Texas Town Outlaws Common Sense

Lancaster Texas city officials have decided to enforce codes outlawing backyard chickens and Marye Audet a food writer, author and owner of nineteen heritage breed Barred Rocks has been pulled into their poultry dragnet. She ain’t happy about it. “My dad and my father- in- law were WWII vets. I am a veteran. My husband is a disabled veteran. My oldest son is in Iraq currently, for his second tour of duty. And this afternoon, as I...

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Bugs Ate My Garden

A letter from one of our readers: “I just read the article on growing your own food. I have tried this but have had great difficulty with insect damage. I have tried some of the “natural” insecticides but they don’t seem to work very well. Two of the major problems I have are cutworms that snip off seedlings before they can get started, and a plague of small white snails which invade later in summer and devastate everyt...

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Boulder man faces $2000 fine/day for guerilla garden fencing

Via BoingBoing (complete with video): “[L]ast month, an enforcement officer from Boulder’s Environmental and Zoning Enforcement office showed up and said a neighbor had complained about the garden. “She said to take it all down — the tomato cages, the trellises, the posts, the basketball hoop, everything,” Hoffenberg said. … Hoffenberg has until July 14 to take down the trellises and fencing. At that point, Arthur said, he could be c...

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Moldy Grapes!

...ickles which I make all the time, I just turn the jar on end every day, sometimes more than once a day, for the 5 days or so it takes to pickle. I just leave them out where I can see them so I don’t forget to turn them. After they go in the fridge, mold doesn’t seem to be a problem. But for a longer ferment, like sauerkraut, you really do have to keep the food below the brine with weight. Recent Failure #2: Moldy Chamomile Tea We ha...

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A Seed Pokin’ Thingy

...g 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 and the s...

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A Tour of the Homegrown Evolution Compound

...top part of the front yard. Next the backyard, pictured above (click to bigulate). The extreme wide angle makes it look a lot bigger than it actually is. In reality, the backyard is about 35 feet by 50 feet. Starting on the left and moving right, is an arbor occupying the former space of a terrible add-on that we demolished (and carried down the stairs by hand–once again, don’t buy a house on a hill!). In the background is the chick...

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We’re Back!

...seeing the New York based planning and transportation website Streetsblog and wishing that we had something like it here in Los Angeles. Well we do thanks to the work of Damien Newton who we were honored to be interviewed by last month. Read his interview of Mr. Homegrown Evolution rambling about bike issues here on Streetsblog Los Angeles. Damien also interviewed us on the hot topic of growing food at home for the L.A. Times Emerald City blog. T...

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Homegrown Evolution in the LA Times

...h consists of two 6-foot square raised beds with two wire obelisks to support beans and tomatoes. We constructed it in October of 2005 and have grown a few season’s worth of crops. Here’s our parkway garden just after putting it in. We installed raised beds because of the compacted, poor quality soil. Winter and early spring is the best season for most vegetables here in Los Angeles. In January of 2006 we had a riotous crop of sweet p...

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Problems Part I

...ld just cull a sick bird to keep the flock safe. For those of us with just a few hens this is more difficult and it’s great to have a place to separate, at a distance, a sick bird just in case they have something communicable. It’s better to figure out how to configure this ahead of time rather than at 8 p.m. on a Sunday. Thankfully we’ve got a large dog pen for our Doberman that can double as a small chicken run. We’ve al...

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Bird Flu and Industrial Agriculture

...the case that wild birds and backyard poultry keepers such as ourselves are a greater threat. A report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Industrial Livestock Production and Global Health Risks (pdf) lends credence to Dr. Greger’s assertion that the hazard of a bird flu outbreak comes not just from backyard flocks but from large scale livestock operations. It seems logical: pack thousands of immunosupressed...

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