Looking for the Union Label

...sed to describe a song stuck in your head. Our earworm came after a search for union made socks and underwear on the internets recalled a highly catchy ad jingle from the roller disco era, “Look for the Union Label” (youngsters can watch it on youtube here). We looked for the union label and we were surprised to find it via a company called Union House which carries a functional, if unexciting line of apparel. Unless hipsters take to...

Continue reading…

How to Homestead

Homegrown Evolution’s Self Watering Container video is up on the brand new site How to Homestead, described by its creators as: “the only site on the web providing you with a collection of how to homestead videos to stream or download. No longer relegated to the rural sphere, homesteading can be done anywhere and we are here to show you how.” With many homesteading activities, from chicken slaughtering to tortellini making, int...

Continue reading…

Rain Barrels

...the number one household water use, you’ll be using that water where it is most needed. Now, once again at the risk of sounding like a broken record, our strict rule around the SurviveLA homestead is that all irrigated plants must be useful, i.e. you gotta be able to eat it or make tea with it. Priority in our plantings goes to useful plants that don’t need additional water once established. But it’s still nice to have citrus tr...

Continue reading…

Press

...sic Biography: Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen grow food, keep chickens, brew, bike, bake, and plot revolution from their 1/12-acre farm in the heart of Los Angeles. They are the keepers of the popular DIY blog, Root Simple, and the authors of The Urban Homestead (2008), which the New York Times calls “…the contemporary bible on the subject” and Making It (2011) a project book for post-consumer society. In addition to their writing and bloggin...

Continue reading…

Homegrown Evolution in Chicago

...ut of two buckets. As a bonus, meet Homegrown Evolution blogger and author Erik Knutzen, who will be co-teaching the class and signing copies of his book The Urban Homestead. Bring some gloves and learn how to make and plant your own SIP. Leave with everything you need for a summer of fresh heirloom tomatoes–all you add is about 6 hours of good sun per day in your yard, balcony, or roof and enough water to keep the reservoir full. No weeding, no...

Continue reading…

Gardening Resources in Los Angeles County

...he comments if you know of a resource that I should have included. Soil Testing Wallace Labs. When you fill out the form check off the box for “Standard Agricultural Soil Suitability Analysis.” All healthy gardens start with a soil test and Wallace Labs will have your results delivered by email within a few days. Arborist Tree Care LA (Nick Araya, ISA Certified Arborist and Oscar Sanchez). Nick and Oscar did a great job with our tre...

Continue reading…

Least Favorite Plant: Ficus benjamina

...s, “L.A.’s favorite underappreciated, unheralded, unfavorite curbside flora. I have no real love for these trees, per se, no sentimental attachment. They just express form and mass and scale and human intervention in a way that I enjoy, like nothing else in the urban landscape as I encounter it.” He’s wise to be neutral. A civil insurection broke out in Santa Monica over plans to replace ficus trees with ginko trees in the...

Continue reading…

Coffee Chaff Chickens

...easy to scoop up the poo when it’s mixed with fluffy wood shavings. It also smells better longer. Straw in the house is just sort of substandard. However…the big however….them’s dead trees we’re shoveling into our hen house, and as we all know, trees don’t grow on trees. But what’s a good alternative to shavings? Yesterday, Lyanda Haupt, author of Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness ,...

Continue reading…

How to Keep Skunks Out of the Yard

...k defenses held up, I scattered some flour around the gaps in the fence I had fixed. If skunks managed to get in they would leave tracks in the flour. Here’s what I discovered: My new skunk proofing was not keeping skunks out–it was keeping them in.  I found tracks in the flour on the inside of the fence where they were trying to get out. I also saw the skunk late at night. Understanding Urban Skunk Habitat In the wild skunks dig den...

Continue reading…

Podcasts for the Urban Homesteader

Let’s face it, mainstream radio programming, both talk and music, stinks. Podscasting democratizes the medium. Anyone with a microphone and laptop can make and distribute a podcast and, while quality varies, there’s a huge amount of excellent, highly specialized programming available. So should be on the iPods of urban homesteaders? I’ve got a few suggestions: Survival Podcast We just appeared on this podcast, which is hosted...

Continue reading…