Remember to Label Those Jars!

...ult of some late night canning frenzy two years ago. At the time I probably thought to myself, “I’ll label them in the morning.” Not only should the jars be labeled, but it would also have been nice to have some notes on the recipe I used and where the fruit was sourced from. To this end I’ve started a preservation diary in a useful program called Evernote. Perhaps I should get a tattoo on my forearm that says, “Lab...

Continue reading…

Mandrake!

...side and the Budweiser frogs on the down-market other is his emphasis on the ancient and sacred elements of beer making which used to be, he claims, the duty of women, not men. His chapter, “Psychotropic and Highly Inebriating Beers” contains a number of recipes, including one making use of the mysterious mandrake plant, a member of the nightshade family and popularized lately in a certain series of books about a wizard school (Homegr...

Continue reading…

Salvia Means Salvation: White Sage

...iful of all Salvias. Flower of Salvia apiana, photo by Stan Shebs White sage is a native Californian plant which is grown in many places, as long as it can grown in dry conditions (overwatering will kill it quick) and the winter temps aren’t too cold. See Plants for a Future Database for details. It has beautiful soft silvery foliage and white to pale purple flowers that bees adore. We’ve got two planted and are looking fo...

Continue reading…

2011 in Review: The Garden

It’s was a difficult year in the garden. A lead and zinc issue screwed up my winter vegetables garden plans. At least we managed to find some river rocks and put in a path. I found this photo from December 2010. I was certainly a lot more organized that year. For 2012, I’m putting in raised beds to deal with the heavy metal issue and we’ve already planted more native plants. But most importantly one of my New Years resolution...

Continue reading…

Our Books

Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World , by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen This book, written by a husband-and-wife team of die-hard DIYers, will leave you thinking you can take on the world and win. –Milwaukee Journal Sentinal My favorite of all these recent books by far… — Kirkus Reviews A how-to book providing you with all of the tools you need to become a producer instead of a consumer and transform your h...

Continue reading…

Adventures in Gardening Series: Wrap up on the Hippie Heart: Growing lentils and flax

...;ll start with the Hippie Heart. The Hippie Heart is a heart-shaped bed where I was intending to experiment with planting seeds straight out of the pantry, ill-advised as that might seem, just to see what happened. Erik grumbled at this plan–and for good reason, since a lot of seeds we can buy in bulk bins may be hybrid, sterile or irradiated. But I wanted to try it anyway. This first season I planted the Heart with bulk bin flax seed and l...

Continue reading…

Back on the Yogurt Train: How to Make Yogurt

...to make yogurt. In fact, I do believe we covered it in our book. Thing is, back in the day when we made yogurt, it was Erik’s job. When he slacked on it, I didn’t even consider picking it up. Chalk it up to the mysteries of division of labor in a household. Anyway, we went to see Mark Frauenfelder talk about his great new book, Made by Hand , and one of things he mentioned was how much he and his family are digging making their own...

Continue reading…

Gardening Resources in Los Angeles County

...Look up your chill hours here. Check out Dave Wilson Nursery’s handy guide to backyard orcharding, Do not plant any grapes that aren’t Pierce Disease resistant. And personally, I would not plant citrus. Vegetable Gardening When to plant: http://www.scribd.com/doc/154952660/What-to-Plant-When-in-Southern-California Our favorite seeds, Franchi Seeds, are available at http://theheirloomseedstore.com/ and at Sunset Nursery in Silver Lak...

Continue reading…

Our Winter Vegetable Garden

...Stagioni” A butterhead type lettuce. Arugula “Rucola da Orto” from Larosa seeds. You can never plant enough arugula, in my opinion. Greens Rapini “Cima di Rapa Novantina” I grow this every year. It’s basically my favorite vegetable–much more flavorful and easier to grow than broccoli. Spigariello broccoli. A large plant resembling kale. You eat the leaves and flowers. Used in “Minestra Nera” or “...

Continue reading…

Low Moments in Plant Theivery

...on the theft of three barrel cacti out of our front yard prompted quite a few readers to share their stories of plant thievery. There’s obviously a lot of plant theft perps out there. The footage above, out of Skelmersdale, England has to be one of the grandest of all plant thefts. In the video you’ll see two women stealing an entire lawn. It took forty minutes and the thieves even took a smoking break. The BBC quotes the neighbor wh...

Continue reading…