Least Favorite Plant: Yellow Oleander (Thevetia peruviana)

Thumbing through a book of toxic and hallucinogenic plants, I finally manged to i.d. the neighbor’s shrub that looms over the staircase to our front door. The popular name given for this plant in the book was “suicide tree”, so named for its use in Sri Lanka, though I’ve found other plants with this same moniker. The scientific name is Thevetia peruviana, and it’s also known as “lucky nut” (can we chang...

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Rain- The Best Gift of All

...th. So I want to redirect that water into a detention basin instead. It will be a small depression planted with native plants adapted to our weather patterns. More water for me, less water wasted! Directing rainwater from your roof into the landscape is often simpler and lower in cost that harvesting in a barrel or cistern. The small 55 gallon barrels I have are great, but they fill up very quickly even in a light rain. You would be amazed a...

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A Review of Masanobu Fukuoka’s Sowing Seeds in the Desert

...ontent of those seed balls? Whatever will re-vegetate the landscape most effectively regardless of whether those plants are native or not in order to achieve what Fukuoka calls a “second Genesis.” As he puts it, I would mix the seeds of all plants–forest trees, fruit trees, perennials, vegetables, grasses and legumes–as well as ferns, osses, and lichens, and sow them all at once across the desert. Nativists will cringe at...

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Dry Farming

Jethro Tull–the agriculturalist not the rock flutist According to a 2010 report by Ceres “Water Risk in the Municipal Bond Market,” Los Angeles ranks number one in water supply risk. But we’re not alone. Many other US cities including Atlanta, Phoenix and Dallas also face a future of water insecurity. Due to these water risks we’d all do well to consider ways to grow edibles without supplemental irrigation....

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How To Design a Garden Step I: Identifying Goals

...nd 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 important to measure productivity in more ways than just the amount of food you get from your yard.  How will th...

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How to Keep Skunks Out of the Yard

...ther skunk to move in.  The best thing you can do is just make your yard inhospitable. Working with skunks Once plants are well established skunks aren’t much of a problem. Where I don’t want to have to take all these preventative measures (such as the front yard) I’ve got fruit trees, native plants and cardoons–things skunks can’t uproot. The two vegetable beds I have in the front yard have to be encased in bird ne...

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A Tour of the Homegrown Evolution Compound

It’s about damn time we gave an overall tour of the Homegrown Evolution digs, at least to dispel some misconceptions out there (more on those at the end of the post). Let’s begin with the front yard, pictured above. Our house sits up about 30 steps from the street level. Running the laundry water out to the front (using Oasis Biocompatible Detergent), has really made the plants happy. The front yard has a mix of prickly pear cactus,...

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Foraging Walk in Los Angeles on February 25th

...hrough  the spontaneous and cultivated vegetation of our urbanscape. Along the walk, we will learn 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: net...

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More Thoughts on Garlic

...away from the Root Simple compound, I’m quite sure weather isn’t the issue. Also, as my other garlic plants at a job site have shown lackluster growth I think 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...

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Greywater Fed Tomato Plant Takes Over The World

...hs ago Mr. Homegrown helped me install a simple ‘laundry to landscape’ greywater system. Most of the plants that get watered by the system didn’t get much water before and were just barely surviving. There are several fruit trees, a rhubarb plant and an assortment of perennial herbs lining a narrow strip of land along the side of the house. Now, the plants getting fed by the greywater are going bonkers. Last week the area became...

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