About Us

Root Simple is Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen, authors of The Urban Homestead (Expanded and Revised Edition): Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City (2008) and Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World (2011).  They live in the heart of Los Angeles, in a little bungalow set on a 1/12 acre lot where almost all of their land is devoted to growing edible or otherwise useful plants and trees. Their obsessions include...

Continue reading…

Hippie Heart Horizontal

  Mrs. Homegrown here: So I was wrong about the rains in that self-pitying post I wrote a week or two ago. They came again. (But this time, I really do think this is our last spate of rain.) It was a strong, blustery storm and it laid our flax flat. The poor hippie heart. It had just started to bloom. Those little blue flowers turn to pods. Each pod holds a few seeds. That’s where flax seeds come from. As a city girl, I find t...

Continue reading…

Stinging Nettles and Cat Allergies

...17;s a Google Books link.) Do nettles really work for allergies? I don’t know. It may be all in my head–but you know what? I’m all for the placebo effect. That’s not a negative term in my book at all. Self-healing is the best healing. Nettles are also really good for you, being full of minerals and green goodness–so there’s no reason not to try. They’re also free for the gathering in most places. I make...

Continue reading…

Mitchell Joachim’s Techno-Utopian Future

...-vitro cultured meat and the favorite of contemporary futurists, high rise hydroponic farms. Sheep Cars. Mitchell Joachim I really couldn’t tell if Joachim was simply trying to provoke a discussion, delusional, self-promoting, or engaged in some kind of conceptual art project in which we, the gullible audience, were part of an elaborate ironic or post-ironic house of mirrors. Joachim seems hipper than old school World’s Fair...

Continue reading…

Reseeding Vegetables for the Warm Season

...vegetables that easily re-seed themselves and grow without any fuss. And knowing when to plant things can be tricky, so watching nature’s own timing can provide important clues. I’ve taken to moving some of these self-seeded plants to our raised beds. And I’ve pledged to take better notes (this blog post, for instance) to keep a record of what comes up on its own and when. So tell us where you are and what’s sprouting on...

Continue reading…

Disconnect to Reconnect: Ditching the “Flushie” for a Composting Toilet

...ing or disavowing the hypothetical frequency of their natural propensities.] to avoid creating such monsters and yet, the flushie needs snaking every day soon after the post-caffeine effect. Using a closet augur looked pretty self-explanatory, but I decided to check in with YouTube University and watch ‘the pros’ do it. I was fortunate to find a true pro: Ramona’s Plumbing, a D.I.Y. plumbing site with 36 videos uploaded of Greg Chick, a licensed...

Continue reading…

Five Gallon Ideas: A Blog Devoted to the Five Gallon Bucket

I’ve got a new favorite blog: Five Gallon Ideas which is, as you might have guessed, devoted to what to do with five gallon buckets. Incidentally, my favorite place to find five gallon buckets is behind bad bakeries–the sort that go through buckets of crappy frosting. My favorite use for five gallon buckets? Self Irrigating Pots, of course! Let us know where you scavenge five gallon buckets and what you like to do with them....

Continue reading…

Pascal Baudar: Rock Star Forager

Photo by Mia Wasilevich Los Angeles is home to a new rock star of foraging, Pascal Baudar. Originally from Belgium, I met Pascal through the Master Food Preserver program. Pascal teaches some amazing foraging classes in the Los Angeles area that you can sign up for via his meetup group: Los Angegles Wild Edibles and Self Reliance. He also has a website, Urban Outdoor Skills. What makes Pascal different from may other foragers is that he...

Continue reading…

New Zealand Spinach is the New . . . Spinach

Spotted in a neglected corner of our backyard: New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides). What’s interesting is that it self-seeded and grew with no supplemental water in the middle of summer in lead and zinc contaminated soil.  We’ve never been able to grow regular (and unrelated) spinach here. But there’s no stopping the New Zealand spinach. Due to the heavy metal problem we won’t be eating this particular specim...

Continue reading…

Doomsday Preppers: Exploitative, Uninteresting, Unreal “Reality”

...story. Doomsday Preppers delivers the unconscious message of its cynical producer, that you are crazy if you don’t just “act normal”, consume and shop. It holds its subjects up for ridicule because they are self-actuated people and, hence, “different”. The people profiled (victimized would be a better word) on Doomsday Preppers are actually getting up off the couch and doing something: growing food, building communi...

Continue reading…