Essential System #7 – Repair Kit and Tools

We were going to use this category to wax poetic about the early 90s Leatherman multi-tool that we wear on our belts at all times but, hold the blog press here, self-sufficiency geniuses Stephen Box and Enci gifted us with a category-busting set of tools that, get this, fit within a tiny 30g (1.5 oz) Altoid tin! Believe it or not this pocket size Altoid tin contains the following items: 1 inner tube piece – a section of a bicycle tire tha...

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Essential System #5 – First Aid Kit

The assumption we make around the SurviveLA compound is that in a large scale emergency, such as an earthquake, we’ll be on our own for a while. Anyone who has been unlucky enough to visit the hospital emergency rooms of Los Angeles or any big city, even during non-peak hours, knows that your sorry ass often ends up on a stretcher parked in a forlorn hallway waiting for hours for a distracted and overworked doctor. Which is why, once again...

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Block Party Weekend

“Los Angeles is an army camped far from its sources of supply, using distant resources faster than nature renews them . . . Our region today is so dependent, so uninhabitable, yet so inhabited, that it must transform or die. Sooner or later it must generate its own food, fuel, water, wood and ores. It must use these at the rate that nature provides them. It can . . .”-Paul Glover Los Angeles: A History of the Future as quoted in...

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How to Build an Igloo

TRANSA | Iglu Bauanleitung from Sooli Entertainment on Vimeo. Paul Overton over at Dude Craft (a great website, by the way) described this slick video as “Swiss hipsters build an igloo.” Sure looks like fun. Instructions are in German, but I think the process is pretty self explanatory. Makes me want to head up into the mountains and give this a try....

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Saturday Linkages: A Close Shave, Building Codes and Protected Bike Lanes

Image: Garden Professor’s Blog. Should you shave tree roots? http://blogs.extension.org/gardenprofessors/2014/06/02/another-close-shave/ … Building Codes and the Self Built Mortgage Free Home http://wp.me/p4fosC-fx  Can These $20,000 Houses Save the American Dream http://tinyurl.com/o8vp8a8 Nancy Luce and her chickens: http://poultrybookstore.blogspot.com/2014/06/nancy-luce-and-her-chickens.html … Protected Bike Lanes Make the “Interested...

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SIP Improvement

Watermelon SIPs on the Chicago rooftop of the Green Roof Growers We’ve featured self-irrigating pots (SIPs) in our first book and have done a lot of experiments with them over the years. One of the problems with growing tomatoes in SIPs is that the roots can get into the water chamber and cause problems and diseases. I found a nice workaround to this problem via an anonymous tip on a BoingBoing tomato post: With tomatoes, you need...

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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...

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Events in Los Angeles This Weekend: SIP Workshop and Maria’s Garden

Saturday (i.e. TODAY!) On Saturday November 14th Kelly and I will be doing a Self Irrigating Pot (SIP) workshop in Westchester at 3 p.m. SIPs are a great way for folks in apartments to get into small scale vegetable gardening. Best of all the workshop is FREE FREE FREE! Here’s the location: Playa Del Oro at 8601 Lincoln Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045 Sunday Anne Hars, who lives a few blocks from us, helped save another neighbor’s gar...

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Reseeding Vegetables for the Warm Season

So what edible/useful plants pop up in lead contaminated soil along a hot, dry alternately sun-baked and deep-shaded south side of a house in Southern California? After dumping a load of compost along our side yard, mother nature is doing her own food forestry experiment. This month the following things popped up out of that load of compost: stinging nettle cardoon tomatoes nasturtium fennel sunflowers Elsewhere in the yard, New Zealand spin...

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Tomatoes in December

It ain’t pretty but I’m not complaining. Note to self: the tomatoes that sprout on their own are always the healthiest. The cherry tomato above has reseeded itself for at least 12 years. Sometimes its offspring survive the winter and grow as a perennial. Our climate sort of permits this but occasionally a cold night will kill tomatoes off. And each year the fruit declines in quality. This summer I transplanted two tomato se...

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