Behold the Glassy Winged Sharpshooter (Homalodisca coagulata)

...ing 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 unapologetic. While there are many varieties of native sharpshooters in California, the GWS is an interloper from the Southeast US and is much more mobile. The native varieties tend to hang out in riparian areas while the GWS enjoys jumping around backyards, citrus groves...

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A Primitive Bow Workshop

...to make one that will work repeatedly without breaking. A bow is actually a very complicated tool, something that should inspire respect for our distant ancestors. Paul Campbell author of an excellent book Survival Skills of Native California was along to co-teach the class and help us all shape our bows. The first step was to find some suitable wood. We used willow, a wood used by Native Americans in our region. It’s plentiful and makes...

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How To Design a Garden Step IV: Clues to Care

...can go a long ways to keeping the neighbors happy. Dr. Susan J. Mulley, a landscape architecture professor at Cal Poly Pomona is doing some interesting research on how people react to alternative forms of landscaping such as native plants and urban vegetable gardens. She’s doing opinion polls using Photoshopped mock-ups of residential, academic and commercial landscapes with food crops, native plantings and more conventional landscaping. T...

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Tree Tobacco as a Stinging Nettle Cure

...your pocket. The classic herbal antidote to nettle stings is Jewelweed, but I don’t believe it grows in the southwest–at least I’ve never seen it. Tree tobacco is a good substitute for folks in our region Native Americans smoked Nicotiana glauca and used it as a topical medicine. It is poisonous if taken internally. A late note from Kelly, who is out of town and so didn’t get to consult on this post before it went up: ...

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More Thoughts on Garlic

...ink I can draw a few conclusions. First, garlic likes fertile soil with plenty of nutrients. My home garden bed with the garlic in it has been amended with a lot of rich compost including worm castings and chicken manure. The native soil in the area also isn’t too bad. The pH is pretty neutral to slightly alkaline. Its a little heavy on the clay side but clay holds nutrients well and with all of the organic matter added the drainage is pret...

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Dry Farming

...: Maintain soil fertility  Plant deeply Plant varieties adapted to dry farming Know when to plant Pay attention to soil structure The main takeaway for us home gardeners will be the development of drought tolerant veggies. Native Seed Search is a good start, but seed saving will be the ultimate solution. We’re simply going to have to breed drought tolerance back into our water hungry vegetables. Combined with passive water collection tec...

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A Tour of the Homegrown Evolution Compound

placed the fig tree we tore out. Dominating the right side of the photo is the avocado tree. Next to that tree is a small dwarf pomegranate, and on the extreme right is another raised bed with strawberries, garlic, mint and a native grape vine, just about to leaf out. Now to correct some misconceptions: Our place looks like Versailles. Truth is, at some times, our garden looks terrible. It depends on the season, and the amount of time we have to...

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How To Design a Garden Step I: Identifying Goals

hould provide: solace and comfort a place to meditate food habitat for insects and birds beauty a place to sit and hang out with friends a place to sit and work with a laptop space for our chickens flowers for bees space for native plants areas that are semi-wild and not often visited  space for the composting Think and meditate on your goals before drawing up a plan.  And for those of us in the urban homesteading movement, I think it’s...

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Foraging Walk in Los Angeles on February 25th

...to identify plants and hear their botanical histories, stories of their cultural usages, animal usages, and human usages. Come share in the experiential, medicinal, magical, and uber-local properties of Los Angeles’s native plants.  $20/person: maximum 25 people/urbanforage so secure your spot now! To register: $10 to paypal account: [email protected]..

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Greywater Fed Tomato Plant Takes Over The World

e of the house. If just an occasional load of laundry can provide such a boost to this little patch of land, I wonder what all of the other water used in the house could do. I would have to get rid of all of the low-water and native plantings and go tropical! It just goes to show how much water we use in our homes every day and don’t really think about where it goes. Eventually I would love for all of the water from our showers and sinks to...

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