How to Deal with Extremely Root Bound Plants

...I’ve found that root bound plants are often dehydrated plants, because the pots are mostly full of roots, making the soil hard and water repellant. If this is so, it helps to give the plants a good soaking before you un-pot them by placing them in a bucket of water for a few minutes. Method A) Mildly root bound plants can be helped along by gently massaging the root ball with your hands just before planting to loosen the roots and open the...

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My Brand New Homebrew Soda Carbonator

...Erik won the good husband award this Valentine’s Day. He surprised me with my very own soda making machine. This is not a SodaStream–it’s better. It’s an industrial strength CO2 tank topped with sturdy dials and valves and whatnot, all sourced from the local homebrew shop. He’s going to do a how-to post soon (tomorrow maybe?) on how to put together the parts, and how to use it. So hold on for those det...

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Dave Miller on Baking with 100% Whole Wheat

...urned to no-knead bread, dominated by Chad Robertson’s first cookbook. Results were better but I was still making white bread. My new bread baking adventure began this weekend when I took a workshop taught by Chico, California baker Dave Miller. His breads are almost all 100% whole wheat. He mills his own flour from carefully sourced heritage grains. Using a levain (a starter), he creates loaves that foreground the flavor of the grain. In s...

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How to Keep Skunks Out of the Yard

...ke up residence in crawl spaces and under decks. (Design tip: avoid creating skunk habitat in the first place by making sure these types of spaces are not accessible.)  I suspect that there may be a skunk or two living under our back shed. This shed is as old as the house (almost 100 years) and can’t be skunk proofed on all sides due to its setting. I’m going to have to drive it out. The most common method I’ve found of evicting...

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Online Adobe Classes With Kurt Gardella

Kurt Gardella, who built our adobe oven, will be teaching a few online classes. More information after the jump. Dear adobe friends, I wanted to remind you that I am teaching 2 Adobe in Action online classes beginning next Monday, March 17th. The History & Basics class will give you all of the skills you need to find and test soils for use in adobe construction and also take you through the process of making your own adob...

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The Theme of a Great Garden

...rough stonework and the use of California native plants. The garden feels as if exists in a time before humans. It got me wondering how thematics would play out in a more modest home landscape. Perhaps, when it comes time to design a garden it would be useful to toss around a few abstract words and ideas to help unify the design vocabulary of the garden. Picking a theme or several related themes could make it easier when it comes to making plant...

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003 Cooking From Scratch, Tortillas, Fencing and Listenter Questions

This week on the Root Simple Podcast Kelly and Erik discuss cooking from scratch, making tortillas, bathroom cats, fencing and answer a reader question about chickens in small spaces. If you want to leave a question you can call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected] The theme music is by Dr. Frankenstein. Additional music by Rho. A downloadable version of this podcast is here. You can subscribe to our podc...

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An Easy and Healthy 100% Whole Rye Bread Recipe

I’m a huge fan of making your own rye bread. Why? The rye bread you get at the market ain’t rye bread. It might have a bit of rye in it but it’s also got a lot of other stuff: often white flour, caramel coloring, dough conditioners and preservatives. This recipe that I often teach as a class, has a lot going for it: It’s 100% whole rye. Whole grains, as most of you know, are much better for you than w...

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Virtuosic Bread Shaping

This video proves that to learn a skill one must repeat it 10,000 times. That was the advice of a chef friend when I asked her how she learned to shape pizzas. The bread being shaped here is called Markook, In Arabic, مرقوق، شراك. It’s a flatbread found throughout the Middle East (an Armenian friend who grew up in Lebanon told us about it). A casual Youtube search will reveal many different Markook shaping techniques. Here’s a pi...

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Get Baking and Share the Loaves

...he refrigerator. This deepens flavor, allows flexibility in your baking schedule and can help a hearth loaf hold its shape in the oven. Are you beginner? Make your bread in a loaf pan. It’s a lot more forgiving than trying to shape a boule. Use a tip sensitive thermometer to determine if your rye bread is done. Baker didn’t discuss the exact temp, but I shoot for 210°F. For wheat loaves let color be your guide–you want just shor...

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