Interview With Apartment Gardener Helen Kim

We got a lot of emails after posting the image above of Los Angeles based photographer Helen Kim’s astonishing windowsill garden. It’s a great example of what you can do with a small amount of space, and brings to mind William Morris’ advice, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”. Helen graciously sat down for an email interview to talk about her beautiful and useful garden...

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A Grand Tour

Say howdy to Wendy and Mikey, intrepid homesteaders from Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Thanks to the wonders of internet video we can all see what they’ve been up to: a long list of activities that includes, papercrete, oyster mushroom cultivation, DIY drip irrigation, vegetable gardening, rainwater harvesting, dome building and more. The Grand Tour from Mikey Sklar on Vimeo. Wendy and Mickey blog about their activities at blog.holy...

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How to Stake Tomatoes

Our tomato staking method around the Homegrown Evolution compound is simple and lazy. We plant our tomatoes and then surround them with rolled up concrete reinforcing wire. Normally used to reinforce concrete slabs, reinforcing wire comes in 3 1/2′ by 7′ sections. We use a circular saw with a metal blade on it to cut off the bottom rung, so as to leave spiky wires with which to stick the reinforcing wire tubes into the ground, but th...

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Country Wisdom

Thanks to a tip from the Soapboxers, SurviveLA augmented our homesteading library with a copy of the extremely useful book, Country Wisdom & Know-How by the editors of Storey Books. Country Wisdom is a compendium of tips culled from the Country Wisdom Bulletin published in the 1970s and oriented to the “back to the land” movement of that time. While geared to country living there is plenty in here for city dwellers such as ourse...

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Saturday Linkages: Will Your Next House Be Built With Mushrooms?

Fast Fungi Bricks via Dornob Gardening What I am reading from the Los Angeles Public Library: Organic Olives http:// catalog.lapl.org/carlweb/jsp/Do Search?databaseID=965&terms=5013187&index=z  …  Garden planter turns out to be Roman antique: http:// boingboing.net/2012/10/12/gar den-planter-turns-out-to-be.html  … DIY North House Folk School http:// lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/2012/10/north- house-folk-school.html#.UHTSPh...

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Cactus Thief Strikes Again

I knew this was going to happen. After the theft of the first of three barrel cacti in our front yard, I knew the perp would be back. Sure enough the second cacti disappeared the other night. Now I’m left with the smallest, and most pathetic of the three cacti. In response I considered rigging up some kind of Arduino based cacti security system that would set off an alarm and flashing strobe in the house. Attach a trip wire to the root sy...

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All Politics Are Local

I thought it appropriate on election day to repeat one of my favorite equations for happiness–a stoic flowchart that comes via Mark Fraenfelder of BoingBoing.  At the end of the day, about half of America will be happy, and half will be dismayed. All we can do is remember that beyond voting, we cannot control the outcome of the election. So a stoic would advise us to not to rail against what we cannot change or affect, but to focus on wha...

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Vote Yes on 37!

I don’t normally discuss politics on this blog. I feel that the topics we discuss under the banner of homesteading–such as gardening, alternative energy, alternative transpiration, home ec, health and fitness–unite people across the political spectrum. Overall, I’d rather focus on what we can do and what we have in common rather than the constant diet of strife and discontent served up by mainstream media. That being sai...

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Garden and Ego Destroyed by Skunks

At the risk of turning Root Simple into a skunk complaint blog, please witness the devastation to both my ego and my small patch of rapini. Luckily, I was able to get a picture of the perpetrator: Skunk lessons learned the hard way: tightly secure vegetable beds with bird netting don’t do a half-assed job with the hoops that support the bird netting don’t think that “this year those skunks won’t go digging for grubs.&#...

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Saturday Linkages: Makers, Haters and Beekeeping Donkeys

m/2012/11/step-by-step-tiny-home-design.html#.UKbP0iPHQeI.twitter … Open Source Ecology’s “Build Yourself”: http://boingboing.net/2012/11/14/open-source-ecologys-build.html … Popular Mechanics Magazines from the 1930s http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/2012/11/popular-mechanics-magazines-from-1930s.html#.UKbP-zJtCxE.twitter … People Are Suspicious About This Pee-Powered Generator http://motherboard.vice.com/2012/11/8/people-a...

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