SurviveLA Food Review: Mary Jane’s Farm Organic Buttery Herb Pasta

...nd works very well in that capacity. That said, it is ripe for doctoring, because it is so very basic. I brought along a handful of chopped sun-dried tomatoes from the SurviveLA gardens (and dehydrated in the compound’s solar dehydrator – more on that in a future post), and that added the perfect amount of interest. Nuts, canned tuna, fresh veggies if you wanted to carry them, all would work well too. You cook this entree in its own b...

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Hops in Containers Update

...the bine, but they’ll definitely try to get them in the compost pile. 6. Prune to the strongest two bines for each plant and train them in a “V” shape. It’s really important to keep different varieties labeled and separate so, come harvest time, you know which one is which. While painting the south side of our house I put up a pulley and rope system so that I can grow more hops. The pulleys will enable me to lower the bine...

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Propagating herbs via cuttings

...picious at all– on one of your cuttings, pull it out. You don’t want that spreading. If the cuttings are outdoors, you also have to protect them from heat and sun. Remember, the plastic could make your tray into a solar oven. We’ve come home after a day of unexpected heat to find our cuttings steam cooked in their trays. Move them to a shady spot if the weather is expected to be warm and sunny.  They like to be warm, but not too...

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The Construction of Secret Hiding Places

I love alternate views of our normal notions of domesticity and home economics. On a recent trip to the book section of a large surplus store I noticed our first book The Urban Homestead right alongside books on burying weapons caches, wiring solar panels, acting as your own dentist and assembling SKS rifles. We certainly have exciting company on this journey. One book in particular caught my eye, The Construction of Secret Hiding Places by Cha...

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Emergency water storage

...fter treatment. If you don’t, it’s not clean. Repeat the process. If you’re using iodine, use 10 drops per quart instead of 5. ETA: Forgot! Another way to disinfect water in an emergency situation is through solar water disinfection, or SODIS. Basically you fill up a clear plastic (PET) liter bottle–it has to be clear, and it can’t be bigger than a liter–and put it in intense sun for 6 hours. Filter the water f...

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Pimp My Cold Frame

While the climate here in Los Angeles is exceedingly mild–it rarely gets much below freezing–springtime can, some years, be too cold to get good germination of summer vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers. This was the case in 2010 when I was not able to get a single tomato seed to germinate until late May. To head off another seedling crisis I built a simple cold frame. In order to prevent the cold frame from becoming a solar...

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Block Party Weekend

...led “intentional community” of folks who, basically, give a damn and are interested in improving our forlorn, polluted, and abused city. The block party featured ecologically savvy and self-reliant touches such as solar ovens to cook the vegetarian buffet and photovoltaic panels to power the amplifiers of the bands entertaining the crowds on Bimini Street. The fine folks at the Bicycle Kitchen had a repair stand to fix people’s...

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