Nomadic Furniture

Image: Domus. The 1970s was a golden era for DIY furniture manuals. One of the best is Nomadic Furniture, a 1973 book by designers Victor Papanek and James Hennessy.  Papanek and Hennessy are gifted designers. Nomadic Furniture contains instructions for cardboard seats, bookshelves, lamps made from milk jugs, hexagonal dining sets as well as a two page hymn to the waterbed (ok, not sure about that thoughtstyling). The subtitle...

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Getting started with worms

Tonight Erik and I are running a booth promoting vermicomposting at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum’s Summer Nights in the Garden. We’ve put together this page of resources and advice to point the newbie worm farmers we meet tonight in the right direction– and hopefully inspire anyone who’s reading, no matter where they live, to start a worm bin as well. Welcome to Root Simple, NHM visitors! Q: Why should I keep a...

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What Preparedness Lessons Did You Learn From Hurricane Sandy?

...m considering a drill–living without power/gas/water for a few days to see what we can improve. Update. On the Root Simple Facebook page reader Josh Barton left the following account: I’m in the St.George area of Staten Island, about a 7 minute walk to the water. I live at the top of a hill, so I wasn’t worried about flooding, but I think I should buy a raft just in case it doors ever flood in the lower parts (Esp if I move some...

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How to Search for Science-Based Gardening Advice

...to help me with any research I needed to do. Hopefully our culture will not get swept away by Google and forget the importance of  librarians in helping us navigate our confusing world. Thanks to libraries,we have access to tools beyond Google. Hot Topics To that end, I’m thinking of making the trek to UCLA this year to look into a number of controversial horticultural and homesteading questions that have come up in the course of writing...

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Vegetable Gardening Workshops at the Natural History Museum

Master Gardener Florence Nishida will be teaching a four part vegetable gardening class starting in March. Florence is a great teacher and there are a number of discounted spaces for people in zip codes surrounding the Natural History Museum. To sign up for the class go to the museum’s event page or call 213 763-3349. Act soon as it’s sure to sell out....

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Vegetable Garden Note Taking

A page from Thomas Jefferson’s garden diary. My worst mistake in the fifteen years we have been gardening here in Los Angeles has been my shoddy note taking. Even though we don’t have frosts to contend with, it still can be tricky to figure out when to plant vegetables. In a lecture I attnded at the National Heirloom Exoposition, Sonoma County gardening guru Wendy Krupnick had a simple suggestion for what to take n...

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Local Bite Challenge Starts Today

...of you will join her. She and her partner will be eating locally for 100 days on a budget of 100 bucks a week.  There’s all sorts of activities and mini-challenges over the 100 day period to keep you inspired. So if you’ve considered eating more locally, but haven’t quite found the gumption to embrace it yet, this would be a fun way to take the plunge, and see what you learn about your local foodscape. This introduction page gi...

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An Omnivore’s Dilemma

I’m constantly amazed at the wide spectrum of people interested in the subjects profiled on this blog. Our readers run the gamut from leftists to libertarians, to Republicans, with a sprinkling of hunters, new moms, city dwellers, suburbanites, and more all united in the common goal of manifesting a better world. Of course such a wide coalition isn’t always going to agree on everything. This week we heard from some animal rights act...

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Garlic!

Our parkway guerrilla garden, profiled in last week’s Los Angeles Times article, which is now linked on BoingBoing, yielded up an impressive garlic harvest this season. Garlic is one of the easiest crops for us to grow here in Southern California. You just take the large, outer ring of cloves from store-bought garlic and stick them in the ground with the pointed side up interspersed throughout your other plantings–wherever you have s...

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Turnip Greens via The Silver Spoon

It took us way to long to discover that turnip greens are edible. They’re better than the turnips themselves, in our opinion. So how did we finally figure this out? The answer is by thumbing through a cookbook everybody interested in growing their own vegetables should own, The Silver Spoon*, which has a section devoted just to turnip green recipes. The Silver Spoon is a 1,263 page cookbook recently translated into English. It’s the...

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