Water Conservation

...’t need supplemental irrigation. Our rule around the SurviveLA compound is, once again, if you gotta water it you gotta be able to eat it. The vegetables that we grow are irrigated with a water-saving drip irrigation system that we’ll describe in detail in a later post. We have no lawn, and other than the vegetable garden, all the other plants are either natives or from the Mediterranean, many of which are also edible. Reusing greywat...

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Backwoods Home Magazine

...you’ll have some idea what the always informative and entertaining Backwoods Home Magazine is like. Even though its primary emphasis is rural off-grid living, every issue has something to offer for the urban homesteader. The current January/February issue features a detailed article on how city dwellers can maximize their vegetable production in small spaces. Even the article on running a cattle ranch has the side benefit of letting us all know...

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How to Process Carob

...ations 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” that John the Baptist dined on were not insects but, instead, the pods of the carob tree. After. Photo by Bill Wheelock. In the Middle East carob has a reputation as a famine food. According to the carob article...

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A Recipe for Injera

One the many searches that leads folks to this cranky web site is the topic of the Ethiopian sponge bread known as injera. We think we know what’s going on. People go out to dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant and come home wondering how to make the bread, leading to a fruitless search of the internets for a recipe and our old post about one of the ingredients, teff flour. The recipe we used comes from the excellent book Wild Fermentation b...

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Compost Outlaws

...each week with produce scraps from a nearby restaurant and dumping them into her compost. A neighbor did not see it that way and complained about the compost, which Kolla has in two wood boxes covered with black plastic. “I didn’t put it here to offend anyone. I put it here because it’s a work area,” Kolla said one morning as she showed a visitor her half-acre urban farm, where she grows flowers as well as some other crops...

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Hugo, humanure and nettles

...es; he examined the plants, which were uprooted and already dried, and said: “They are dead. Nevertheless, it would be a good thing to know how to make use of them. When the nettle is young, the leaf makes an excellent vegetable; when it is older, it has filaments and fibres like hemp and flax. Nettle cloth is as good as linen cloth. Chopped up, nettles are good for poultry; pounded, they are good for horned cattle. The seed of the nettle,...

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Rapini is the New Broccoli

...broccoli rabe, broccoli raab, broccoletti, saag, broccoli di rape, cime di rapa, rappi, friarielli, and grelos. It’s a member of the brassica family and is closely related to the turnip. And, unlike most vegetables found in our supermarkets, it actually tastes like something, with a mustardy bitterness I really love. I planted about 18 square feet worth and Mrs. Homegrown and I have been eating it for weeks tossed in pasta, omelets and on...

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That ain’t a bowl full of larvae, it’s crosne!

...ecipe for Jerusalem artichoke. The recipe I used was a little too heavy on the mustard, otherwise I’d pass it on. The addition of some tumeric gave the pickles an appealing yellow color. I’ve been tossing them into salads to the horror of Mrs. Homegrown, who is not a fan of my crosne pickles. Eric Toensmeier, author of Perrenial Vegetables has a YouTube tour of his garden where you can see how he grows crosne. Toensmeier interplants...

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Notes on Mark Bittman’s “Behind the Scenes of What We Eat”

..., etc.) is much easier and is a good place to focus. Erik and I have seen that over and over again around here.  It is possible for us all to take action on the local level to support the sale and distribution of healthy food. Here’s a few of his recommendations for policy change: Transparency in labeling, in agriculture practice Regulation of damaging foods: basically make it harder to eat poorly and easier to eat well, for instance: Make...

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My Favorite Lettuce Mix

...e edible, and aggressive, fennel seedlings you can see amongst the lettuce (memo to self: cut down fennel before it goes to seed this year!). And, at the risk of repeating myself, I pretty much grow Franchi seeds exclusively. It’s a family run Italian company that dates back to 1783. This year I grew their “Misticanza All Lettuce” mesclun mix. It’s astonishingly beautiful and flavorful. Best damn salads...

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