Advances in Gardening Series: Thoughts on The Fan, and the problems of overabudance

...lso collects seed, to keep it from spreading everywhere. Despite my efforts, I know a ton of seed fell, and when the rains come next year, I’ll be pulling Calendula and chamomile volunteers. Moral is, know what you need, and plant no more than that. Unless you’ve got the time and energy to maintain larger, more flashy beds. I’m all about making it easy on myself, so next year I’ll plant less. Of course, it takes experience...

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Squash Baby Reconsidered

...might help. Maybe a chalkboard could detail when things are ready to pick. 2. I could create an honor stand like the one at the organic farm I visited up in Bolinas, Gospel Flat Farm.  At Gospel Flat you drop your money in a box. Most of the time the stand is unstaffed. I could do the same and donate any (admittedly small) funds to a charity–perhaps a school garden. 3. In permaculture you value edges and marginal areas. It’s at th...

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Get Baking and Share the Loaves

...Monday, moderated by KCRW’s Evan Kleiman, Baker announced that he’s working on an Einkorn baguette, the bread geek equivalent of proposing a new route up K2 sans oxygen. At both events he dropped a lot of advice for home bakers that I thought I’d share: The refrigerator is your friend. Do a long proof in the refrigerator. This deepens flavor, allows flexibility in your baking schedule and can help a hearth loaf hold its shape...

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Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land

...ces, like Los Angeles. He points to recent droughts in places which usually receive generous rainfall. Right now it seems as if this tendency toward drought is occurring on a global scale and will worsen in coming years. Unfortunately, conventional, large scale agriculture is not only adding to the problem, it will also not be able to deal with the changes in the making. It is ill-suited to chaotic weather. In sum, if we don’t start growing...

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Virtuosic Bread Shaping

...t repeat it 10,000 times. That was the advice of a chef friend when I asked her how she learned to shape pizzas. The bread being shaped here is called Markook, In Arabic, مرقوق، شراك. It’s a flatbread found throughout the Middle East (an Armenian friend who grew up in Lebanon told us about it). A casual Youtube search will reveal many different Markook shaping techniques. Here’s a pillow free version making the rounds on Facebook:...

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Shoemaking workshop in Los Angeles, Oct. 16-19

...d, it’s actually a great deal. I’ll be there, and there’s only room for 4 more people. So save the date and register now! Email Randy at [email protected] Here’s the official description: You are about to embark on a journey back in time where everyone’s shoes were custom made because they made them for themselves.  We will start by making a 3D pattern of our foot and transferring it to the leather you select. Once the...

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012 Damnation, Good Books and Listener Questions

...bread, weeds and fertilizer. We briefly mention our experiment in house cleaning inspired by a post on Apartment Therapy. Those damn dams! Go to the Damnation Website to watch the documentary trailer and find links to where you watch the whole movie. Via Youtube, a documentary on China’s massive Three Gorges dam. I didn’t mention it during the podcast, but I used to work at the Center for Land Use Interpretation. The CLUI did a show...

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Maintaining a Worm Bin

...terly starve, you’re going to be okay. Our worm bin is pretty big (5 feet long), and made of pine boards.  It bears an unfortunate resemblance to a coffin, but it works wonderfully. I used plastic storage totes for my worm bins before we built this, and while those worked fine, I really like my big bin for two main reasons. The first is the size. It can take whatever I throw at it. It takes all my kitchen scraps, except for the really choic...

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Seedling Disaster!

...t shameful; this is wrongheaded and foolish . . . Mistakes are synonymous with learning. Failing is unavoidable. Making is a process, not an end. It is true that deep experience helps avoid problems, but mainly it gives you mental tools with which to solve inevitable problems when they come up.” -Tom Jennings, as quoted in Mark Frauenfelder’s excellent new book, Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World   Oh, but those...

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An Easy and Healthy 100% Whole Rye Bread Recipe

...easpoon salt 150 grams/2/3 cup hot water 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional) Directions 1. In a large bowl mix the 200 grams cold water with the sourdough starter. Add 150 grams of flour. Allow this mixture to ferment overnight. 2. In the morning add the rest of the ingredients. 3. Spoon into a well oiled and floured standard loaf pan. Smooth the top of the dough with a wet spatula. Flour the top of the loaf and cover with a kitchen towel. 4. A...

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