How to Process Carob

...tree. After. Photo by Bill Wheelock. In the Middle East carob has a reputation as a famine food. According to the carob article in Wikipedia the people of Malta ate carob pods and prickly pear fruit during WWII. How appropriate then that my neighbor Bill Wheelock, who just dehydrated a huge batch of my prickly pear fruit (and faced the thorny consequences), took on the onerous task of figuring out how to dry carob pods and process then...

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The Strange World of Artificial Plants

Ikea’s Fejka. On a recent pilgrimage to Ikea, I ended up staring at a large display of fake plants while Mrs. Root Simple found a replacement for our kitten-shredded drapes. Viewed from a distance Ikea’s plastic plants were realistic, though seemingly outside of any known plant genus. I found myself pondering the question of what permacultural context in which these plastic plants would be an appropriate design solution. I couldnR...

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The Cat Poop Portal: Litter Box Composting, Installment #1

...ne and paper, respectively. Compostable litter is made up of a true carbon source–that means plant-based material: corn, wheat, paper and sawdust are all okay. Clay litter, or anything with chemicals in it, would not be appropriate for this. Clay is not toxic, it’s just that it wouldn’t ever break down into proper compost. I don’t know what the clumping kind is made of, so I avoid it–but if your clumping kind is made...

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The Vertical Gardens of Los Angeles

...yesterday. The plant you see above is growing through a drainage hole (the level of the ground behind the wall is where you see the plant growing). Makes me wonder if this particular design could be done on purpose, given the appropriate context. The plants, in this hypothetical drainage hole garden, could act as biofilters, absorbing excess nutrients and toxins. Slap a trademark on it, form a non-profit and Bob’s your uncle. Extra points...

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Allium ursinum

...tion to a number of dishes (see a detailed report on Allium ursinum in the Plants for a Future website). Favoring semi-shade, Allium ursinum thrives in moist, acidic soil–forest conditions, in other words. In short, not appropriate for our climate in Los Angeles, but folks in the northwest might consider planting some. Like all members of the Allium species it’s toxic to dogs, but we’ve never had a problem with our dog eating o...

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All Politics Are Local

I thought it appropriate on election day to repeat one of my favorite equations for happiness–a stoic flowchart that comes via Mark Fraenfelder of BoingBoing.  At the end of the day, about half of America will be happy, and half will be dismayed. All we can do is remember that beyond voting, we cannot control the outcome of the election. So a stoic would advise us to not to rail against what we cannot change or affect, but to focus on wha...

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Washing Machine Greywater Resources

...rt Homegrown Evolution. Ludwig’s open source Laundry to Landscape system. 1″ polyethylene tubing–an alternative to PVC pipe. Oasis Biocompatible detergent, the only laundry detergent we can find that’s appropriate for greywater use. It works great and, again, click through the link and we get a little support. A selection of three way diverter valves. Note the 1″ brass model for laundry systems. Use these diverters...

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What’s Your Personal Food Policy?

...ference. We all have to eat and we vote with our supermarket dollars. Just as our Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack helps craft our nation’s schizophrenic food policies, I thought the Thanksgiving holiday would be an appropriate moment to define my own personal food policy. But as I started to write down my personal food policy I discovered so many contradictions and exceptions that I just stopped. My own personal food policy, when consi...

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June: National Bathroom Reading Month

...bike gears are too complicated for Americans to figure out, or folks want to do what they do while driving: talk on cell phones. But why do Sid and Nancy have gears at all? Wouldn’t brake-less fixed gear bikes be more appropriate given the punk rock (not to mention murder/suicide) reference? Arthur Magazine. Homegrown Evolution, being cheap, can never pass up a free publication when we see one though we usually skip stooping to pick up t...

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More on our gardening disasters

...egetables I ever planted in our garden was cabbage. I don’t know why I planted cabbage. Now I’d recommend that newbie gardeners in this climate plant start with something a little less risky, a little more climate appropriate, a little less time invested. Like arugula! But back then, I was blissfully ignorant and wanted to plant cabbages in our first proper vegetable bed because storybook gardens always grew cabbages. I’m glad I...

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