Defining a Garden’s Purpose

...ic Mechanics created this garden on a budget. The materials were scavenged, but carefully chosen (I’m often too indiscriminate with the objects I place in the garden to the eternal frustration of art school damaged Mrs. Homegrown). One of many inviting seating areas in the Organic Mechanic’s garden. A tire from a children’s toy re-purposed by the Organic Mechanics. Votive candle stand in the Organic Mechanic’s garden. The...

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Saturday Linkages: Controversy Edition

Gardening Homegrown polenta? Floriani corn plants deliver ‘amazing flavor’ http://fw.to/2ju3QtE The High Line in Person by Susan Harris http://gardenrant.com/2013/08/the-high-line-in-person.html?utm_source=feedly … Knocked Out—and not in a good way by James Roush http://gardenrant.com/2013/08/knocked-out-and-not-in-a-good-way.html?utm_source=feedly … Hackin’ Open Tech Forever: permaculture/open tech startup: http://boingboin...

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Growing Your Own Soapnut Tree

Photo: Wikimedia Commons. The soap nut tree Sapindus Mukorossi aka Indian Soapberry is a very large tree that produces prodigious amounts of a soaponifying nut that you can use as a greywater safe laundry detergent, dish and hand soap. Mrs. Homegrown wants to rip out my beloved Mission Fig tree to plant the one that 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...

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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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The tale of the worm bin celery

...lavorful as the stalks As a side note, I’ve heard of a breed of celery made to work precisely this way, called cutting celery, but I’ve never grown it intentionally. The celery in this post looks very much like my homegrown “cutting celery.” Perhaps commercial celery wants to revert to this? Months later, the hot weather arrived, the celery started to bolt (that is, send up flower stalks). When a plant bolts, it puts all i...

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CooKit Solar Panel Cooker

...ep the cooker un-scuffed. When panel 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...

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Another way to deal with prickly pear stickers

One of those “farm uses” could be burning off prickly pear spines . . Image via BoingBoing I’m drowning in prickly pear fruit which means a lot of nasty thorns in the kitchen and an angry Mrs. Homegrown. Previously I burned them off over our stove, but inevitably a few stickers would find their way to the kitchen sponge. Now I’ve got a new technique for removing stickers thanks to Norman of Silver City New Mexic...

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Roasted Corn on the Cob – Indoors!

This is the actual corn, looking somewhat wan under the kitchen lights. It was actually very pretty. And tasty. Mrs. Homegrown here: Oh. Em. Gee. Why have I never done this before? I suspect everyone else has, but if there are a few ignorant souls like myself out there, let me tell you a secret: cook your corn on the cob in the oven. I knew about corn on the grill, of course. But when it came to indoor corn cooking, I only knew to boil...

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This Is Why Mint Is Invasive

Mrs. Homegrown here: That’s me pulling out a mint plant from our garden, as part of The Great Renovation. Check out those amazing roots! This container was filled with a 5 inch thick mat of thick, tangled roots. No wonder mint is unstoppable. I adore mint, but we had two big mint plants, and under the new scheme, I’m trying to be more efficient about the way space is used in the yard. So this guy had to go. I thought I’d be di...

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Happy Halloween!

Turnip lantern by Nathan deGargoyle.  Follow the link to read his thoughts on the Manx version of Halloween Mrs. Homegrown here: I’ve always been intrigued with Samhain, and the idea that a new year should begin in growing darkness, working its way slowly through the deep of winter into the light. For this reason, Halloween has become my personal New Year (since by Jan. 1st, I’m always tired out disillusioned, and overstuff...

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