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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Holy Crap! What a Nice Rooftop Garden!

Photo by antifa123 Check out how these enterprising Chicagoans responded to the “but I don’t have room for a garden” argument via antifa173′s informative rooftop gardening Flickr set. Not only do you get to see their beautifully designed self-watering container system, but they tell you how to do it with detailed instructions!...

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World’s Largest Chard Grows in SIP

...this time SuperChard was so magnificent I couldn’t kill him (around this time I began to anthropomorphize the chard), so I trimmed off his outer leaves (some of which were as long as my arm) and transplanted him into a self-watering container (SIP). I knew that transplanting such a big, established plant would be difficult, but by this time I really wanted to harvest this plant’s seed. So I told him that I wanted to preserve his gene...

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Vertical Vegetables

...e! . Build some raised beds next to a wall or saw cut out the concrete, plant in the ground and you’re in business.With some slings for the fruit, you can even grow watermelons vertically. Alternately, buy or make some self irrigating planters (SIPs) and put them next to a wall. See the Green Roof Growers for what can be grown vertically with SIPs made from scavenged five gallon buckets. Or you can buy a commercially made SIP kit from the...

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Picture Sundays: A Keyhole Bed and Straw Bale Garden in Texas

John W. from Kerrville, Texas sent in some pictures of his garden. John says, This is my first year to use compost tea.  I am growing plants in two Keyhole Gardens, self watering 5 gal plastic buckets and two hay bales (coastal Bermuda hay) that have a wooden framework on top containing bulk landscaping compost from a local nursery. My plants are growing super fast and my tomatoes are loaded.  This looks to be the best garden I have ever had. J...

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Spore 1.1

Spore 1.1 from matt kenyon on Vimeo. From artists Matt Kenyon and Doug Easterly of S.W.A.M.P.(Studies in Work Atmospheres and Mass Production), “Spore 1.1.” It consists of a rubber tree plant, purchased from Home Depot, that is hooked up to a self-contained watering mechanism and calibrated on a weekly basis, according to the performance of Home Depot stock. If the Home Depot stock does well, Spore 1.1 gets watered. If Home Depot stock does...

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Garden Like a Pirate

...neighbors while watering and tending the space. Several neighbors have said that it encouraged them to plant their own vegetables, albeit in their back yards. With more people growing vegetables our neighborhood becomes more self-sufficient and a wasted space has been reclaimed. If all such marginal spaces, parkways, freeway embankments, vacant lots, and median strips were claimed by piratical gardeners and used for growing food, nobody would ev...

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Our Books

...well organized book–if we don’t say so ourselves. Here’s a preview what it looks like inside. Please forgive the black layout marks: The Urban Homestead (Expanded and Revised Edition): Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City (Process Self-reliance Series) by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen  “The contemporary bible on the subject” — The New York Times This celebrated, essential ha...

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On why our vegetable garden is such a disaster this year . . .

...y Fatigue and frustration–the double knockout punch of skunks and the hot weather left me on the ropes with little enthusiasm for ongoing gardening maintenance. Ego–forgetting that urban homesteading is not about self-sufficiency—to chase self-sufficiency is a fool’s errand. I should be happy just to have a few good salads and be thankful that I can buy good vegetables at a local farmer’s market. I don’t think self-suffic...

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Survival Gardening

...shop where we spent a fair amount of time, calculator in hand, figuring out how many calories you can squeeze from small spaces. What gets left out in the “survival garden” sales pitches is that, if you want real self-sufficiency, you’ve also got to maintain the soil fertility that you deplete by harvesting. To do that you need to grow all your own compost. For this, Jeavons suggests what he calls “carbon and calorie crop...

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