World’s Largest Chard Grows in SIP

...ew even bigger. Then, early this spring, as part of our whole “dealing with the lead” problem we tore out the two raised beds in Lead Central in order to dig out the clay beneath them to make adobe bricks. By 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...

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The Pinnacle of Permaculture: Tending the Wild

Book review: Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources by M. Kat Anderson, University of California Press, 2006 When the white man came to California, he found a verdant paradise: meadows thick with wildflowers and clover, stately groves of nut trees, abundant, healthy game and rivers full of fish. It was a land of endless bounty. The natives, often derogatorily called “Diggers...

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Book Review: 1491

...st pile up.  What I think back on most, though, is what is revealed through these stories about the relationship between nature and culture in pre-contact Americas. As with Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources , which we’ve reviewed here before, a picture rises of very active human management of natural resources. All across the Americas there is compelling evidence of inten...

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Of Stickers and Boomers

Wendell Berry, photo by Guy Mendes A suggestion for your weekend: Make time to settle into your favorite chair with a cup of tea, or a nice glass of wine and listen to “It All Turns on Affection” a lecture by the great Wendell Berry. This is the 2012 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, delivered at the Kennedy Center just this week. Now, I’ll admit that this lecture is more than an hour long–which is why I sugge...

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Squash Baby Reconsidered

a chalkboard could detail when things are ready to pick. 2. I could create an honor stand like the one at the organic farm I visited up in Bolinas, Gospel Flat Farm.  At Gospel Flat you drop your money in a box. Most of the time the stand is unstaffed. I could do the same and donate any (admittedly small) funds to a charity–perhaps a school garden. 3. In permaculture you value edges and marginal areas. It’s at these intersections...

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Cat Poop Compost Installment #2

...er composting solution in The Cat Poop Portal post. It’s been a while since we reported in, and I’ve received some gentle pokes from readers, so this is an update. Long story short, it’s going slowly. At the time of the last post we’d installed a 50 gallon drum in our side yard. That drum filled up fast. We have two indoor cats now (I think we only had one when this started) and they are slinky little poo machines. Also, w...

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Making Salves, Lip Balms & etc.: Close of the Calendula Series

...When using herb infused oils, you want to treat them gently and heat them as little as possible. Add essential oils: If you want to add any scent, or if you’re into the healing properties of essential oils, this is the time to stir them in–right after you take the mix off the heat, but before you pour it. For lip balms, I’ll add a few drops of peppermint essential oil. Do be careful with peppermint oil, though–too much wi...

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Homegrown Revolution at the Alt-Car Expo

...ds, but these hills build character. We’re what you might call “car-light”. Between Mr. and Mrs. Homegrown Revolution we still have a battered 1994 Nissan Sentra which spends the overwhelming majority of its time sitting in the garage collecting dust. Around the time we got rid of our second car we put together an Xtracycle. While it’s hard to improve on the basic design of the bicycle, the Xtracycle is a great way to haul...

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Greywater Guerrillas in LA this Weekend

...eck out their informative website and their new book Dam Nation. We especially enjoy the GG’s project examples. Here’s the 411 on their LA appearances: Saturday July 19th: Hands-On Greywater Installation Workshop. Time: 11am-3pmLocation: Silver Lake (You’ll get an email with directions once registered)Cost: $30-$40 sliding-scaleTo register: email Matt Moses Space is very limited so register early! Workshop will include a presen...

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The Food and Flowers Freedom Act

...r city dwellers in R1 zones to grow fruits, nuts, flowers or seedlings and sell them off-site – at local farmers’ markets for example. Furthermore, no one at City Hall can agree on what Truck Gardening is. We think it’s time for the City of Los Angeles to come into the 21st century and amend its municipal code to support the burgeoning urban farming movement. It’s time L.A. legalized urban farming in R1 zones as part of its commitment to g...

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