Making Salves, Lip Balms & etc.: Close of the Calendula Series

...tial oils, this is the time to stir them in–right after you take the mix off the heat, but before you pour it. For lip balms, I’ll add a few drops of peppermint essential oil. Do be careful with peppermint oil, though–too much will make your lips burn. Think something along the lines of 2 drops of of peppermint essential oil per small tin of lip balm. It’s easy to warm it again and add more if you want it stronger. Same go...

Continue reading…

Adventures in Gardening Series: Wrap up on the Hippie Heart: Growing lentils and flax

...e Hippie Heart got a crew cut We’re clearing out our cool season crops for the warm season ones, so it’s time for some reporting on the new beds we’ve been profiling under the “Advances in Gardening” series. We’ll start with the Hippie Heart. The Hippie Heart is a heart-shaped bed where I was intending to experiment with planting seeds straight out of the pantry, ill-advised as that might seem, just to s...

Continue reading…

Ordo Ab Chao

...the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders turned into gardening advice.Got attention deficit disorder? Well, here’s how ya mix up your own potting mix. Face it, we’re all in the diagnostic manual somewhere. I suffer from a chronic lack of organizational ability. Square foot gardening has never worked for me–I just can’t keep up with the schedule. For some folks, I&...

Continue reading…

How to Make Stock

...Seriously. It’s terrible. In an emergency you’d be better off using a bouillon cube than that stuff. It’s easy. How do you use it? Think of it as super water. Substitute stock for water whenever you can. Use it: As the basis of any soup or stew To make sauces and gravy To cook beans To cook rice To cook any whole grain To cook pasta and couscous To make risotto To make polenta For braising vegetables or meat For sauteing veget...

Continue reading…

How to Search for Science-Based Gardening Advice

Agricola’s search page. In the course of writing our books and this blog we’ve had to deal with a lot of thorny gardening questions such as the effectiveness of double digging, the toxicity of persimmons, compost tea, lasagna gardening and how to mulch to name just a few. While the internet is an amazing tool, the number of conflicting commercial interests, biases and crazy talk in the eGardening world can make it...

Continue reading…

Is Urban Homesteading Over With?

...wards the end of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Judging from the results on “backyard chickens,” it looks like that it’s a trend that is growing in popularity. Some of this activity may be related to legalization efforts, but I’d like to think that it reflects a growing dissatisfaction with our industrial agriculture system. Gardening It seems that searches for gardening of all kinds–I tried “veget...

Continue reading…

Root Simple Edible Gardening Classes at the Huntington Ranch

...he class will be held at the Huntington’s spectacular Ranch. Here’s the details: March 10, 17 & 24 (Saturdays)9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.Learn everything you need to know to start your own organic vegetable garden in this hands-on series led by Erik Knutzen and Kelly Coyne of Root Simple. Sessions will take place entirely outdoors on The Huntington’s Ranch site and will cover all the basics of planning, planting, composting, soil scienc...

Continue reading…

Remember to Label Those Jars!

...ult of some late night canning frenzy two years ago. At the time I probably thought to myself, “I’ll label them in the morning.” Not only should the jars be labeled, but it would also have been nice to have some notes on the recipe I used and where the fruit was sourced from. To this end I’ve started a preservation diary in a useful program called Evernote. Perhaps I should get a tattoo on my forearm that says, “Lab...

Continue reading…

2011 in Review: Urban Homestead Trademark Dispute

...steading, and the Santa Monica Public Library. In addition DI successfully manged to get Facebook to take down a page about our book The Urban Homestead, that our publisher had put up, in addition to Denver Urban Homesteading’s Facebook page. As of this date both of those Facebook pages are still down. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and Winston & Strawn LLP have generously assisted us in challenging the DI’s trademarks. The D...

Continue reading…

How to make a Calendula oil infusion

...ndula Harvesting and drying Calendula Oil infusion is as simple as can be.  Oil infusion is soaking. Think of it like making sun tea. You take a nice clean jar with a good lid, and fill that about half way full of dried herb, top it off with oil, and let that sit in the sun. The resulting oil is medicinal. It can be used straight on the skin, or fashioned into salves and balms. I’m particularly fond of Calendula. As a skin treatment it...

Continue reading…