Pee on your Compost

...can burn them as anyone who owns a dog already knows about. Urine is easiest to apply to non-food crops, though it’s perfectly safe to use on fruit trees and bushes. Applying it to root crops is more controversial, and frankly seems like a practice best left to hippies, so if you try this at least cease application at a respectable interval before harvesting. There is even a book called Liquid Gold on the subject of pee as fertilizer and t...

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Build a Washing Machine Greywater Surge Tank

...fifty gallon drum. Temporarily draining your washing machine into a fifty gallon drum has two advantages. First, it allows hot water to cool and secondly it prevents siphoning mishaps and washing machine pump burnouts that can happen if you try to move the water directly to your garden through a pipe. Here’s how to create a surge tank: 1. Get ahold of a fifty gallon plastic drum. Most big cities, Los Angeles included, have businesses that r...

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More Washing Machine Greywater Fun

...above the level of the machine. 7. Rig up a bypass to somewhere the water can flow if you live in a place where it freezes. This is not a problem for us in sunny LA. 8. Since the water is under pressure it’s possible to rig up fancy distribution systems in the garden. For ideas on this see Ludwig’s book, Create an Oasis with Greywater. 9. Lastly, a note to our rentin’ homesteaders–this is a greywater strategy you may be...

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Getting Out

...he sentiment of wanting to get the hell out of this proto-fascist banana republic we live in and we endorse this book for those who don’t want to hunker down and do the homestead thing. SurviveLA even has a former colleague in Chanai India who got out of the US several years ago and now has an interesting job and his own ultra low-cost homestead. Despite the allure of more exotic places, Survive LA has decided to stay put and it’s ti...

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Free Introduction to Permaculture

...31 After the lecture author Shay Salomon and photographer Nigel Valdez will do a slide show and talk about their book Little House on a Small Planet. SurviveLA attended Khan’s introductory lecture last month and found it thought provoking and informative. Here is Khan’s description of this brief introductory talk: Using ecology as the basis for designing integrated systems of food, shelter, renewable energy and community. Permaculture...

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Deadly Nightshade vs. Black Nightshade

..., Solanum nigrum is eaten and used as animal fodder all over the world, though many sources continue to describe it as toxic. As with all members of the Solanum family there’s still a great deal of superstition when it comes to toxicity. Remember that many Europeans considered tomatoes to be poisonous well into the 18th century. Even today tomato leaves, used by my Filipino neighbors as a seasoning, are still labeled by many as poisonous. A...

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The revolution will be fermented . . .

Homegrown Revolution’s month of fermentation continues with the following bubbling containers–from left to right: Rye Sourdough Starter More info in a future post, but rye flour is much more active than a starter made with white flour! White Flour Starter We’ve already ranted about this stuff here and here. So far, much success. Crème Fraîche Special thanks to Susan of Northeast LA’s “culture club” for givin...

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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...

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