Grow the Soil

Above, proof of the adage that you grow the soil not the plants. On the left a vigorous eggplant growing in high-end potting soil in a self-watering container. On the right a spindly, nitrogen starved specimen of the same variety of eggplant, planted at the same time, in our parkway garden. The container eggplant on the left is larger, has greener leaves and is obviously more healthy. The stunted eggplant on the right is the victim of depleted s...

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Dookie in the Tomatoes

Our first tomatoes of the season are just beginning to ripen, coinciding nicely with the multi-state cow poo in the roma scare. Allow me to speculate wildly about the cause of the current epidemic, tracing the cause step by step from the beginning: 1. We begin not with the tomato farm, but instead with manure from that wonder of industrialized agriculture, the concentrated feed lot, where thousands of cattle stew in their own filth. Immunosuppr...

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Rainwater Harvesting with Joe Linton

With the driest spring on record here in Los Angeles, water and where to get it ought to be on all of our minds in this drought prone metropolis. Thankfully, artist, author, Los Angeles River expert and co-founder of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition Joe Linton will be teaching a workshop on rainwater harvesting at the Los Angeles Eco-Village on Saturday, June 14, 2008 from 9 am to 3 pm at L.A. Eco-Village (Directions) Here’s a desc...

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Kitchen Alchemy

...8217;t wait to try her buckwheat recipes recently featured in the Los Angeles Times. She has written a number of books, specializing in cooking with organic ingredients. We also got a visit from farmer and agriculturalist Shannon Hayes of New York’s Sap Bush Hollow Farm. She’s the author of two books on how to cook grass fed meat. Hayes is currently working on a book on what she calls “enlightened homemakers”, touching on...

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Top Ten Vegetable Gardening Mistakes

Not ready for Martha Stewart: our front yard vegetable bed.* Some of the worst meltdowns and temper tantrums of my adult life have their origins in failed vegetable gardening projects. I thought I’d list off my top ten vegetable gardening misadventures  so that you don’t have to repeat them. 1. Not paying attention to soil fertility This is my number one mistake. Most vegetables suck up a lot of nutrients. They ne...

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What the Internet Will Look Like After the Zombie Apocalypse

Enterprising amateur radio operators in Texas, over the past several years, have created a wireless high speed data network, called HSMM-MESH or Broadband-Hamnet, completely independent of the internet. The map above is the network built by HAMs in Austin, Texas. Basically it’s a bunch of hacked Linksys routers connecting wirelessly over a wide area. Plug a laptop into any of the routers and you can trade messages, file...

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Analysis Paralysis

If you’re reading this blog, there’s no doubt that you’ve suffered from analysis paralysis. You’ve got to build that chicken coop, but you’re spending hours pouring over books, Pinterest boards and how-to websites. Add endless debates with your spouse and you’ve got a recipe for inaction. “Sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought” is the way Shakespeare describes this c...

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Food Preservation Disasters

...ood idea to use trusted sources for home preservation projects. Some of the recipes I tried were from unfamiliar books and dubious websites. Some sources I’ve come to trust: The National Center for Home Food Preservation’s website. Kevin West’s book Saving the Season: A Cook’s Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving . Between those two sources I’ve got just about all the recipes I need....

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Loquat season is here!

photo courtesy of wikimedia Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) season is upon us here in our neighborhood of HaFoSaFo (that is, one special corner of Los Angeles). This post will not have much relevance to those of you who do not live in a subtropical or mild climate, but for those of you who do, I highly encourage you to get to know the humble yet mysterious loquat. Loquat trees abound in our neighborhood, and I don’t know if...

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