A Warning About Straw

...droppings! Straw is a very inexpensive and useful material for composting, mulching and animal bedding (we use it for all of these purposes). If you use it for mulch you’ll probably get some seeds that will germinate, but I’ve never found it to be a big problem in a small vegetable garden. I get my straw from the feed store, but you can often get it for free from yuppies on Craigslist who have bought it to give their parties the Hee...

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Los Angeles Announces Parkway Cemetery Program

...rkway cemeteries. Like many cities across America, Los Angeles has a huge debt, $350 million to put a number on it. So it comes as no surprise that city officials are seeking innovative ways of enhancing revenue sources.  Most often a tangle of weeds and compacted earth, parkways have seen attention in recent years as space for community orchards and vegetable plots. With LA’s new program, for just a $375 application fee and approval of t...

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Italian Dandelion Redux

Italian Dandelion (Cichorium intybus) It’s been a difficult winter growing season here in Los Angeles. Our unpredictable Mediterranean climate has thrown a few curve balls in the past few months courtesy of an ocean temperature phenomenon known as La Niña which has caused alternating periods of cool weather followed by 80º days and little rainfall. Our deciduous trees did not loose their leaves until after New Years, most of the winter ve...

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City Farm Chicago

Chicago’s City Farm is a stunning bit of green smack in the middle of the concrete jungle, sandwiched between the remnants of the controversial Cabrini-Green housing project and the Gold Coast. A program of the non-profit Resource Center, City Farm sells produce to chefs, operates a vegetable stand and provides opportunities for economically under-developed neighborhoods. City Farm is a mobile endeavor. The basic idea is to take advantage...

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Meet My Chickens: the continuing story of Chickenzilla

Homegrown Neighbor here. My chicken Whitey, a.k.a. Chickenzilla, has been laying some wonderful eggs lately. Of course, she is a meat chicken, not a layer. I think of her as a “rescue” chicken. Most meat chickens are harvested between just 7 and 10 weeks of age. At over a year old now, Chickenzilla is likely one of the oldest broiler hens alive.  But she is a surprisingly good layer, with a big, bad-ass personality to match her im...

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Make Mag

Readers of this blog will really enjoy the current issue of Make Magazine. “Volume 18: ReMake America! These challenging times have presented us with a rare chance to try out new ways of doing things. The opportunities for makers are terrific — we can start at home to remake manufacturing, education, food production, transportation, and recreation. In MAKE Volume 18 you’ll learn how to make an automatic garden, heat your water with t...

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Rats

...would probably just run into some other poor sucker’s house. Rat poison is a really bad idea. First of all it is deadly to pets and native animals that might find it. Secondly it can kill a predator such as a hawk or owl, that might prey on a poisoned rat. Lastly, poisoned rats have a bad tendency to climb into a wall and die leaving an inaccessible, stinky mess. SurviveLA would get in big trouble if we failed to send a shout out to our cat...

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Saturday Linkages: Hiding Spots, Bedbugs and Rodents of Unusual Size

Francesco Morackini’s stealth prohibition kit. Via Dornob. Prepping meets modern design Cheeky Kitchen Objects Hide a stealth prohibition kit| Designs & Ideas on Dornob http://dornob.com/cheeky-kitchen-objects-hide-a-provocative-secret-function/ … Hiding in Plain Sight: Brilliant DIY Safe in Overlooked Spot | Designs & Ideas on Dornob http://dornob.com/hiding-in-plain-sight-brilliant-diy-safe-in-overlooked-spot/...

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Stella Natura: Planting by the Signs

...ated our intellectual human landscape for so long. What we call materialism is not inherently wrong or negative. It is simply in extreme presence in our lives today. In other words, it’s already well represented in everything around us, including agriculture.” I put the calendar up by the stove. When I’m cooking (often during the past few months with vegetables from our winter garden) I look at the calendar. It’s a nice pr...

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Basil all winter long

Mrs. Homegrown here: Basil is a summer plant. When the nights get cold, basil turns unhappy. It yellows and loses flavor. Here in LA that doesn’t happen until quite late in the year. Erik just pulled out our summer basil a couple of days ago to make room for winter plants. I’m replacing it–in a culinary sense–with Italian parsley, which loves cool weather, but hates the heat. It seems our gardening year swings between...

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