Plantain!

Homegrown Revolution neighbors Annelise and Eric intercepted us on our nightly dog walk and not only invited us up to their front porch for a glass of wine, but also sent us away with a couple of plantains harvested from their next door neighbor’s tree. It’s exactly what we’d like to see more of–folks growing food instead of lawns and everyone sharing the abundance. While there’s a lot of banana trees in Los Angeles...

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Capparis spinosa – Capers

Capparis spinosa When we changed the name of this occasionally updated string of musings from SurviveLA to Homegrown Revolution to make it more national, as the publisher of our upcoming book the Urban Homestead requested, we had one big challenge. While Mrs. Homegrown Revolution hails from the snowy mountains of Colorado, Mr. Homegrown Revolution has never lived anywhere else other than sunny Southern California. And neither of us have tende...

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Safety Films Night

Homegrown Revolution, in support of the ongoing two-wheeled revolution, is putting on an evening of vintage bicycle and traffic safety films at the Echo Park Film Center on Sunday November 4th. It’s a special benefit for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. Watch as little Jane and Johnny take to the streets for the first time to learn the rules of the road. But bring your motoring friends as well, since we’ll also serve up a selectio...

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Out of Water!

...aucets. We checked the little spinning red triangle indicator on the water meter to see if water was flowing (and perhaps leaking somewhere) but the triangle was motionless. We checked the shutoff valve at the street, turning it off and on, also to no avail. One of the few sensible things the previous owners did was replace the galvanized pipe with copper so we knew that corrosion was not the problem. We asked our neighbors if they had a problem...

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Tree Spinach – Chenopodium giganteum

For most of the country planting time is far off but for us, here in the Homegrown Revolution compound in Mediterranean Los Angeles, it’s time to start the winter garden. The billowing clouds of apocalyptic smoke from the fires ravaging the suburban fringes of our disaster prone megalopolis are the only thing that keeps us inside today, giving us time to contemplate one of the seed packets that has crossed our desk, Chenopodium giganteum a...

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La Alternativa

...r gardens. See the the film Power of Community How Cuba Survived Peak Oil for more on Cuba’s inventive urban gardening. While we hope that the US does not face a Cuban style economic crisis, we at SurviveLA believe that it’s time for la alternativa for other reasons, namely reducing our environmental impact and rampant consumption. If you speak Spanish, please enjoy Gálvez’s recipe for vinegar made from pineapple rinds or banana...

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Moringa!

...from more mature pods and eaten like peas or roasted like nuts. The flowers are edible when cooked, and are said to taste like mushrooms. The roots are shredded and used as a condiment in the same way as horseradish, however it contains the alkaloid spirochin, a potentially fatal nerve paralyzing agent, so such practices should be strongly discouraged. The leaves are highly nutritious, being a significant source of beta-carotene, Vitamin C, prot...

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Nopales Season

It’s nopales (the pads of the prickly pear cactus for you Yankees) season at the Homegrown Evolution compound. Our prickly pear has thrown off so many leaves that a neighbor dropped by last week to ask for some. We filled a bag for her and declined the dollar she offered us. To cook up our nopales we use a simple recipe found in Delena Tull’s book, Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest. First scrape off the spines with...

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The Three Sisters

...lding inspectors reviewing our expensive foundation work nobody seems to care about the two large raised beds we installed. In fact one of our neighbors has planted her own parkway vegetable garden just down the street. Since it was so late (July) we decided to cultivate heat tolerant vegetables and upped the ante by planting the Native American three sisters–corn, beans and squash. The three sisters are textbook permaculture, the idea bein...

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A Seed Pokin’ Thingy

Planting seeds seems like a simple task, and yet when you’re faced with hundreds of tiny seeds and dozens of pots it can take a surprising amount of time. Thankfully there’s an elegant and simple tool that can make life easier during planting season. To make this handy tool all you need to do is take a sick (something smaller than a chopstick is ideal) and stick it into a wine cork. You use the cork end to gently tamp down the soil a...

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