One of our favorite activities: Depaving

Taking out concrete with a sledgehammer may not be everyone’s idea of a great time, but believe me, Erik is having a great time in this picture. Any opportunity to get rid of a few feet of ugly concrete or asphalt,  and replace it with soil and plants, is not an opportunity to be missed. Depaving increases growing room for green things and it also gives more points of access for rain to enter the ground and renew the water tables–ra...

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Three Events Coming Up: Ciclovia, Huntington Plant Sale and Homegrown

...ekend October 9th through the 11th the Huntington Library and Gardens will host their annual plant sale. More information here in their events listings. I’d like to go but Mrs. Homegrown is worried I’ll drag weird plants home that we have no space for. But that shouldn’t stop all of you from going! On Saturday, October 23rd we’ll join fellow Process Media author Deborah Eden Tull and many other speakers and vendors at the...

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Grow a Fence

Image from Mother Earth News Why build a fence when you can grow one? Permaculturalist Harvey Ussery has an article, “Living Fences How-to Advantages and Tips” in the latest Mother Earth News that describes several plants and strategies for creating living barriers that do more than just keep the livestock in. Hedges such as Osage orange (Maclura pomifera) provide fodder as well as fencing. Others, such as black locust fix...

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Advances in Gardening: The Trough of Garlic

...ery new bed helps. Even small ones. This is one reason we squeezed this one out of our patio. Note that like The Fan, The Trough is also covered with hoops and netting to keep skunks and squirrels (and chickens) out until the plants get established. Grow Your Own! If you haven’t grown garlic, it’s super easy. Just break up a head of garlic and plant the individual cloves pointy end up under an inch or so of soil, about six inches apa...

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Skid Row Community Garden Gets SIPs

...os Angeles Community Action Network, which works with homeless and low-income residents on skid row.  Hars, Lobl, myself and a bunch of folks from LACAN put together a few SIPs and planted vegetables on the LACAN rooftop. The plants are thriving in a space where previous attempts at container gardening met with mixed success. Gardening, like all the ways we humans interact with our surroundings is all about context. If you’ve got soil, as I...

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Our Winter Vegetable Garden

...Beets “Bietolo da Orto Egitto Migliorata” A repeat from last year, these are tasty red beets. Buck’s horn plantain also known as “Erba Stella” An edible weed. Stinging nettles One of my favorite plants. It’s begun to reseed itself in the yard. Useful as a tea and a green. For more information on when to plant vegetables in Southern California, see this handy chart. And let us know in the comments what you̵...

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Our Holiday Gift Suggestions

That dreaded holiday seasons is just around the corner. With unemployment still high we hope that many of you have negotiated a family gift truce to limit tedious shopping. Or perhaps you’re making things to give away. But if you still need to get a little something for that special homesteader on your shopping list, we’ve got a few suggestions from our Homegrown Evolution Amazon Store. Even if you just click through the store and b...

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It’s Official: Erik is Insane

...owing. The drawback to a public garden, of course, is that it is defenseless. This means that dogs and cats and sometimes people tromp through the beds, scattering freshly planted seeds and smashing delicate seedlings. If the plants survive, then they become subject to theft. Now, we don’t mind sharing food. The parkway isn’t really ours, after all, so we figure what grows down there is fair game. Generally we either grow things down...

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Plantago coronopus, a.k.a. Buckhorn Plantain, a.k.a. Erba Stella

Cruise down the produce isle of a supermarket in the United States and you’ll only find highly domesticated foods. Thumb through the pages of the Silver Spoon (the Joy of Cooking of Italian Cuisine) and you’ll discover entire chapters devoted to the use of wild or semi-wild plants. This summer I grew one of these semi-cultivated Italian vegetables, Buckhorn plantain (Plantago coronopus) also known as Erba Stella and Barba di frat...

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Least Favorite Plant: Ficus benjamina

...wers of the City of the Angels. But Schoenholz’s photos do make a persuasive case for what could be termed “outsider topiary.” To be fair, Ficus benjamina is not without some benefits. It’s one of the plants NASA studied for its use in improving indoor air quality. But as the horticultural equivalent of the Nagel print, perhaps it’s time to replace a few of them with its edible cousin Ficus carica. Ficus fans and fo...

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