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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Turnip Greens via The Silver Spoon

It took us way to long to discover that turnip greens are edible. They’re better than the turnips themselves, in our opinion. So how did we finally figure this out? The answer is by thumbing through a cookbook everybody interested in growing their own vegetables should own, The Silver Spoon*, which has a section devoted just to turnip green recipes. The Silver Spoon is a 1,263 page cookbook recently translated into English. It’s the...

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Growing Potatoes in Tires

t grows you add another tire to the stack, causing the growth of more potatoes. An alternate method, suggested by Homegrown Revolution reader Chris, is to dig trenches and mound up earth around the base of the potato plant as it grows. We’ve planted earlier this year, to see if our potatoes will do better in Southern California’s mild spring weather. One disadvantage to this earlier planting might be all the rain we get in January an...

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On the Southwest Chief to Chicago

I’m heading to Chicago aboard Amtrak’s Southwest Chief this evening for a series of workshops. Hope to see some of you in Chicago. When I get back to Los Angeles, Mrs. Homegrown and I will be leading a greywater workshop at Good Magazine on the 27th of May. Details to follow. In Altadena on May 30th I’ll be doing a talk, “Living Simply, Living Abundantly” at the Altadena Community Center 730 East Altadena Drive fro...

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Behold the Glassy Winged Sharpshooter (Homalodisca coagulata)

I finally spotted my first glassy winged sharpshooter (Homalodisca coagulata or GWS for short) sinking its vampire like feeding tube into one of my hops vines. The GWS transmits Pierce’s disease, fatal to many grape varieties including my flame seedless, a gardening frustration I blogged about last week. For your enjoyment I captured a 1/2-inch GWS specimen and scanned it. Note that the GWS was harmed in the process, for which I’m u...

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Saturday Linkages: From Bananas to Laird’s Laws

supermarket supplier’s plastic http://gu.com/p/3eb3b/tw  Solicitor George Cooper’s diaries give insight into Victorian life with his watercolour paintings http://bit.ly/yFANsU  Recreation of ancient beer suggests it was really, really gross http://io9.com/recreation-of-ancient-beer-suggests-it-was-sour-and-ful-572664886 … Laird’s Laws http://shar.es/OPik9  For these links and more, follow Root Simple on Twitter: Follow @rootsi...

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DIY Solar Space Heating

Photo: Build It Solar. Mrs. Homegrown, who spent her formative years in the mountains of Colorado, made fun of me this morning as I noted the “cold” temperature . . . 60°F. It was the first ironic “brrrrrr” out of her mouth, letting me know that we’ve transitioned from the hot smoggy season to the the less hot smoggy season here in Los Angeles. In the northern hemisphere it’s time to consider heating. The alwa...

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Growing Your Own Soapnut Tree

t Craig at Winnetka Farms gave us last year. I’m going to chain myself to the fig. That being said, I wish we had more room to plant our soapnut tree. Sapindus Mukorossi requires a fertile soil and a frost free climate. It’s a tall tree that can take as long as ten years to begin fruiting. A friend of mine has one growing in Altadena. Sapindus Mukorossi needs lots of water. Craig has pointed out the perfect permacultural pairing for o...

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Analysis Paralysis

...is the way Shakespeare describes this condition in Hamlet. The re-design of our backyard lead to the worst analysis paralysis I’ve ever experienced. Weeks went by with no progress. Ideas came and went. The internet made it worse by providing way too many possibilities. A quote in a book finally broke my analysis paralysis spell. The gist of that quote was that we are all called by a higher power to build. I realized that I needed to set a d...

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Picture Sunday: Chicken Coop Art Cars

Artist Benedetto Bufalino re-purposed a vintage police car for his piece, “la voiture de police poulailler.” Back in 1999 Atelier van Lieshout reused an Alfa Romeo for an installation called “Alfa Alfa.” I should note that the art school damaged Mrs. Homegrown gets queasy when livestock end up in art projects. I’ll just ask if these two examples mean we’re witnessing an entire new genre of chicken art?...

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