Coffee Chaff Chickens

...n house, and as we all know, trees don’t grow on trees. But what’s a good alternative to shavings? Yesterday, Lyanda Haupt, author of Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness , a beautifully written book about crows and the path of an urban naturalist, posted about an intriguing chicken bedding possibility: coffee chaff, a byproduct of coffee roasting. You should go read about it. Maybe we all can’t access the ch...

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Press

...s Angeles. They are the keepers of the popular DIY blog, Root Simple, and the authors of The Urban Homestead (2008), which the New York Times calls “…the contemporary bible on the subject” and Making It (2011) a project book for post-consumer society. In addition to their writing and blogging, Kelly and Erik teach and speak on the topics of self-reliance, urban gardening and sustainability. Other Info: Contact us: [email protected] Coyn...

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Mushrooms and Yard Sharing

Mr. Homegrown contemplates his many writing tasks. Mr. Homegrown needs your help with two topics. First, for our second book, I’d like to talk to someone who has successfully grown oyster mushrooms from spawn. I’m looking for advice on preparing and inoculating the growing medium. I’m not looking for folks who have grown oyster mushrooms from kits which, in my humble opinion, are not cost effective. If anyone knows of well wri...

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CooKit Solar Panel Cooker

...el cooker season returns to LA in the springtime, you can bet I’ll be making a lot of rice with this thing. Detailed instructions for how to build a CooKit can be found here. Also, Mrs. Homegrown and I are writing a new book and we’d like to include some plans for solar cookers (any kind). If you’ve got a favorite DIY model, leave a comment with a link. Another view with curious Doberman in the foreground:...

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Nasturtium “Capers”

...spring. Once you plant this stuff, at least here in Los Angeles, the thousands of seeds it produces guarantee that you will see it again next year. Thanks to a tip from our frère et soeur at Terre Vivante, editors of a great book called Keeping Food Fresh, we now have a use for all those Nasturtium seeds. Pick the seeds while they are still green and put them in a jar with a decent white wine vinegar and some dill or other herb. We keep our jar...

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Get Off Your Ass and Plant a Survival Garden!

Tired of going to the market to buy crappy vegetables that taste out of season no matter what time of year it is? Tired of garlic from China and grapes from Chile? Why waste land, if you have it, on things you can’t eat? And why not have some fresh produce on hand in case of the inevitable zombie invasion. Now, vegetable gardening takes some practice and unfortunately very few books deal with the specifics of Los Angeles’ unique Medi...

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More Washing Machine Greywater Fun

...u 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 able to get away with. And if you burn out the pump, and the machine is owned by the lan...

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Make an Aluminum Can Lamp

.... Cut a 2 1/2 inch square window out of one side of the can with a pair of scissors. 3. Now cut the bottom 1 1/2 inches off of another can. We like to do this by taping a razor blade to a piece of metal and inserting it in a book. Simply rotate the can against the blade a few times and you will get a nice even cut. Precision isn’t necessary for this project (unlike the Pepsi can stove) so you can also do this step with a pair of scissors. 4. Pu...

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Pee on your Compost

...s 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 the ever more resourceful Europeans have developed a number of urine diverting flush toilets similar to the one we profiled earlier to take the labor out of uri...

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