Build Your Own Furniture

...ample of this efficiency are these handsome stools — one sheet of plywood will make eight stools. Here are the instructions from the Sunset book: Simple, versatile, and inexpensive — that’s the quickest way to summarize the virtues of these handy plywood stools, They could hardly be easier to build and are surprisingly inexpensive. Except for the nails and glue, every part of the eight stools shown in the picture at the top lef...

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End of Season Tomato Review

Homegrown Evolution had ambitious plans to review each and every tomato variety out of the garden this year, but alas, we fell behind in our bloggulating duties and planted way too many tomatoes. So here, as “winter” appears in Southern California (it’s raining, that’s how you tell), we’ll review what worked and what didn’t work. The tastiest tomato award goes to the Pineapple variety pictured above. Not only...

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Beans 101 (Return of Bean Friday!)

...in and rinse your beans.  After the soak, be sure to drain and rinse your beans. You don’t want to cook in the soaking water. Crafting a flavor base (aka “Throwing a bunch of stuff in the pot and hoping for the best”):  You can cook beans in plain water, but they can be a little dull. You could cook beans in pre-made stock, but what I like to do is toss the makings of stock into the pot with the beans. In the picture below you s...

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Garden Design Trends: Interplanting and Plant Communities

The Daily Telegraph garden designed by Sarah Price. Landscape architect Thomas Rainer has a new post on his blog looking at some current garden design trends. Two of these trends intrigued me: what Rainer calls “interplanted everything” and another he calls “community gardens” (by which he means plant communities not allotments). Rainer says, “Massing is out.  Highly interplanted, mixed schemes ar...

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Pomegranate Factoids

...is. If you live in a hot, dry climate that doesn’t freeze much you should get yourself a pomegranate tree. They’ll grow in more humid climates but may not produce much fruit. Ours took five years, from planting as a bare root tree, to get the  modest crop you see in the picture. It’s one of my favorite trees–delicious fruit, a red flowers in the spring and a gorgeous display of yellow leaves in the fall–what more cou...

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Altadena Heritage of Abundance

Our backyard last week (some ugly stuff framed out of the picture!) We’ll be doing a talk tomorrow morning as part of a sustainability series in Altadena, CA. We’re going to talk about self irrigating planters, chickens, bees and vegetable gardening. Here’s the 411: Saturday, May 30 from 9 to 11 a.m at the Altadena Community Center First in a series of events, workshops, and home tours on sustainable living. Reserve your plac...

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Arundo dorax

My native Los Angeles and Houston, where Homegrown Evolution is in temporary residence, have a lot in common. Both are real cities, unlike the Disneyfied theme parks that New York and San Francisco have become. Both Houston and Los Angeles have lots of heavy industry and working ports. Visit the docks in Manhattan or San Francisco and you’ll find expensive restaurants and boutiques. Like the port of Los Angeles, along Houston’s Bayou...

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Chairs, are they killing us?

...n co-worker’s house in San Diego many years ago. We spent a few minutes in a typical suburban living room. The rest of the evening, however, took place in a room of the house that had only an Afghan rug and some pillows–no chairs or tables–where we sat for several hours listening to a concert of classical Afghan music. It was a lot like the picture above. Everyone, young and old, sat on the floor, cross-legged for the entirety o...

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Sunday Spam: Automatic Chicken Cage

We interrupt the usual picture Sunday feature to bring you the best and most misdirected spam email that has ever graced the Root Simple in-box: Dear Sir or Madam, Liaocheng Dongying Hengtong Metal Manufacturing Co.,Ltd here. Glad to hear that you are on the market for Automatic chicken cage. We are a professional producer of the complete sets of equipment for raising birds. At present, it is an enterprise which has the impor...

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An open letter to Trader Joes

...2 times more omega-3 fatty acids, 3 times more vitamin E and 7 times more beta carotene. It’s too bad that the “all natural feed” that your package advertises does not provide the nutrients of a real pasture. And FYI–we also removed the rooster since that would signify that these eggs are fertilized, making us think that your package design folks were snoozing during their high school biology classes. We replaced the pictu...

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