2013 in Review Part II

...siting of the 3 mule guy (one of our most Googled posts, by the way). August I consider summer to be our winter in Los Angeles. It’s hot and dry and, other than harvesting tomatoes, summer here is not the best time for gardening. Time to contemplate closed vs. open floor plans and catch a crappy Hollywood movie. “Crappy Hollywood” is a redundancy, of course, as all Hollywood movies are crappy. September Mrs. Homegrown complain...

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How to Answer the Question, “What Should I Do With My Life?”

...pied much space on my book shelf). Instead I could have jumped ahead to what I’m doing now. Unsurprisingly, most of the books on my bookshelf, now and in the past, are how-to tomes relating to the subjects on this blog: gardening, poultry health, beekeeping, food preservation, baking, cooking and self-reliance. There’s another broad category : books relating to symbolism, Carl Jung, Rudolf Steiner and media theory. The rest are oddbal...

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Front Yard Vegetable Gardeners Fights Back

Hermine Ricketts, vegetable gardening outlaw. Photo: Greg Allen, NPR. I’ve got a tip for to city bureaucrats. Bust someone for growing vegetables in their front yard and you’ll be held up for ridicule around the world. This time it’s the city of Miami Shores’ turn to make fools of themselves for forcing Hermine Ricketts and her husband Tom Carroll to tear up the front yard vegetable garden they’ve tended for 17 year...

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Reforming City Codes

...eate city codes that work as guidelines, something like Christopher Alexander’s Pattern Language, rather than proscriptions. Take parkway planting regulations, for instance. Put together a group of landscape architects, gardening enthusiasts, native plant experts and come up with a guidebook rather than a list of rules. Ultimately, a human being is going to have to make a judgement call on whether something is a nuisance. My error with yest...

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Decomposed Granite as Mulch: A very bad idea

.... Skip the plastic liner. Eventually your new plantings will cover any bare areas if you space them correctly. It looks good,  and the mulch breaks down and turns into soil. You will still need to weed but that’s called gardening. Save the DG for walkways. Or use mulch on your walkways too. Mulch is free or low cost. Just ask your local arborist to drop off a load....

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A Year After the Age of Limits: Mr. Homegrown’s Take

...ncounter sessions and bongos. On the positive side, it was a pleasure to hang out with and talk to John Michael Greer. Throughout the conference he held court outside the tent and discussed many of my favorite topics: organic gardening, Ham radio, appropriate technology, fraternal societies and even letterpress printing. When a talk or activity annoyed me, I’d walk out and find Greer. What I would have liked to have seen at the Age of Limit...

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Can our landscapes model a vibrant future? Not according to the LA DWP.

...and they have lots of other things to think about. The default setting of a lawn plus a few shrubs up around the house foundation takes no thought, causes no problems with the neighbors and is easily maintained by inexpensive gardening services. What’s not to love, really? And why not hold on to our lawns, because the drought will pass and we’ll be back to normal. Asking people to re-imagine their yards is asking a lot. Yet it may be...

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Fashion on the Homestead

It’s about time I addressed, on this home economics/DIY/gardening blog, the importance of the way we dress. I’ve been bothered of late by my rumpled appearance. Like most Americans I wear in public what in an earlier era would have been considered pajamas. And I’m approaching fifty. The people I’ve met who have aged gracefully generally seem to dress well though not ostentatiously. Knowing what to wear and finding that w...

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A Seed Pokin’ Thingy

...pagation class we took at Urban Harvest, a non-profit located in Houston, Texas dedicated to, “Working with gardens and orchards to build healthy communities.” A special thanks to instructor Jean Fefer, an organic gardening expert and a Harris County Master Gardener and Plant Propagation Specialist. We heartily recommend Urban Harvest’s programs and classes to anyone interested in learning how to grow your own food....

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The Other Kind of Fencing

...ted informally in backyards. Then there’s Haitian machete fencing which I had never heard of until I ran across this trailer for a upcoming documentary on the subject. Could machete fencing be the perfect synthesis of gardening and martial arts? What did I leave out? I know many Root Simple readers are passionate about martial arts. Which one have you tried and what benefit did it have for you? If you’re in the LA area and would lik...

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