How To Make Hoshigaki (Dried Persimmons)

...;t too cold out). If the fruit does not have a stem attached you can insert a screw: Drying The first week you don’t touch them. After a week has passed you begin to gently massage each persimmon every other day. Hauben suggested a light touch rather than a “deep tissue massage.” After a few weeks of massaging, fructose in the fruit will begin to come to the surface, making it look like the persimmons have b...

Continue reading…

Humanure Dry Toilet Made From a Milk Crate

...s grungy. Alternatively, you can buy plastic camping toilet seats that will clamp on to a five gallon bucket but they have, in my opinion, an unacceptable wobble when you sit on them. For these reasons I designed a sturdy dry toilet making use of a scavenged milk crate. Even if the idea of humanure grosses you out (and it’s definitely the most controversial subject in our book), our milk crate toilet would be great for camping, emergencies...

Continue reading…

Farm in a Box

...d Farm in a Box Aquaponics from Earth Solutions. Farm in the Box is a combined fish tank/planter box. Waste from the fish circulates into the planter box via a pump to provide fertilizer for the plants as well as removing nitrogen and ammonia from the water. From the Earth Solutions website: “By integrating fish with vegetables, naturally balanced aquatic ecosystems are established making it unnecessary to add fertilizer, chemicals or remov...

Continue reading…

End of Season Tomato Review

...rnia (it’s raining, that’s how you tell), we’ll review what worked and what didn’t work. The tastiest tomato award goes to the Pineapple variety pictured above. Not only did this heirloom tomato have the best flavor, it was also the prettiest tomato we’ve ever grown, a brilliant yellow with streaks of red in the middle of the fruit when you slice it. And they’re just about as big as a Cadillac Escalade. We sav...

Continue reading…

Toilet Paper Roll Tower for Cats

Photo: FourWhitePaws At the risk of turning into one of those people who does nothing but post cute cat pictures to Facebook–oh wait a second, I’m already that person–here’s a tip from a friend Christine on how to keep cats busy with toilet paper rolls. Christine sent me a link to the FourWhitePaws blog on making a toilet paper tower that you put treats in. She also sent a link to a stock photo service...

Continue reading…

Garden Design: Quantity vs. Quality

...you’re just sketching out ideas–when it’s best to generate as many drawings a possible, stick them on a wall and see which ones pop out. I think Kelly made more than the three drawings we saved, but we certainly could have done more–I’d say 20 minimum. Part of what we learn by focusing on quantity is about making mistakes and learning from them. But I think there’s more to it than that. A gifted high school En...

Continue reading…

Supper for a buck?

...st us to make a loaf of no-knead bread. I had no idea, but was intrigued by the question, so I went home and did the math on the flour. We buy our flour in bulk from fine company called Central Milling through the Los Angeles Bread Baker’s Club. A 50lb bag of general purpose flour costs $30.00. This works out less per pound than the cheap-0 flour at the supermarket. We actually go through so much flour that it works for us to buy in those q...

Continue reading…

Fava Fava Fava

Fava bean mania has descended upon the Homegrown Evolution compound this spring. I can’t say enough good things about fava beans (Vicia fava): they taste good, the plant fixes nitrogen into the soil, making it an ideal cover crop, and it’s attractive. If harvested small you can eat fava raw but I prefer to remove the skins and briefly boil the seeds (around five minutes). Once boiled, fava can be used in a variety of dishes from soup...

Continue reading…

Busting open a Durian

Via Mark Frauenfelder over on BoingBoing, a trailer for Adam Leith Gollner’s entertaining book, The Fruit Hunters: Is their something about being an older white man of a certain age and exotic fruit? Mrs. Homegrown has become concerned about Mr. Homegrown dropping talk of durian into conversations at inappropriate moments of late. And look out Mrs. HG, because Mr. HG just heard about the Mimosa Nursery (thanks beer making Scott!), purveyor...

Continue reading…

Jujube and Goji Fever

...king materials. Alex was nice enough to send us home with a bag full of dried Chang jujubes which convinced even the skeptical Mrs. Homegrown Evolution that this variety of jujube tree is well worth growing. The Chang jujube, unlike most varieties, is self pollinating and therefore does not require a partner. The Chang also has a distinctive, narrow and upright growing pattern, making it an ideal tree for small spaces. Jujube trees are an amazing...

Continue reading…