How to Process Carob

Before. Photo by Bill Wheelock. Our neighborhood has an abundance of carob (Ceratonia siliqua) trees that, around this time of year, drop thousands of pounds of pods. Now many of us may have unpleasant associations with carob as a 1970s era chocolate substitute, but the tree has a long history in the Middle East, where it’s used to make a tea, as a source of molasses, as a vegetable and as animal feed. The “locusts” th...

Continue reading…

Advances in Gardening Series: The Fan

...s winter’s fan is planted with, from left to right, Calendula, chamomile and bread seed poppies. I started the Calendula and chamomile in flats ahead of time, simply to get a head start, then transplanted them into their wedges this week. Poppies don’t like to be transplanted, so I sowed those seeds today. The original herb garden was a rough quarter circle. We kept that footprint, but used spare bricks to divide the shape into 3 sm...

Continue reading…

Block Party Weekend

...it must transform or die. Sooner or later it must generate its own food, fuel, water, wood and ores. It must use these at the rate that nature provides them. It can . . .”-Paul Glover Los Angeles: A History of the Future as quoted in the LAEV Overview SurviveLA dropped in this weekend on a block party thrown by the apartment homesteading pioneers at the Los Angeles Eco-Village. Founded in 1993, the Los Angeles Eco-Village is a so called...

Continue reading…

Greywater Precautions

Before we continue our greywater series, we have a few precautions to lay down. The dangers of greywater have been exaggerated in the past and it’s important to remember that nobody in the US has ever gotten sick from exposure to greywater. The plumbing codes in this country are overly cautious in their restrictions on greywater use, as the Man, quite simply, wants you to throw perfectly good water down the sewer. On the other hand, a lot...

Continue reading…

Showers to Flowers

...ed above, so that water can be shifted back to the sewer, if needed, such as during a long rainy period. Keeping the minimum fall rate in mind, run the pipe out to where you want to water. 3. Choose plants whose watering requirements match the amount of water coming out of your shower. To do this you’ll need to estimate how many showers and how much water you use per shower. Odds are it will be water hungry plants such as banana trees. 4. C...

Continue reading…

All Politics Are Local

...d our immediate environment: our household, our block, our school district, our city. All politics are local and the good thing about local politics is that you can make a difference. For instance you can: start a community or school garden volunteer to teach gardening or food preservation plant trees build neighborhood resilience and tolerance create bike lanes and walking paths legalize backyard poultry and bees Not that these local goals are...

Continue reading…

Medlar: The Best Fruit You’ve Never Heard Of

...re’s me. I’m shaking a branch. We picked up good looking ground fall, gathered what would fall when the branches were given a gentle shake, and picked any fully bletted fruits off the tree. The rest wait for a second harvest.  Graham, looking more stylin’ than me as he works. Here’s Joseph. He’s writing a cookbook. Notice how the trees are kept small for easy picking. All sorted....

Continue reading…

The Green Cone

...ur with his band in London, Malta, and Tunisia, sends us word of a “kitchen waste eliminator” called the Green Cone, that he bought after seeing a review in that modernist porn magazine Dwell. The cone part of the Green Cone sits on top of a basket buried in the ground. You put your kitchen waste in the cone, add some “accelerator powder” provided by the company, and let the waste dissolve into the ground. The system is si...

Continue reading…

A Question About Gophers

...se galvanized hardware cloth or gopher wire as an underground barrier. We even mentioned this in our first book. The main problem I have with this advice is that the galvanized metal used for hardware cloth and gopher wire leaches significant amounts of zinc as it breaks down. Zinc, in high quantities, is toxic to plants. And, when using cages for trees, I’d worry that the cages would not break down soon enough, causing the roots to circle....

Continue reading…

Figgy Rebuttal

Mrs. Homegrown here: I had to register my disagreement with Mr. Homegrown’s Mission Fig vs. Kadota Fig post. Seems Erik decided to hold a taste test and invite only himself. The Kadota figs are certainly very good. But much of that goodness comes from their sweetness. They are sweet as honey, but not cloying. I respect that, but I don’t crave it. Unlike Erik, I don’t have a sweet tooth. Therefore, of the two I prefer the les...

Continue reading…