California’s Drought and What To Do About It

...wn urine. Knife fights with a bikini clad Sting will break out and we’ll be trading our bikes for rides on the over-sized worms emerging from our compost bins. But I digress. Let’s cover what we’re doing at the Root Simple compound. We’ve expanded our drought tolerant plantings over the past few years. These plants use less water and encourage beneficial wildlife. I consider them part of the vegetable garden, in a way. I...

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Natural Products Expo West: The Good and the Ugly

...Foods dumped into a funnel and shoved down your throat. It will be no surprise to most readers of this blog that the “natural” (whatever that means) food industry suffers from the same problems that plague our food system as a whole. Most of the products at the expo are highly processed and high in sugar. Just because something is labeled “gluten free” or “GMO free” does not make it healthy. Getting beyond the...

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Chicks, Mayonnaise and Personal Responsibility

...ponse to this is one big big eye roll. It’s time to point fingers toward ourselves. But instead of letting the guilt gnaw at us, or living in denial, we can take positive action–such as: 1) Stop buying eggs and products which contain eggs when they come from factory sources. And yes, 99% of eggs you find will be from sketchy factory farms. 2) While you’re at it, do the same for all meat and dairy raised by sketchy producers, whi...

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Delicious Cauliflower

...leftovers. Cauliflower in Tomato Sauce (Kharnabit Emforakeh) 1 large head of cauliflower 6-8 tablespoons of oil 2 cloves of garlic, crushed 3 green/spring onions, sliced thin (I’m sure you could sub. regular onion for this) 2 tablespoons tomato paste 2-3 tablespoons water 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 tsp black pepper juice of one lemon  (maybe 2 tablespoons–to taste) parsley for garnish Wash, core and break up the cauliflower into bite sized...

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Straw Bale Garden Tour Part II

In this video we take a tour of our straw bale garden as it appears this week. The vegetables varieties you see growing are Tromboncino squash, Lunga di Napoli squash (growing up into a native bush), Matt’s Wild Cherry tomato, Celebrity tomato, eggplant and Swiss chard. And just to take down my smugness a notch I also included a shot of an unsuccessful cucumber plant. Other than the cucumber, though, this is one of the most productive v...

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Roasted Asparagus

...e truth is all you have to do is roast it. Here’s a universal rule: everything tastes better roasted. Even vegetables. I can’t think of one vegetable that doesn’t roast nicely, and asparagus is one of my favorites. All vegetables are roasted the same way, basically, but here’s an asparagus specific recipe. Roasted Asparagus Pre-heat your oven to 400F (is that 200C?) Trim the pale, woody ends off of the asparagus. Lay the a...

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Edible and Tasty Arugula Flowers

Our winter vegetable garden is just about finished. This week I’m going to tear out most of it and plant tomatoes and a few other summer veggies. I may keep some of the arugula that has gone to flower a little longer. Why? arugula flower taste great in salads bees love them arugula self seeds readily The flowers, which taste like the leaves, are a reminder of my favorite time of year: arugula season. Each year I curse...

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Getting Hardscaping Right

...er long term maintenance. Choose materials that are durable and easy to maintain. Every home needs a “hide the s@#t fence.” There needs to be a place to put potting soils, shovels, compost piles etc. I’m just about to embark on a couple of building projects–extending the back patio deck, building permanent vegetable beds and the aforementioned hide the s@#t fence. This time I’m going to get it right! How have your h...

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Cat Litter Compost, Installment #3

...ard-to-access–and hot!–side yard. This meant I never wanted to tend it, and when I forced myself out there, I was pretty unhappy. There wasn’t even enough room to wield a shovel comfortably. 2) A big pile is a good pile. While I made this work in a 50 gallon drum, the best compost comes from a bin which is about 1 cubic meter/yard in size. Smaller bins just don’t heat up sufficiently, and are invariably pokey and hard to w...

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