Lego-Robot Chickens

In response to our Monday post on clicker training chickens, Root Simple pal and fellow Master Food Preserver Diane Trunk posted a video on our Facebook page. Diane explains, Here’s a link to a silly video of our trained chickens. My son trained them to come running in response to a beep. The beep signaled that a lego-robot box (you’ll see) was going to open, and the hens would get their favorite treat: string cheese. Alas, these...

Continue reading…

Chill Hour Calculator for California

Please excuse another California-centric post, but if you’re in the Golden State and like to geek out on keeping track of your chill hours here’s a handy tool bought to you by UC Davis: Cumulative Chilling Hours. Each year this page keeps track of chill hours between November 1 through end of February. If you know of a similar resource for other states/countries leave a link in the comments. As cool (so to speak) as this tool is, wh...

Continue reading…

USDA Zone Based Veggie Planting Schedule

...neated seasons. What about those of us in Alaska, Southern California, Texas, Florida or Arizona? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a web-based vegetable planting calendar based on zip codes? While it’s not down to the zip code level, there’s a USDA zone based web tool on a site called the Vegetable Garden. Now I have to say that this website, with all those contextual ads, looks like a scraper site at first glance. But the info on ou...

Continue reading…

How To Dry Food With the Sun

...60% humidity. If you live in a desert, humidity isn’t a problem. But in most other places in North America it’s simply too moist to set food out under the sun. It will rot before it dries. In Los Angeles, due to the influence of the ocean, it’s slightly too humid most of the year for sun drying to work well. But there’s an easy way to overcome humidity: convection, i.e. hot air rises. Most solar dehydrators take advantage...

Continue reading…

Today is American Censorship Day

...l for both cultural innovation and democracy. Sure, the Internet is mostly made of porn and kittens, but we like it as it is. What we don’t want to see is it being unduly controlled by either the government or corporate interests, so we’re participating in American Censorship Day by offering up this information to our readers. Today, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is headed to the House Judiciary Committee. The purported purpose o...

Continue reading…

Like Root Simple

Despite my mixed feelings about Facebook (we’re doing a lot of work for free for all those marketers, not to mention the creepy privacy issues), I try not to let perfection be the enemy of the good. Facebook can be a useful tool for interacting with folks. And I love hearing from you, our dear readers. So I’ve finally got around to creating a fan page for Root Simple. Please “like” us:...

Continue reading…

Sonora Wheat at the Huasna Valley Farm

...at will allow the medic to grow far below the seed heads. This is in contrast to conventional wheat farming with its short varieties and heavy reliance on herbicides. Norman Borlaug, the father of the “green revolution” used Sonora wheat to create Sonora 64, an early green revolution wheat. Ironically, as we face an uncertain energy future, we may have to go back to the original Sonora wheat as it performs better in organic circumstan...

Continue reading…

A tasty Italian chard: Bieta Verde da Taglio

...here in Los Angeles, we can grow year round. One of my favorites this winter has been a Swiss chard variety from Italy called Bieta Verde da Taglio or “Green cutting chard”. Verde da Taglio has thin stems and thick leaves. It ain’t as pretty as the rainbow colored chards we are also growing, but it tastes better, in my opinion. Steam it, fry it up with some garlic and olive oil and you’re set. Verde da Taglio is sold by th...

Continue reading…

Make a Rain Barrel

...rrel upside down, drill a hole for the down spout another hole to insert an overflow pipe made out of a threaded 3″ waste pipe fitting: The last step is to prop the barrel up on some wood or concrete blocks to give some clearance for your hose connection and some extra elevation for a gravity assist to help push the water through a garden hose. The overflow connection is another reason I like Chenkin’s design. It’s important to...

Continue reading…