Straw Bale Garden Part II: Watering the Bales

In case you just joined us, we’re starting up a straw bale garden. I’ve decided to go with instructions provided by Washington State University. The first step is to wet the bales. Here’s what WSU suggests: To start the process, keep the straw bales wet for three to four weeks before planting. If you would like to speed up the process, here is a recipe that works well. Days 1 to 3: Water the bales thoroughly...

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Rooftop SIP Garden in LA

...it John Zapf’s vertiginous LA compound yesterday. He’s got an amazing rooftop vegetable garden using self irrigating pots. John has little sun in the yard so the roof is only option for veggies. He uses drip line to refill the reservoirs. Reminds me of the Green Roof Growers of Chicago (minus the extreme weather). His two cents on what to grow: chard good, zucchini good, corn in pots not so good. For more info on self irrigating pot...

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About Us

...le 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 bees, bike...

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Showers to Flowers

...ywater solutions is simply rerouting your shower straight out a pipe and into the garden. Here’s how to do it: 1. Confirm that your shower is higher than the point you are watering. The minimum fall for waste pipes is 1/4 inch per foot — any less and you’ll risk a backup. 2. Cut the waste line from your shower, making sure that you are cutting the pipe before the point it meets up with anything coming out of the toilet. Remember...

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Grow the Soil

Above, proof of the adage that you grow the soil not the plants. On the left a vigorous eggplant growing in high-end potting soil in a self-watering container. On the right a spindly, nitrogen starved specimen of the same variety of eggplant, planted at the same time, in our parkway garden. The container eggplant on the left is larger, has greener leaves and is obviously more healthy. The stunted eggplant on the right is the victim of depleted s...

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There Will Be Kraut Part II–Full Day Hands-On Fermentation Workshop at the Greystone Mansion

Part II of the Institute of Domestic Technology’s Fermentation Fest begins with a lecture on Friday, April 26. The next day will feature a hands-on workshop. Here’s the description from the IDT’s website: Full-Day Hands-On Fermentation Workshop: $195 (Includes lunch, snacks and a take-home fermentation jar) Saturday,  April 27th, 10 ~ 4pm  |   Greystone Mansion Vintage Kitchen  (Beverly Hills) Sign up here...

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Self-Righteousness Fail: We Bought a Car

...derstandably, she’s nervous about riding a bike in traffic here. While the bike network is getting better, it’s got a long way to go. Bike lanes have been squeezed in where it’s been convenient for engineers and politicians to do so. To make the bike network really work we’re going to need to begin a more uncomfortable conversation about taking away driving lanes and parking. We’ll know bike revolution has really beg...

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LA ecovillage: self-reliance in a car-free urban homestead

Johnny, who shot that nice video of us for faircompanies.com just made another video about our friends at the LA ecovillage. It’s well worth a view. Some of the most amazing folks in Los Angeles live there. And I like that fact that’s it’s an ecovillage smack dab in the middle of my beloved hometown. Make sure to also check out Johnny’s blog Granola Shotgun....

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Weeds into Fertilizer

Homegrown Neighbor here: Nettlemania continues here at Homegrown Evolution. It is raining which means even more nettles are on their way! My plants have set seed and there are tiny nettle plants popping up all over the place. But I want to tell you about my latest nettle experiment. I am going to ferment nettles into a liquid fertilizer. I placed a bunch of whole nettle plants into a large plastic trash can. I am going to stir the mixture eve...

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Vegetable Gardening for the Lazy

...flavored and we’ve eaten them both cooked and raw. The problem with this plant is finding one. Search for it on the internets and you’ll find other people searching for it. So dear readers, leave a comment on this post if you know of a good source either local or mail order. We’ll definitely be making some cuttings, as it would be nice to have more than one. 2. Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus). A member of the sunflo...

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