Review: Quaker Lower Sugar Instant Oatmeal

I prefer long cooked oatmeal when I’m at home, but we’ve always packed instant oatmeal with us when camping. I think the habit goes back to when Erik and I took epic backpacking trips, and food weight was a prime consideration. Now, camping is a more gentle endeavor–but the instant oatmeal has become a tradition, an easy no-brainer for sleepy grey mornings in the woods, even though its nutritional qualities...

Continue reading…

Saturday Linkages: Cheapskates and Controversy!

What happens when you Instagram airline food. Photo by John Walton. Cheapskates Three Friends Make An Attempt to ‘Live Below the Line’ http://thebillfold.com/2013/05/three-friends-make-an-attempt-to-live-below-the-line/ … How to make a cake pan banjo: http://boingboing.net/2013/05/10/how-to-make-a-cake-pan-banjo-u.html … Controversy Is Michael Pollan a sexist pig? http://www.salon.com/2013/04/28/is_michael_pollan_a_sexist_pi...

Continue reading…

How to Keep Squirrels and Birds From Eating Your Fruit

...w to deal with those pesky squirrels and birds in your fruit orchard. Noel says: I use those clear plastic fruit containers that are used for packing strawberries and grapes. I personally don’t buy fruit in these containers but I asked some neighbors and friends to save them for me and in a short time amassed a large collection. They snap shut over most fruit like these mangos and this helps to control fruit damage. Since they have vent hol...

Continue reading…

Compost Pail Comparison

Homegrown Neighbor here: Just a quick product review. Containers to hold your kitchen scraps are now common accoutrements sold in home stores. The idea is you fill them up as you prepare food and they are able to store the coffee grounds and broccoli stems without getting any flies or foul smells until you have a chance to get out to the compost pile. I used to use a large yogurt container for this and store it in the fridge. The problem was,...

Continue reading…

Peat-free Planting Mix Recipe With Coconut Coir

Nancy’s coconut coir-based planting mix. Here she’s doing the squeeze test, which we talk about below. From an environmental perspective peat moss is a nightmare. Mining of this material is unsustainable, contributes to global warming and destroys habitat for many plants and animals. But, for starting seeds, we’ve used it for years. Our friend Nancy Klehm taught us recently how to make a seed starting mix with coconut...

Continue reading…

Lady Urine, Water Conservation and Halfway Humanure

I approve of the oval shape of the opening of this funnel– and the sporty color. Fact 1: Human urine is an excellent source of nitrogen for your garden. It can be applied directly to a compost pile, or diluted 10:1 and used on plants. Fact 2: Nature has equipped the male of the species in such a manner that it is easy for him to contribute nitrogen to the compost pile. For women, it’s a bit more tricky. So, how do...

Continue reading…

Straw Bale Garden Part III: Adding Fertilizer

After watering our straw bales for three days our next step is to apply a high nitrogen fertilizer. We’re following West Virginia University Extension Service’s Straw Bale Gardening advice. They suggest a 1/2 cup of urea per bale or “bone meal, fish meal, or compost for a more organic approach.” (I think they mean blood meal as bone meal does not have much nitrogen in it.) Choosing the organic approach...

Continue reading…

A Prickly Situation

Today’s post is for clueless white folks as our hermanos y hermanas already know this shit. As we’ve suggested before the rule with landscaping at the Homegrown Evolution compound is, if you gotta water it you gotta be able to eat it. But there are a few miracle plants, well adapted to Southern California’s climate, that are both edible and don’t need watering. One of the most versatile is the prickly pear cactus, of whi...

Continue reading…

Happy Thanksgiving, Now Go Buy Something

...oticed a significant improvement in the health of our garden. The only book on vegetables you need to own. Haws Watering Can Jeavons turned me on to this. The can produces a gentle spray that is perfect for watering flats of seedlings. I can’t believe I lived without this thing. It’s expensive but worth it. The Urban Homestead And, of course, there’s our own book. If you order directly from us on the right side of this page, w...

Continue reading…

Make that 11 Vegetable Gardening Mistakes

...Vegetable Gardening Mistakes, several readers and Mrs. Homegrown pointed out that I left out “inconsistent watering.” I plead guilty. I would also suggest an “absentminded” watering category, such as setting up a irrigation system on a timer and not adjusting it throughout the season. And those of us in dry climates could also be better about selecting and saving seeds for drought tolerance. Gary Paul Nabhan and the folks...

Continue reading…