Giveaway: What’s your favorite tip?

We want to give away a copy of our new book, Making It . To make this contest interesting for everyone, we’re asking you to give us a homesteading-type tip to enter. Leave us a comment on almost any subject you’ve had some experience with: gardening, fermenting, brewing, sewing, livestock, foraging, cleaning, cooking, building, general common sense–really, it can be just about anything. And the tip doesn’t have to be big...

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2013 in Review Part I

Straw bale garden: before and after. One of the side benefits of blogging is having a record of ideas and projects going back for years. I thought I’d spend the next two days looking at what happened, month by month, in 2013. January The main topic was how to deal with patellafemoral syndrome, aka bad knees. In May I did what I should have done 20 years ago: hire a personal trainer to set up a gym program tailored to my...

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Flowers from Vegetables

Whenever possible I let vegetables go to flower, sometimes to save the seed, but more often to share the bounty with insects and birds. The usefulness comes in two waves: the first being the pollinators attracted to the flowers, and once the flowers go to seed the birds will move in. Of course this means that I’m “wasting space” and making my garden “unproductive” but the rewards outweigh any inc...

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Loquat season is here!

photo courtesy of wikimedia Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) season is upon us here in our neighborhood of HaFoSaFo (that is, one special corner of Los Angeles). This post will not have much relevance to those of you who do not live in a subtropical or mild climate, but for those of you who do, I highly encourage you to get to know the humble yet mysterious loquat. Loquat trees abound in our neighborhood, and I don’t know if...

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World’s Largest Kale

The Franchi kale (collard?) “Galega De Folhas Lisas” I planted in the fall of 2012 has reached six feet. It’s a Portuguese variety used in a soup called Caldo Verde. Given that we have such a small yard I’ve really got to stop planting gargantuan vegetables like this and those ridiculous Lunga di Napoli squash. Root Simple is at risk of devolving into a geek with large veggie Tumblr site....

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Digital Farming- What’s The Deal?

Homegrown Neighbor here: So here in the world of urban homesteading things can get pretty busy. We can become so preoccupied with work, chickens, vegetable gardening, cooking, cleaning, blogging duties and email that we can miss some of the things going on in the world. I do like to occasionally check in with the world at large by reading the newspaper. I just read an article that I have to comment on. A recent New York Times article titled, &#...

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Straw Bale Garden Update: Success!

Ladies and gentleman, straw bale gardening works. I left town for a week earlier this month and, during my absence, the vegetables in the straw bale garden exploded in size. The Tromboncino squash on the left, is threatening to envelop the entire yard.  The tomatoes are equally vigorous and covered in ripening fruit. Zucchini is on the menu. While it takes an input of outside resources in the form of straw...

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Going Gray!

Got a nice note and some pics from Ben in Portland: “I bought your book and it has become my mission manual. We own a house in Portland, OR, and I just today did my first project out of the book – routing the shower drain into the garden. It cost about $60 for all the pipe, glue, a 2″ hole saw to drill through the wall, and a new drain kit (my old drain was decroded as crap). Our house is only 750 sq. ft. (plenty for me,...

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