Are We Keeping Too Many Bees?

Image: Jonalthunder Someday I’ll get around to writing a fill in the blanks form for journalists doing the inevitable urban homesteading backlash story. You know, “Folks are tired of all the chores and are dumping their [chickens/vegetables/bees] and returning to a life of [shopping/golfing/riding jet skis].” This month’s backlash story concerns urban beekeeping in London. Reader Cassandra Silver (who has a really beautif...

Continue reading…

Legalize Beekeeping in LA!

Action alert: LA City Council will vote on legalizing bees this Wednesday. I got the following note from Francesca De La Rosa–If you’re in LA please consider writing your councilcritter or attending the council meeting. As you’ve heard, LA City Council is voting on 3 pending bee measures on Wednesday, February 12th (press conference at 9:15 am). These are the three items that will be voted on: #1: LEGALIZE URBAN BEEKEEPING IN LOS...

Continue reading…

Resources

These are our favorite web resources on various topics, and books which you’ll find on our bookshelves: General Home Ec/Appropriate Tech/DIY Living Mother Earth News How to Homestead Backwoods Home Magazine  AfriGadget  The Urban Homestead Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World Radical Homemakers The Integral Urban House Made by Hand Farm City The Natural Kitchen Country Wisdom and Know-How Wendell Berry’s ess...

Continue reading…

Sonora Wheat at the Huasna Valley Farm

...ly used for tortillas and posole. The Skinners served us some Sonora whole wheat biscuits that tasted as light as white flour but with a rich and complex flavor. Jenn Skinner To fight weeds (the big bugaboo of wheat farming) the Skinners plan on introducing Black Medic (Medicago lupulina) a leguminous plant that will fix nitrogen and out-compete unwanted weeds. The tall stalks of Sonora wheat will allow the medic to grow far below the s...

Continue reading…

Plum Lemon Tomato Power’s Heirloom Tomato

...d those loads of melamine laced pet food from China, they did somehow manage to track 1,840 confirmed cases of food-borne illnesses in domestic tomatoes. Again, urban homesteading revolutionaries, GROW YOUR OWN! We found that label and it’s a tomato called “Power’s Heirloom”. Here’s how the Seed Saver’s exchange catalog copy describes it, “First offered in the 1990 SSE Yearbook by Bruce McAllister from Fr...

Continue reading…

Upcoming Classes: Edible Gardening and Vermicomposting

...vermicomposting with a dry toilet or pet waste composting system* How to best use your castings in the garden* Tips for the apartment dweller* What to do with all those extra worms… And more! Nancy  Klehm is a long-time urban forager and grower, ecological system  designer, artist and intrepid soil builder. She spent over five years  designing and running a closed-loop vermicomposting project in Chicago  that used 100’s of thousands of worm...

Continue reading…

SoilWeb: An Online Soil Survey Resource

...s isn’t included for some reason). While highly technical, terms are explained via hyperlinks. You click on the table to the right of the map for more detailed information including suitability for farming. Of course in urban areas you never know what unpleasant surprises lurk beneath the surface such as concrete chunks and lead. SoilWeb won’t tip you off to those things, but it does give a good overall picture of the kind of soil you...

Continue reading…

Journal of the New Alchemists

...science background. The Journal has a refreshing research-based approach to its subject matter. The period I reviewed (their last decade of publication) covers mostly their agricultural experiments, but occasionally dips into urban planning and other subjects. Biodome. Image: Journal of the New Alchemy. It’s interesting to look back at their work to see what ideas went mainstream and what faded away. What didn’t stick is what Nassim T...

Continue reading…

Moringa!

Photo by Harvey McDaniel One of the big inspirations for starting our front yard urban farming efforts at the SurviveLA compound is a Philippino neighbor of ours who has turned his entire front yard and even the parkway into an edible garden featuring fruits and vegetables from his native land, most of which we have never seen before. This morning, while walking the dog, I found him cutting hundreds of long seed pods off of a small attractive...

Continue reading…