Healing the yard with a huge compost pile

...d beds and fill them with imported soil (soil which has, hopefully, been tested for lead!). Some people put plastic sheeting or rock barriers between the imported soil or native soil, which in effect makes the beds into giant containers. We did something a little different–and a lot harder. We dug out a huge pit where our beds used to be. When I say “we,” I mean Erik dug a huge pit. (Somehow I weaseled out of this project.) This...

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My Trip to Maker Faire

...all the ways you can roast your own coffee. Expensive AK-47 toting garden gnomes. And solar powered bikes. Not sure how this would work out on an LA street. Someone in the Homegrown area was processing greywater in bulk containers planted with bamboo. Overall I had a great time. It was a wee bit heavy on the robots and 3d printer gadgets but that’s to be expected. At least there were a few chickens present to balance out the proceedi...

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Edible Landscaping and Gardening Classes With Darren Butler

...have moved to Southern California after gardening elsewhere, or who haven’t been satisfied with their garden yields. Expected topics include seed starting, seasonality and what to do when, building raised beds, choosing containers, plant selection, transplanting, soil preparation, irrigation, wise water use, pest management (weeds, diseases, insects), beneficial insects, composting, harvesting, and seed saving. INTERMEDIATE ORGANIC GARDENIN...

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Rain Barrels

...quirements and weight of thousands of gallons of stored water. Thankfully, there are simpler strategies for harvesting rainwater. Rainwater used for irrigating plants does not need filtering or purification, and since outdoor watering accounts for the number one household water use, you’ll be using that water where it is most needed. Now, once again at the risk of sounding like a broken record, our strict rule around the SurviveLA homestead...

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Vegetable Gardening for the Lazy

One of the problems with growing vegetables is all the labor involved–starting seeds, composting, watering and watching out for bugs. It’s worth it, of course, for the tasty rewards, but many busy folks are simply too exhausted after work or corralling the bambinos to pick up a shovel and garden. For those who’d rather sit on the porch with a martini than laboring in the field, and we often include ourselves in that category, p...

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Cargo Bike Roundup

...!” We imagine this sturdy old model, pictured above, delivering barrels of sauerkraut, blood sausage and hefeweisen to the local Bier Garten. The bike equivalent of the sturdy old Frau behind the bar at our local German watering hole, the Red Lion. This is Utility with a capital U. Sadly, Mr. Homegrown Evolution has forgotten every word of his college German, so all we can make out is that this bike represents the Grüne Liga, some sort of e...

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Arduino Homesteading Projects

An Arduino-based chicken coop controller on Instructables. At the risk of putting high tech in our low tech, I just took an introductory Arduino class at Crash Space along with the folks at Zapf Architectural Renderings. An Arduino is a simple, low cost microcontroller thingy. It’s got a bunch of digital outputs, analog and digital inputs and a programmable microchip. You download a program onto the chip (either one you’ve written yo...

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Root Simple Video Podcast Episode 3: A Tour of Our Straw Bale Garden

...ted planting the bales. In the video you’ll see the veggies we planted in early June. The soaker hose you see comes from Home Depot. I’m pretty sure it is this stuff. Every other week I add some fish emulsion to a watering can and hand water the plants to make sure they have enough nutrients. Leave your questions in the comments. And you can download a copy of this video here. And note that the Root Simple Video Podcast is now availab...

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