How to make a Calendula oil infusion

...ndula Harvesting and drying Calendula Oil infusion is as simple as can be.  Oil infusion is soaking. Think of it like making sun tea. You take a nice clean jar with a good lid, and fill that about half way full of dried herb, top it off with oil, and let that sit in the sun. The resulting oil is medicinal. It can be used straight on the skin, or fashioned into salves and balms. I’m particularly fond of Calendula. As a skin treatment it...

Continue reading…

Harvesting and Drying Calendula

...you can probably return to harvest more every 3 days or so. The ideal time to harvest is in the morning, before it gets warm, but after the dew dries. You want them all fresh and perky and at their peak. This is traditional wisdom. However, I believe it’s better to harvest when you can than not at all, so I harvest at all times of day. A side note regarding seeds: If you don’t harvest the heads, they die back on their own, and then...

Continue reading…

Our Books

...streets. Provides step-by-step instructions for a wide range of projects, from building a 99-cent solar oven to making your own laundry soap to instructions for brewing beer. Making It is the go-to source for post-consumer living activities that are fun, inexpensive and eminently doable. Our goal in this book was to provide really stripped down, simple projects that use only inexpensive, easy to source materials. We also tried to use the same m...

Continue reading…

Adventures in Gardening Series: Wrap up on the Hippie Heart: Growing lentils and flax

...with the Hippie Heart. The Hippie Heart is a heart-shaped bed where I was intending to experiment with planting seeds straight out of the pantry, ill-advised as that might seem, just to see what happened. Erik grumbled at this plan–and for good reason, since a lot of seeds we can buy in bulk bins may be hybrid, sterile or irradiated. But I wanted to try it anyway. This first season I planted the Heart with bulk bin flax seed and lentils fr...

Continue reading…

Back on the Yogurt Train: How to Make Yogurt

...to make yogurt. In fact, I do believe we covered it in our book. Thing is, back in the day when we made yogurt, it was Erik’s job. When he slacked on it, I didn’t even consider picking it up. Chalk it up to the mysteries of division of labor in a household. Anyway, we went to see Mark Frauenfelder talk about his great new book, Made by Hand , and one of things he mentioned was how much he and his family are digging making their own...

Continue reading…

Great Seeds Grow Great Gardens

...t selection of vegetables, herbs and flowers to choose from. My very favorite plant from their collection is the Italian Nero Kale. I eat huge, heaping kale salads from my garden on a regular basis. I didn’t used to like kale, now I love it. And of course seeds make great gifts. Seed packets make great stocking stuffers, or cute adornments on packages. Botanical Interests also offers great collections of seeds such as a children’s g...

Continue reading…

Bad Forager: Mistaking Hemlock for Fennel

...d gasping, they look a lot alike. They are both whittled down to nothing but tall brown flower stalks with a few seeds still clinging to the uppermost stems. In this state, they can look remarkably similar. Fennel or hemlock seeds? (photo courtesy of Wikimedia) And so I was fooled while out on a food forage hike last week. It was grim pickings out there! Acorns seem to be the only thing left to eat in the wild until the rains come. I’d samp...

Continue reading…

Grow Italian!

It’s almost time to start planting seeds for the most productive growing season in Southern California – winter. While our friends in the cold parts of the country will be freezing their asses off we’ll be picking gourmet salads (sorry to rub it in). Since the climate here is like southern Italy, we like to plant Italian varieties. Which brings us to the source of many of our seeds at the Homegrown Evolution compound, Seeds fr...

Continue reading…

Spreadin’ Seed

...t member supported organization that maintains a seed bank of over 25,000 varieties of vegetables. You can order seeds from them at www.seedsavers.org. Catalogs We’ve been obsessed with the Italian seed company Franchi for almost ten years now. Meeting the west coast distributor Craig Ruggless at the seed swap and seeing his display racks of seeds was the horticultural geek equivalent of bumping into a rock star. Craig’s got a blog h...

Continue reading…

Bulk Bin Microgreens

...o and set about to perform a germination test to see how well they would work. The test consisted of putting the seeds in a folded and moistened paper towel and placing the towel and seeds into a sealed plastic sandwich bag. Here are the results: Amaranth I’d say above 90% of the seeds germinated. Amaranth seeds are so small that it was impossible for me to count out a precise number, but it looks like virtually all sprouted. Popcorn 10...

Continue reading…