Greywater Workshop at Good Magazine

We’ll be doing a greywater workshop at Good Magazine this Wednesday May 27th from 7 to 9 p.m. Directions and RSVP info are here.

We’re going to focus on what I consider to be the easiest way to reuse your greywater: hacking your washing machine. We’ll take a look at a couple of approaches including our surge tank, pictured above, which we just got around to elevating with scrap lumber to get a gravity assist. We’ll also look at Art Ludwig’s direct “laundry to landscape” system.

Topics will also include:

  • Greywater compatible detergents
  • Choosing the best plants for greywater
  • Creating mulch basins
  • Greywater dos and don’ts
  • Plumbing parts
  • Water conservation and efficiency
  • Greywater cocktails (just kidding)

Hope to see you all tomorrow!

On the Southwest Chief to Chicago


I’m heading to Chicago aboard Amtrak’s Southwest Chief this evening for a series of workshops. Hope to see some of you in Chicago.

When I get back to Los Angeles, Mrs. Homegrown and I will be leading a greywater workshop at Good Magazine on the 27th of May. Details to follow.

In Altadena on May 30th I’ll be doing a talk, “Living Simply, Living Abundantly” at the Altadena Community Center 730 East Altadena Drive from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

And, god help us, we’re twittering (so much for living simply). Follow our twitter feed along the right side of the blog–just above the ad for our favorite greywater detergent. And folks, please buy some detergent so that we can get a sleeper car next time!

Introducing Lora Hall

Please put your hands together and welcome Homegrown Evolution guest blogger Lora Hall. Lora is a neighbor, owns Los Angeles’ largest hen, Southern California’s largest rhubarb plant and is currently finishing a graduate degree at Cal Poly Pomona. Her master’s work involves the use of vermicomposting to break down a variety of materials (maybe we can get her to explain this!).

You can meet Lora in person and pick up some seedlings and fruit trees at the Highland Park farmer’s market (map) where she runs a booth with Trisha Mazure every Tuesday from 3 to 8 pm. When we visited her at the market last week Lora had a bunch of interesting plants including purslane, tomatoes, tomatillos as well as a selection of fruit trees appropriate for our warm climate.

In the LA area and want some fruit trees for your backyard? Some gardening advice? Contact Lora at [email protected]. Lora will be posting as Homegrown Neighbor.

Homegrown Evolution in Chicago

Chicago’s Green Roof Grower Heidi Hough

Homegrown Evolution is heading to Chicago for two events:

MAY 20
How to Make a Sub-Irrigated Planter (SIP) Heidi Hough, Bruce Fields & Erik Knutzen
6-8pm $50
Wicker Park close to Blue Line
Register with: [email protected]

Join Chicago’s Green Roof Growers and LA’s Homegrown Evolution for a fun class on how to make a sub-irrigated planter (SIP) out of two buckets. As a bonus, meet Homegrown Evolution blogger and author Erik Knutzen, who will be co-teaching the class and signing copies of his book The Urban Homestead.

Bring some gloves and learn how to make and plant your own SIP. Leave with everything you need for a summer of fresh heirloom tomatoes–all you add is about 6 hours of good sun per day in your yard, balcony, or roof and enough water to keep the reservoir full. No weeding, no mulching, no worries.

You’ll go home with:
–Plant-ready two-bucket sub-irrigated planter (SIP).
–Enough potting mix, organic fertilizer, and powdered lime to plant your tomato.
–An organic heirloom tomato plant, from the Green Roof Growers seed-starting group
–Comprehensive understanding of how SIPs work and how to plant yours once you get home.

MAY 21
HOMESTEADING 101 with Erik Knutzen
7-9pm $7-10 (sliding scale)
Experimental Station 6100 South Blackstone, Chicago
Register with: [email protected]

Erik will lead an informal presentation on Urban Homesteading in Los Angeles – focusing on his and his wife’s homegrown systems of adventurous experimentation of chickens, growing, greywater, brewing and more – some successful, some not so much!

Copies of The Urban Homestead will be for sale.

Many thanks to Nancy Klehm for arranging these events! See her website Spontaneous Vegetation for more info on other events and workshops.

Austin’s Rhizome Collective Evicted

Buy our book The Urban Homestead on Amazon and you’ll get a message that you may also enjoy the Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A do-it-Ourselves Guide by Scott Kellogg and Stacy Pettigrew. I own a copy of this wonderful book and I strongly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the topics on this blog or in our book. Kellogg and Pettigrew are co-founders of the Rhizome Collective, an innovative intentional community in Austin, Texas. Sadly, it seems the Rhizome Collective has been evicted from their land due to code enforcement issues.

On Tuesday, March 17, 2009, the Rhizome Collective, including both the individuals and organizations that have called 300 Allen St. home, was barred from the building due to the City of Austin Code Enforcement declaring the building unsafe. This is a tragic loss and has been traumatic for the people who have invested so much in the space, from long nights of hard work repairing bikes and mailing off books to days of tending the garden to evenings of laughter in the kitchen.

The Rhizome collective is asking for donations on their website, www.rhizomecollective.org. I would also suggest buying a copy of their book directly from them. We hope that the Rhizome Collective can find a new home as their work is vital in our uncertain times.

Urban Homestead Wins Book Award

Our book, The Urban Homestead just won a gold medal in the Independent Publisher Awards. To celebrate we’ll throw in a back issue of Ripples magazine for the first twenty folks who buy a copy of our book off of this website. Ripples is, “A Revolutionary Journal of Seasonal Delight” published by the nice folks at www.dailyacts.org.

Now that’s enough tooting our own horn. We’ll get back to posting when the dust settles after Earth Day and talk about the hops vines that have just sprouted . . .

Homegrown Evolution on WAMC

Kelly and I will be on WAMC, Northeast Public Radio’s Roundtable show on Earth Day, April 22nd at 9:15 am EST. You can listen in online here.

Earth Day will be a busy one for us as Erik will also be on a panel for the National Conversation on Climate Action at 2 pm PST at MTA headquarters. More info here.

We’ll close the day with a book signing at an innovative new neighborhood market called Locali. We’ll be there at 7 pm PST and hope to see some locals.

Visit the Eco-Home

Julia Russell is Los Angeles’ original urban homesteader. If you haven’t visited her beautiful “Eco-Home”, now is the time. She’s a pioneer in edible landscaping, solar power, and many other things we all now take for granted. Best of all, you can take a tour:

“Since the 1970’s, April has been home to Earth Day. The theme for this year’s Earth Day is “the Green Generation,” and what better way to strengthen your role as part of this movement than by learning how to make your own life more earth-friendly and sustainable by joining us for an Eco-Home tour this April.

Visit Eco-Home for one of this April’s Eco-Home Tours on Sunday, April 12 and Sunday, April 26 from 2 P.M. to 4:30 P.M. In addition to learning how to begin or expand your personal urban garden, the tour will also display new technologies that will help turn any house into a green environment.

The Tour is conducted by Eco-Home Network, a non-profit dedicated to educating the public on how to make lifestyle choices that protect the environment and improve quality of life. The Eco-Home is located in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. Call 323-662-5207 for reservation and directions. Requested donation for the tour is $10 per person. Please make your reservations by the Friday before the tour.”

For more information, visit the website at ecohome.org.”

Homegrown San Francisco Events


Homegrown Evolution will be in San Francisco this week to speak at the Studio for Urban Projects. The talk will be on Sunday, April 5 at 2:00 pm. We’ll rap about what we’ve been up to and do a brief demo about self irrigating planters, the ideal way to grow food when you don’t have any dirt to call your own. The Studio for Urban Projects is located at 3579 17th St., San Francisco (between Dolores & Guerrero).

Also, in San Francisco this coming weekend make sure to catch the folks at How To Homestead on Saturday, April 4 at the Other Cinema at 8:30 PM for some brand new homesteading movies, homebrew tastings, and the “butt-shaking musical antics of the Goat Family.” The Other Cinema is located at ATA Gallery, 992 Valencia (@ 21st).