New Health Food Trends at the Natural Products Food Expo West

...rise of gluten free products. Gluten intolerance is a problem for many people. One out of 131 people have Celiac diseases and a great many more probably have some sort of wheat allergy. However, someone tell me why we have to label products like tomato sauce and raw chicken as being “gluten free?” Most new gluten free products, everything from pasta to crackers to power bars, use quinoa. The Natural Products Expo’s own trade pub...

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Review: Quaker Lower Sugar Instant Oatmeal

...y adding sucralose, the artificial sweetener known as Splenda (and kicking up the sodium significantly). The front of the box says nothing about artificial sweeteners. Diet foods will have a jaunty “With Splenda!” label, but this cereal apparently isn’t being marketed that way. The only indication that you’re dealing with a fake sugar product is in the list of ingredients, which I hadn’t checked. And that was a mista...

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Maintaining a Worm Bin

...g with the castings. If I wanted pretty worm castings–say if I were selling them–I wouldn’t put eggshells or fruit pits or pumpkin seeds into my bin at all. These things just linger and are hard to sift out. Harvesting the Castings Harvesting castings is the only hard part about keeping a bin–and it’s not even hard, it’s just somewhat less than convenient. No matter how long you rest one side of the bin, there...

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The Pinnacle of Permaculture: Tending the Wild

...his mythology apart. Anderson’s argument is that the native people of California were active stewards of the land. “Through coppicing, pruning, harrowing, sowing, weeding, burning, digging, thinning, and selective harvesting, they encouraged desired characteristics of individual plants, increased populations of useful plants, and altered the structures and compositions of plant communities. Regular burning of many types of vegetation...

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Adopt an Indigo Plant in Los Angeles

Artist Graham Keegan is crowd sourcing an indigo project here in Los Angeles. You can help out by adopting indigo seedlings and growing them out–then harvesting the leaves and joining the other growers for a couple of indigo dyeing fiestas. We realize this is a highly local post, but it’s a great idea, and we hope it might inspire some of you to do group growing/harvesting projects in your hometowns. Here’s the 411 from his we...

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A Prickly Situation

...a salad dressing. If forced by the zombie menace into a survival situation, the plant is a good source of water and can even be used to heal wounds. For nopolitos use only the young leaves and extreme care must be taken when harvesting both leaves and fruit. Wear gloves when harvesting and preparing both the fruit and the nopolitos, as the plant contains thousands of almost invisible barbed spines. Thankfully these spines are easy to remove by d...

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Gourmet Foraging and Advanced Acorn Processing

...week and see if I can replicate those sliders. In the meanwhile, after the jump  I’m going to share some processing tips that I picked up. Let us know if any of you process acorns,  and if you have any tips or recipes! Harvesting Acorns Pascal explained to us that acorn trees don’t bear full crops every year, so you have to keep your eyes open, and scout around to find trees which are in full production. All acorns are edible, they s...

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Permaculture Design Course at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano

...gn, presentation graphics, interview, site analysis, group brainstorm, mapping with graphics APRIL 12 / WATER – Water in context, water systems, homescale vs. large scale, appropriate scale technologies. Presentation on rainwater and greywater basics, fundamental earthworks basics, observation and mapping water excersize, greywater workshop, rain barrel building demo APRIL 13 / WATER OFF-SITE – including larger scale home systems desi...

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Decomposed Granite as Mulch: A very bad idea

...quotes because there’s no such thing as a low-maintenance garden). One of the favorite tools in the flipper landscaping toolbox is decomposed granite (DG) used as a mulch. Put some plastic landscape fabric down (blocks rainwater in our climate, fyi) and top that plastic with DG. They then punch some holes in the DG/plastic and pop in succulents and maybe a rosemary bush or two. By the time the yard becomes a sad, desertified tangle of unha...

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Self-Irrigating Gutter Update

...mix I used. If I want to grow strawberries again I’m going to have to thoroughly disinfect the gutters. The SIG is hooked up to a 55 gallon rain barrel. Unfortunately the lower gutter leaked around 50 gallons of stored rainwater down into the garage below (our house is on a hill and the garage is at street level). To prevent this problem in the future I put a manual irrigation timer on the barrel so that if there is a leak, I won’t l...

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