SIP Improvement

Watermelon SIPs on the Chicago rooftop of the Green Roof Growers We’ve featured self-irrigating pots (SIPs) in our first book and have done a lot of experiments with them over the years. One of the problems with growing tomatoes in SIPs is that the roots can get into the water chamber and cause problems and diseases. I found a nice workaround to this problem via an anonymous tip on a BoingBoing tomato post: With tomatoes, you need...

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No-Knead Artisinal Bread Part I

You can make a decent loaf of bread with one of the many popular no-knead recipes on the interwebs. With just a little bit more effort you can make a much better loaf of bread with a “levain” (or “sourdough starter” in less yuppiefied parlance). For about ten years, I used to bake the loaf I blogged about here and put in our first book The Urban Homestead. Lately, however, I’ve completely changed the way I bake th...

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How Not To Bake Bread

Homegrown Neighbor here: So Mr. and Mrs. Homegrown are away on book tour while I’m holding down the fort in L.A. and looking after their chickens. I figured that while they are away and not blogging much, I can step in and entertain you with tales of my epic baking failures. Sure, lots of blogs have pretty pictures of food and neatly typed recipes, but everyone likes a good tale of failure now and then. Now, my neighbor Erik, aka Mr. Home...

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Dry Farming

...forest under almost complete shade). As an avid gardener in a dry climate I certainly use a lot of water for my vegetables. Most modern vegetables are adapted to copious watering. But this was not always the case. A classic book Dry Farming by John Andreas Widtsoe, first published in 1911 and available as a free download in Google Books, describes how many farmers got along without the modern conveniences of supplemental irrigation. A...

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Stinging Nettles and Cat Allergies

...s are supposed to be good for allergies. Andrew Weil recommends taking capsules of freeze dried nettle extract instead of antihistamines for seasonal allergies (See his Natural Health, Natural Medicine . Here’s a Google Books link.) Do nettles really work for allergies? I don’t know. It may be all in my head–but you know what? I’m all for the placebo effect. That’s not a negative term in my book at all. Self-healing...

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Deep Bedding for Chickens

We’ve got about 5-6″ of loose stuff on the floor of our chicken run. Underneath that, it’s black gold. Around this time of year, folks are getting chickens. Some for the first time. So I figured it was time to talk about deep bedding again. I know we’ve written about it before, in our book, or on this blog, but this advice bears repeating: Nature abhors bare ground.  Line your chicken coop and run with a thick l...

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You’ve probably never met a soup like this

...only made with, say, white salad mushrooms because they aren’t super-flavorful. Maybe it would work, though. Anything is worth a try. If you make it, let us know what you think. Recipe after jump: The recipe is from a book we’ve mentioned before, Vegetarian Dishes from the Middle East. Mirkov Soongabour Mushroom and Fruit Soup 4 cups water2 oz. mushrooms, washed and sliced2 tablespoons of butter 1 oz. sliced green onions (Erik used...

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Self-Watering Containers in Mother Earth News

We’re proud to announce that Mother Earth News online is excerpting the project, How to Build a Self-Watering Container from our book, The Urban Homestead . We heart Mother Earth News. If you haven’t visited their site, do so. You’ll find a treasure trove of homesteady-type information to peruse. (Here’s a hint about that article: there are illustrations, but they’re not embedded in the text. Look for the link to...

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Gathering in Portland: Looking for ideas

Hey all, We’re visiting in Portland on Tuesday, May 3rd and Wednesday, May 4th as part of our book tour. On the Tuesday we arrive, we’re going to be on KGW’s “Live at 7″ program. We’ll be done by 7:15 and have nothing to do afterward. Would anybody like to meet us downtown? Our idea is that we could settle ourselves at a pub or cafe, and anybody who feels like it could come and hang out with us. We’ll ta...

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