the best houseplants for absorbing airborne toxins, including formaldehyde, nitrogen oxide, benzene, xylene and trichloroethylene.
Even though it is native to Western Africa, Sansevieria trifasciatahas risen in popularity over the last few decades and is now widely grown all over the world. It’s a great plant to have indoors, as it can endure low amounts of light at long durations. However, it prefers to have plenty of bright light. Just make sure you don’t overwater this plant, as it is likely to rot if the soil is too moist for too long.
If you have no houseplants around your home, then Sansevieria trifasciata is one of the best for you to start off with. They grow well both inside and out, and they require very little maintenance. Just be careful if you have pets, as this plant may be toxic when it is ingested.

6. Rhapis excelsa (Lady Palm)

Rhapis excelsa
Most commonly called the Lady Palm or Broadleaf Lady Palm, Rhapis excelsa is another houseplant that would be beneficial to have around your home.
With a maximum height of approximately six feet, Rhapis excelsa is the perfect fan palm to have in a dark corner of your home. They are able to tolerate low-levels of light, high amounts of water and a wide range of temperatures. While this houseplant does prefer to live in moist soil, it does need to have the proper drainage available to avoid root rot.
Native to Asia, this evergreen perennial small palm can thrive in both indoor and outdoor environments. The best part, is that the NASA Clean Air Study discovered Rhapis excelsa to be one of the best houseplants at cleansing the air of formaldehyde, ammonia, xylene and toluene.

7. Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Lily)

Anthurium andraeanum
Most commonly called a Flamingo Lily or Laceleaf, Anthurium andraeanum is a beautiful evergreen plant that is most known for its gorgeous flowers. According to the NASA Clean Air Study, the Flamingo Lily was incredibly effective at removing airborne formaldehyde, ammonia, toluene and xylene in your home or office.
Unfortunately, Anthurium andraeanum isn’t the easiest plant to grow indoors. It is definitely not for those that don’t have a green thumb. If you decide to grow this houseplant, be sure you give it plenty of indirect light. The blooms love to soak in the rays, and you’ll be rewarded for weeks with their beauty. The hard part about this houseplant, is that it prefers high-humidity environments. If relative humidity falls below 50%, your plant may start to die. Having ahumidifier in your home is the easiest way to avoid this. You also want to make sure the soil stays moist at all times.
Please note, Anthurium andraeanum is poisonous to both humans and animals. Caution must be taken with small children and pets. If they ingest any part of this plant, they will immediately start to have difficulty swallowing, horseness and blistering in their mouth and throat. If you experience any of these symptoms, please seek medical help immediately.

8. Hedera helix (English Ivy)

Hedera helix - English Ivy
Often called English Ivy or European Ivy, Hedera helix is another popular houseplant that helps filter airborne toxins inside your home. According to NASA’s Clean Air Study, English Ivy is effective at cleansing benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and toluene from the air. Additionally, other studies have indicated that English Ivy also helps reduce mold in your home.
This evergreen climbing vine is extremely popular in outdoor landscaping. You may have seen it used as ground-cover in areas where grass doesn’t grow, or perhaps climbing up the side of a wall or tree trunk. Because of its “carefree” nature, it has grown in popularity over the years. However due to it spreading aggressively, horticulturists say you should be hesitant in using it outside and should only keep it as an indoor plant. This prevents it from invading other plants around your home, and has the added benefit of purifying the air in your home.
Caring for Hedera helix is relatively easy. Keep it at a constant temperature, give it plenty of direct sunlight and water generously with well-drained soil. If you can do these three things, English Ivy will return the love with cleaner air in your home.

9. Gerbera jamesonii (Barberton Daisy)

Gerbera jamesonii - Barberton Daisy
Most commonly known as a Barberton Daisy,Gerbera jamesonii is a beautiful flowering plant that is native to Eastern Africa. While it is intended and mainly used for outdoor use, it is becoming more popular to put them in containers for indoor use. This may be a wise decision for your indoor air quality, as NASA’s Clean Air Study found that Gerbera jamesonii is effective at cleansing the air of formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene.
Barberton daisy’s prefer full sun, plenty of water and well-drained soil. If you try to use this as an indoor houseplant, make sure you have it in an area that has plenty of natural light. It also thrives in moist soil. Be sure to keep the soil moist as often as possible, without over-watering it. Gerbera jamesonii is able to withstand a wide range of temperatures, so you don’t need to be concerned with keep your home at a specific temp.

10. Ficus benjamina (Weeping Fig)

Ficus benjamina - Weeping Fig
Most commonly known as a Weeping Fig or Ficus tree, Ficus benjamina is popular houseplant that is also very effective at purifying the air in your home. According to NASA’s Clean Air Study, Ficus benjamina was effective at cleansing airborne formaldehyde, xylene and toluene.
This low-maintenance, evergreen plant grows well both inside and out. If you use it as a houseplant, place it in an area that has plenty of bright indirect natural light. If you place it directly in the sun, it’s possible that the leaves will burn. Water it frequently, but to avoid root rot allow the soil to dry before adding more water. Ficus benjamina grows the best in higher temperatures, much like you would have in your home, as well as relative humidity levels above 50%.
Please note: this plant is poisonous to animals. If you have pets, especially dogs and cats, you may want to take extra precautions to make sure they do not ingest any part of this plant. If they do ingest Ficus benjamina, they will likely experience the following symptoms: vomiting, salivation, and oral irritation. Seek help from your veterinarian immediately.

How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

10 Houseplants that Improve Indoor Air Quality
Every single one of the houseplants listed above are great tools to improving your indoor air quality. For the most part, they’re easy to care for, nice to have around and will help you breathe easier at night. However, they’re just tools to help you stay healthy. In the long run, there are many other things you can do to improve the air quality in your home.
The most effective way to improve your indoor air quality is to have an air purifier nearby. These systems will capture and remove a wider range of airborne pollutants, including many toxins that houseplants can’t do anything about. Pollen, dust, pet dander, smoke and a long list of airborne chemicals are common pollutants that can be found in nearly every household. Unfortunately, none of the houseplants on this list can do anything to remove those airborne toxins.
The best method to improve you indoor air quality is to have some of these houseplants around, try to eliminate the source of the pollutants and have an air purifier working to cleanse the air at all times.

For orchid lovers….

Sunday, January 19, 2014

How to Start Your Own Square Foot Garden

How to Start Your Own Square Foot Garden

Written by Jonathan Dick
Starting your own garden is a great way to be prepared for any situation. You can start with less than $50. Square food gardening is the perfect introduction to growing a successful vegetable garden. In a square-foot garden, plants thrive in raised boxes that are sectioned and filled with nutrient-rich soils.
Follow these instructions this summer and you can start enjoying organic vegetables from your own backyard!
Gardening Infographic

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Nine Largest Fish Ever Caught

Every sport fisherman dreams of catching “the big one,” a world-record lunker that will get his or her name forever etched in the annals of fishing history. Of course, most of us understand we’ll never realize this dream, and would instead be perfectly content to set a new personal best every couple of years. But there are people who have lived the dream—people who have landed monster fish certified by the International Game Fish Association as world records. So, to inspire anglers everywhere and keep dreams alive, here are 9 of the largest fish ever caught (by species).
9. Blue Catfish
This world record blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) was landed by 47-year-old Missouri resident Greg Bernal at 1:30 A.M. on July 21, 2010. He caught the beast with rod and reel in the Missouri River. At 57 inches long, 45 inches in girth, and a whopping 130 pounds, the fish beats five-year-old previous world record—also caught in Missouri—by a solid 6 pounds.
8. Giant Trevally
Keiki Hamasaki of Kagoshima, Japan caught this 160 lb. 7 oz. giant grevally (Caranx ignoblis) not far from his hometown on May 22, 2006. Casting a lure from the shore on a 130-pound test line, it took him 35 minutes to hall the fish in. It beat the previous record, set by Russel Mori, by 25 pounds.
7. Giant Tigerfish
The giant tigerfish (Hydrocynus goliath), found in rivers throughout central Africa, is famous (and almost certainly named) for its giant teeth. These teeth can take a chunk out of just about anything, including human limbs, so fishing for these things can be quite hazardous to one’s health. The world record giant tigerfish, caught on rod and real and pictured here, was landed on July 9, 1988 by Raymond Houtmans. It weighed a whopping 97 pounds.
6. Alligator Gar
The absolutely terrifying Alligator Gar (Atractosteus spatula) is typically found in the Southeastern portion of the United States, but they have been seen as far north as Illinois and as far south as Veracruz, Mexico. Historically despised because they feed on prized game fish like largemouth bass—and because they are scary as hell—recently there has been a surge in “Gar hunting.” The one pictured here, for example, may be the world record for Alligator Gar killed by bow and arrow. It was shot in Texas by John Paul Morris, the son of Bass Pro Shops CEO Johnny Morris. The beast measured 8’3” and weighed 230 pounds!
5. Largemouth Bass
In North America, the largemouth bass (Micropterus salmonides) record is considered the “holy grail” of freshwater fishing records. This is primarily due to two factors. First, largemouth bass are among the most sought-after game fish, and bass fishing is a billion dollar industry. Second, the world record for largemouth bass is one of the oldest and most revered in the world, having stood for an incredible 77 years. And while this hallowed record has not yet fallen, it has beentied. Manabu Kurita of Aichi, Japan caught a 22 lb. 4 oz. bass on July 2, 2009 in Lake Biwa near Kyoto, tying the record set by George Perry of Jacksonville, Georgia on June 2, 1932. There was much debate and quite a bit of controversy surrounding this record-setting catch, given the sanctity of the record involved, but the International Game Fish Association went to great lengths to verify the record—even subjecting Mr. Kurita to a polygraph test, which he passed. So, the record is officially tied.
4. Mekong Giant “Grizzly Bear” Catfish
On May 1, 2005 Fishermen in northern Thailand netted what scientists believe is the largest freshwater fish ever recorded, let alone caught. At 9 feet long and 646 pounds, the Mekong giant catfish (Pangasianodon gigas) was the size of an adult grizzly bear. Since this species of fish is considered critically endangered, the fishermen tried their best to keep the brute alive, but were unsuccessful. It was later eaten by local villagers.
3. Swordfish
The swordfish (Xiphias gladius) world record was set all the way back on May 7, 1953 off the coast of Iquique, Chile, by Lou Marron. The fish Marron landed after a grueling 2-hour fight was 179.25 inches long and weighed 1,182 pounds. It was one of the heaviest fish ever caught on rod and reel. Today, the restored mount of the fish is on display at the International Game Fish Association Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum in Miami, FL.
2. Atlantic Blue Marlin
The record for Atlantic Blue Marlin (Makaira nigricans) has the distinction of being set on a Leap Day. On Feburary 29, 1992, after an 80 minute battle, Paulo Amorim landed a whopper off the coast of Vitória, Brazil that weighed in at 1,402 pounds. This beat the old record by an impressive 120 pounds.
1. Atlantic Bluefin Tuna
Ken Fraser caught the world’s biggest Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus) in Aulds Cove, Nova Scotia back on October 26, 1979. He landed the 1,496 pound fish in an impressive 45 minutes, and has been basking in the glory ever since. These days, Ken Fraser has a slick website which he uses to peddle the book he wrote about his catch, Possessed. (Perhaps the book would be more appropriately titled Obsessed?)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Surf & Inshore Fly Fishing Project

SIFF12: NORTHEAST from Peter Laurelli on Vimeo.

Video: How Sinkholes like Guatemala happen

Tansform Your Yard - Garden Menu

Planting Justice specializes in maximizing your yard's productive capacity. To that end, we are experienced with the design and installation of the following garden elements - each supporting multiple functions towards the greater health of your garden.

During a consultation, Planting Justice will help you assess what elements will be most functional for your space and needs.
Keller Plaza Raised Bed being planted
Raised beds ensure rich soil for productive plant communities.  Beds can be constructed directly on top of concrete, lawns or just about any surface and shaped to fit tight corners. Because your veggies will be grown in organic compost, the quality of the soil (or lack of it) beneath the beds will not harm your plants.  In an effort to conserve resources, we build custom raised beds from salvaged redwood.
By companion planting and using other organic gardening strategies you can minimize the need to supplement your soil with fertilizers. Beds may be installed with or without a supporting irrigation system, but will need regular watering. As you visit your veggies to harvest, you'll notice their daily growth and ensure they are not being eaten by anyone but you.

Pear Tree
Fruit trees are a crucial element in any urban garden. You might think you don't have space, but we think you do! We suggest planting dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties with low chill needs to make the most of your space.  In the Bay Area, we've had success growing: Apples, Pears, Plums, Apricots, Peaches, Pluots, Cherries, Figs, Avocado, Kiwi, Persimmon, Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Mulberries, Pomegranate, Pineapple Guava (Fajoa), Paw Paw, and more. The sky is the limit!
We plant fruit trees with appropriate companion perennials that will maximize your yield by fixing nitrogen and mining important minerals.  Consider diverting your shower or laundry water to irrigate your fruit orchard!  If you plant fruit trees on your property, future generations will be awfully grateful.  

Herb Spiral!
Grow your own culinary herbs!  An herb spiral is a space efficient, beautiful and productive method of growing culinary herbs.  This design works great in the backyard near the kitchen door, so you can walk outside, harvest what you need for a recipe and walk right back in.  The spiral's design conserves water and takes advantage of vertical space in your garden.  Herbs are low maintenance maintenance and extremely useful! This is one of our most common suggestions for backyard food gardeners.

Three Bin Compost System
Millions of pounds of reusable food scraps are transported each year to landfills around the world.  Installing a compost system is a great way to halt the massive inefficiencies of the waste industry and create incredibly rich, nutrious soil for your garden.  No longer will you stare disparginally at at a pile of veggetable scraps, when you know that in several months you will be able to harvest your own soil.  Adding compost to your garden is an excellent way to encourage growth without buyting expensive fertilizers.  You will be suprised how much "waste" you can transform into rich, beautiful soil!

Chicken coop - eggs in laying box
Hens are easy to care for and wildy productive. Healthy hens will each give you one egg a day for 3-4 years.  We build our chicken coops out of redwood so they'll last for many years and with extremely sturdy wire so your hens will be safe from critters at night.

Laundry-to-landscape Greywater System
Installing a greywater system from your laundry machine is the easiest and least expensive way to reuse your laundry water. Laundry machines are equipped with an internal pump that enables an easy install without gravity reliant plumbing design.  Laundry water is delivered into mulch basins below the soil surface where nearby fruit trees can easily access the water.  A three way ball-valve enables you to send laundry water to the sewer if you need to wash with bleach or another non-biodegradable soap.  Installing a laundry-to-landscape greywater system, will lower your utility bills and enable you to control where your waste water is directed!

Shiitake Mushroom Log!
Turn a shady unused portion of your yard into a mushroom farm!  Each year you can harvest pounds of Shiitake, Reishi, Oyster and many other delicious fungi.  Growing edible mushrooms is an extremely low maintenence, facinating, foray into a realm rich with symbiotic relationships and communal interactions.  Mycelial networks created by fungal growth can cover acres!  These networks funnel nutrients from plant to plant, enable interspecies communication and extend root networks.  Planting Justice installs many different speices of edible mushrooms by innoculating cut hardwood logs or installing garden patches.  With proper maintenence these patches and logs will produce for five years or longer!

Shower Greywater System
Rather than send your shower water down the drain into the sewer system, reuse it in your garden!  A shower greywater system enables you to choose whether your water will be sent to the sewer or to mulch basins around fruit trees in your garden.  This saves you irrigation costs and conserves valuable water.  When diverting water to your backyard, use biodegradable soaps.  An automated switch allows you to switch to the sewer instantly if you need to use more intensive hair or body products.  In California, water shortages are expected to increase, installing a greywater system is an excellent way to take back control of your water!

Bees on honeycomb
Keeping bees is a fascinating, rewarding exloration into a highly intelligent and organized insect world. Within a year, harvest pounds of delicious local honey! Your bees will work in tandem with other elements in the garden, polinating many flowering plants for you and your neighbors! A single bee hive can take up as litle as 5 sq ft in your garden, and can placed in a shady, low traffic area that may otheriwise be unproductive.
Humans have been collecting wild honey for roughly 15,000 years and first began domesticating bees in 2000 BC in Egypt.
Keeping bees is a legal pastime in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco! In urban areas, concerns about safety and allergies should be addressed with neighbors prior to installation. At the height of the honey season, expect to spend at least an hour a week managing your hive. Planting Justice will help you install either a Langstroth or top bar hive and, if desired, can provide longterm mentoring in the proper stewardship of a healthy hive.

Get your tomato started early!  Whether it's a small cold-frame or a large walk-in structure, a greenhouse is an incredibly useful element in the garden.  Creating a climate controlled shelter enables you to start seeds early in the rainy months, grow sub-tropical species and give your seedlings a head start in the spring. 

Worm bin cross section
Transform your food waste into black gold!  Worms are extremely useful for urban gardeners. A well bulit worm bin can be stored underneath a sink or in a kitchen pantry and produces no smell! Just dump your food waste into the bin and in a month or two you will have extremely nutricious worm castings.  Worm castings are typically more nutrient balanced than compost, making them a great choice for container gardening and soil ammendments.  In addition you can expect to harvest worm juice to make compost teas and have excess worms to feed to your chickens or give away to friends!  Compost piles can attract rats and other unwanted critters in an urban area, so install a worm farm to minimize you waste and maximize your soil productivity!

Potato Tower
Potato towers are an time and space saving way to grow your own delicious potatos.  Rather than digging in the ground looking for the elusive tubers, a raised tower enables you to harvest above ground when your potato plants start to die back.  Just relase the support system and the potatos will fall to the ground for easy collection.  Growing potatos vertically is also great solution for lead contaminated soil.  After using a potato tower, you probably won't want go back. 

Back Yard Aquaculture System
Have you ever dreamed of harvesting pounds of your own delicious fish... from your backyard?  These systems are quite remarkable.  The nutrients from fish excrement contains high concentrations of nitrogen which are pumped through gravel hydroponic beds.  Vegetables planted in these beds grow fast and strong, sucking up the constant supply of nitrogen and filtering the excrement water before it is returned to the fish tank.  Although relatively unexplored in North America, Australia has pioneered many home-scale aquaponics systems.  This is a water efficient method of raising fish and plants in the same small urban area! 

Ducks in the Garden!
Ducks make great garden companions!  Unlike chickens who notoriously scratch vegetable gardens to pieces, Ducks are much more delicate.  They meander through your tall kale and bean plants, hunting slugs and snails that would otherwise wreak havoc.  A well known permaculture saying:  "You don't too many slugs in your garden..., you have too few ducks."  Planting Justice will build a shelter for the ducks to protect them from raccoons.  In addition, to maintaining pest problems in the garden you will be able to harvest large, delicious duck eggs.  

Green Roof!
A green roof greatly reduces the heating and cooling costs of a structure.  Planting low-maintenance, drought tolerant sedums on structurally sound roofs creates an aesthetically pleasing living landscape.  Some roofs are strong and accessible enough to host vegetable gardens or bee hives.  Take full advantage of your usable space and put some living plants on your roof!

Cob oven work party at Martin Luther King middle school
Cob oven's are a wonderful gathering point in your garden.  Your friends will be begging you to host pizza parties.  Cob Oven's are a very attracive and  community.  In addtion to home baked bread, pizzas and fun neighborhood gatherings, cob ovens are an excellent way to use creatively use your own Bay Area clay.  We aim to design gardens that are both highly productive and highly enjoyable places.  Adding a cob oven is an excellent way to spend more time in your backyard!

White New Zealand Rabbit
If you are interested in raising, slaughtering and eating your own meat in an urban area, rabbits make a lot of sense. Rabbits are an important source of protein in many countries around the world. Their size makes them the ideal mammal to raise for meat in your backyard. They produce quickly and take little space. Planting Justice will build and install a predator proof rabbit hutch in your backyard. Rabbit pelts can be used to create fashionable rabbit fur caps!

Rain Water Barrels
Catch and store your own rainwater!  As California faces serious water shortages the importance of storing and reusing residential water supplies is ever growing.  Take a stand now to reduce your dependence on Municipal water supply.  Whether diverting roof water into large cisterns for storage, backyard ponds or into mulch basins around fruit trees, you will be impressed how much water you can harvest from your roof.  

Fire Pit
In our experience, this is one of the most effective and enjoyable ways to build community in your backyard.  Gathering around a firepit to play music, roast some marshmellow or simply enjoy the night, is an ancient human tradition.

Cob Building
Alameda County allows you to build an non-permitted 400 square-foot shed/studio in your backyard!  Rather than spending thousands of dollars in building supplies, let Planting Justice construct your building with natural materials harvested from local sources.  Whether it be cob, strawbale, waddle and dawb, bamboo, adobe, super adobe, rammed earth, there are so many different options to create a beautiful retreat space. 

Living Wall
Grow plants on a vertical wall!  Epiphytes, sedums and ferns turn a drab wall into a verdant landscape.  Growing plants on a wall can reduce your heating and cooling bills.  This is a beautiful way to repurpose a shed or an old cinder block retaining wall.  It's even possible to hook your living wall up to a drip irrigation system!