Bees will love your Coyote Brush Hedge

Image: Wikipedia (our picture of the NHM’s coyote brush hedge came out blurry–which really is a shame because they were good looking hedges. You wouldn’t guess it from this pic). One of a series of posts inspired by our recent tour of the new gardens at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. Baccharis pilularis, called coyote brush, or chaparral bloom, is an unassuming Western native plant with a secret super-power: native and...

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Local Bite Challenge Starts Today

Sorry for the last minute notice, but I thought some of you might be interested in a project that our internet neighbor, Melissa, at Ever Growing Farm is launching her Local Bite Challenge today, and is hoping some 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’v...

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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 of the book sums i...

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Breadbaking (Level 1) Class at the Ecology Center

I’m teaching a basic no-knead bread class down in the OC at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano on Saturday February 8th. To sign up head over to the event page. Here’s the 411: Ditch the preservatives and plastic wrap. Join us and learn how to make homemade, all-natural bread from scratch. Take home fresh and ready-to-bake dough! There was a time in the not-so distant past that the smell of freshly baked bread permeated house...

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Pakistan Mulberries

Lora “Homegrown Neighbor” Hall was nice enough to drop off some freshly picked Pakistan mulberries (Morus macroura) gleaned from a house sitting gig. It’s one of the tastiest fruits I’ve ever had, very sweet, kinda like nature’s version of a Jolly Rancher. If you’ve never had a Pakistan mulberry it’s not surprising as it’s a fruit that simply doesn’t ship well. Here’s what the Califo...

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Root Simple Video Podcast in the iTunes Store

The Root Simple Video Podcast is now available in the iTunes store here. Currently there are two episodes, one on how to make a sourdough culture and the second on how to make a cotton ball fire starter. The videos can also be viewed on our website on our video page. The Root Simple Video Podcast is still in beta mode as we get the hang of editing for display on mobile devices. New episodes will appear soon including one on how to make a basic...

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New Homegrown Evolution Events Calendar Widget Thngy

Never mind this post. I’m in the process of creating a Google calendar for the site. Stay tuned. I’ve created an events listing widget for events we’re either involved with or simply think are cool. You will find this widget along the right side of this page and at http://twtvite.com/hgevolve. Click on an event and you’ll get a map and the ability to add the listing to your busy calendars. You can also Facebookasize it...

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Blue Garlic A-OK

Mrs. Homegrown here: Note the lovely blue tinge of the garlic in my latest pickling adventure. Turns out that there’s a few reasons garlic might turn blue or green when prepared, but whatever the case, the coloring is harmless. What most likely happened here is that the garlic I used wasn’t fully dried, so it reacted with the vinegar in the pickling mix. I remember noting how moist the garlic cloves were as I worked with them that...

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Canning Citrus

Say you’ve got a huge citrus tree and want to can some of it without using a lot of sugar. The nice thing about citrus is that it’s so acidic you can water bath can it in its own juice, in just water or in a light sugar syrup. In our Master Food Preserver class we did a taste test of tangerine sections canned in a variety of liquids: water very light syrup (1/2 cup sugar per quart) light syrup (1 cup sugar per quart) medium syrup (...

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