On the Back Porch of America

I rag on Hollywood a lot. But today, for a change, I get to point to something positive. Root Simple pal and LA bike revolutionary, Ben Guzman and his business partner Angela Wood produce videos, through their company Small Medium Large, that readers of this blog will love. Small Medium Large’s series, The Back Porch of America, is like the Foxfire books come to life. You can watch a couple of episodes here. This is what television woul...

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Online Adobe Classes With Kurt Gardella

Kurt Gardella, who built our adobe oven, will be teaching a few online classes. More information after the jump. Dear adobe friends, I wanted to remind you that I am teaching 2 Adobe in Action online classes beginning next Monday, March 17th. The History & Basics class will give you all of the skills you need to find and test soils for use in adobe construction and also take you through the process of making your own adob...

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The Theme of a Great Garden

...rough stonework and the use of California native plants. The garden feels as if exists in a time before humans. It got me wondering how thematics would play out in a more modest home landscape. Perhaps, when it comes time to design a garden it would be useful to toss around a few abstract words and ideas to help unify the design vocabulary of the garden. Picking a theme or several related themes could make it easier when it comes to making plant...

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How to Deal with Extremely Root Bound Plants

...I’ve found that root bound plants are often dehydrated plants, because the pots are mostly full of roots, making the soil hard and water repellant. If this is so, it helps to give the plants a good soaking before you un-pot them by placing them in a bucket of water for a few minutes. Method A) Mildly root bound plants can be helped along by gently massaging the root ball with your hands just before planting to loosen the roots and open the...

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Ten Uses for Palm Fronds

...is will work with Washingtonia. 8. Palm frond origami. I’m excited about this idea. Here’s how to do it. 9. Use as a symbol of victory. Palm fronds have symbolic meanings across numerous cultures. 10. Rob a liquor store. I’m not making this up. Via Bob in Oz. One runner-up idea: hugelkultur.  I’m skeptical. What did I leave out? Basket weavers do you have any tips? Please tell me I don’t need to scale the tree to...

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005 Amy and Vince of Tenth Acre Farm

...y productive. Amy shares why buying a pressure canner is a good investment. We talked to Vince about his post on making a non-electric mason jar vacuum sealer with an automotive brake bleeder. This is a cool and low cost alternative to the electric Food Saver vacuum sealer. And Amy discussed her provocative post on why they don’t keep chickens. According to Amy, homesteading is “more of a marathon than a sprint.” They are in it...

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Creating a Moon Garden

...n garden? For many people, nighttime is the only chance to see the garden during a busy work week. And sometimes it’s more pleasant to avoid the heat of the day and enjoy a garden after the blazing sun goes down. But perhaps most importantly, our gardens can provide habitat for night pollinators and other wildlife. Bornstein had a number of great tips for making a garden interesting at night: Consider color. White flowers, of course, will...

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Shoemaking workshop in Los Angeles, Oct. 16-19

...r, my friend Randy Fritz is coming down from Santa Barbara to teach a small 4 day class here in LA from Thursday 10/16 to Sunday 10/19  on how to make turnshoes, a medieval shoe style so called because it is stitched wrong side out and then turned to hide the seams. As far as I know, no one else is teaching this kind of class in the greater LA area. This is deep North Coast hippie technology, imported guerrilla style to the land of tottering plat...

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012 Damnation, Good Books and Listener Questions

...ik is reading Psychomagic by Alejandro Jodorowsky. Listener Questions We answer Gloria’s questions about making bread, weeds and fertilizer. Summary: get Josey Baker Bread, mulch and pee in your garden! If you want to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected]  You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. The theme music is by Dr. Frankenstein....

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Koreatown Market Tour with Hae Jung Cho

...a guest on episode 6 of the Root Simple Podcast, is leading a Koreatown Market Tour on Saturday August 23, from 10 to 1: Ever wonder which products at the Korean market are organic or what kind of pepper flakes to buy for making kimchi? Join me for a guided tour of supermarkets and specialty food shops in Koreatown. The tour is geared toward people who want to cook and eat Korean food at home, especially those who want to make kimchi. Cost: $25....

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