Gift Suggestions, from the Other Half

...A fascinating resource documenting both historical uses and current scientific opinion on our native plants. My post on it is here. Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources by M. Kat Anderson, University of California Press, 2006 I’m still fascinated with this book’s thesis: that California Indians actively managed the California landscape, shaping it into the verdant par...

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Another Panel Solar Cooker

...fashion a sunshade alone into a solar panel cooker, I’ve found that they don’t stand up well in even a moderate wind. Plans for Poyourow’s cooker can be found here (pdf). She also has a list of solar cooking resources here. And yes, for most North Americans this is the wrong time of year to be blogging on this topic since, as the sun gets lower in the horizon, solar panel cooking season is almost over. But I’ve got a backl...

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Block Party Weekend

“Los Angeles is an army camped far from its sources of supply, using distant resources faster than nature renews them . . . Our region today is so dependent, so uninhabitable, yet so inhabited, that 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...

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We’re Changing

...figure things out. And really, that’s the best way to change. “What kind of changes?” you ask? Well, those ideas are still developing, but our overarching goal is to offer our readers more: more posts, more resources, more information, more voices.  This weekend, though, all we’re doing is changing our background to white, adding some navigation tabs, and changing our name. What’s our new name? Like the lady in the...

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The Cat Poop Portal: Litter Box Composting, Installment #1

...nciples as well having special instructions regarding the safe handling of poop. If you don’t know how to compost, I’d start there. That book is widely available, and they have a free pdf on their website. See our resources tab.  Our cat litter is compostable–we’ve been using both Feline Pine and Yesterdays News–pine and paper, respectively. Compostable litter is made up of a true carbon source–that means plan...

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Urine as a Fertilizer

...concentrations in urine samples were low compared with other organic fertilizers, but copper, mercury, nickel and zinc were 10–500 times higher in urine than in precipitation and surface waters. In a pot experiment with15N labelled human urine, higher gaseous losses and lower crop uptake (barley) of urine N than of labelled ammonium nitrate were found. Phosphorus present in urine was utilized at a higher rate than soluble phosphate, showing...

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Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

Every time we visit the nice folks at Petaluma Urban Homestead they send us home with some strange plant. Thanks to PUH, who are busy actually doing things as opposed to blogging about doing things, we now have a beautiful flowering mullein plant (Verbascum thapsus). Verbascum thapsus is one of those plants that most people think of as a weed. Native to Europe and Asia, Verbascum thapsus was introduced to North America because of its many medic...

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California Agriculture Journal Online

The University of California has put 63 years worth of its journal California Agriculture online for convenient downloading at californiaagriculture.ucanr.org. There’s plenty of detailed (peer reviewed!) nuggets for the home gardener between the pages of this scientific journal. Make sure to check out the article and video of UC Berkeley entomologist Gordon Frankie explaining what kinds of plants are best for attracting bees in your urban...

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Tell the Bees

Anderson removing a hive from a fence. Photo from the Backwards Beekeepers. Urban beekeeper Kirk Anderson has a vision: bees, kept without the use of chemicals, in backyards all over Los Angeles. Homegrown Evolution was lucky to be able to attend a beekeeping class taught by the very knowledgeable and entertaining Anderson, who has a theory: “There has been a lot of news stories about the bees dying. They became infested with a parasitic...

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