Scarlet Runner Bean Stew

...en it comes to dried beans I almost always do the overnight soak method. To soak beans overnight, simply place your beans in a large pot. Rinse them and pick out any stones or broken beans. Fill the pot up 3/4 of the way with water and let soak overnight or for at least five hours. After their soak you may need to add more water. The beans can soak up a lot. Then cook on medium to high heat for about an hour. Test a bean. How done you want your b...

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Summer of Solar Cookin’

...oday: Solar Powered Navy Beans 2 cups navy beans a handful of celery leaves 5 garlic cloves, whole 1/4 cup pickled red onion (just sliced red onion soaked overnight in white wine vinegar- delicious with everything) Lots of water- maybe 4-5 cups You want to make sure to use plenty of water. Beans absorb a lot of water as they rehydrate and the solar cooker looses some moisture as it cooks. So err on the side of extra water. I’m not muc...

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Be Idle

...rgin olive oil, or more to taste 40 large mint leaves (a blend of spearmint and peppermint if possible) Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 pound linguine, spaghetti, bucatini, or other string pasta 6 quarts boiling salted water 1 1/3 pint baskets (1 pound) flavorful cherry tomatoes, quartered 1. Mix the cooled toasted nuts. Coarsely chop about one quarter of them and set aside. 2. In a mortar (a processor is second choice), pound (or grind)...

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Greywater Precautions

Before we continue our greywater series, we have a few precautions to lay down. The dangers of greywater have been exaggerated in the past and it’s important to remember that nobody in the US has ever gotten sick from exposure to greywater. The plumbing codes in this country are overly cautious in their restrictions on greywater use, as the Man, quite simply, wants you to throw perfectly good water down the sewer. On the other hand, a lot...

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How To Stop Powdery Mildew

...ed advice from UC Davis’ Integrated Pest Management page: Preventative measures: grow resistant varieties find a sunnier spot for the vegetable garden back off on nitrogen Non-chemical approaches sprinkle plants with water mid morning–add soap for more effectiveness remove infected leaves promptly and dispose of them Fungicides: apply horticultural oil, neem oil or jojoba oil if the temperature is under 90° F. Do not apply any of...

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Eight Things to Consider When Saving Vegetable Seeds

...want to save seed from need to be harvested well past when they’re still edible. 7. Prepping seeds In general, seeds harvested when dry, such as lettuce need to be air dried before storing. Seeds harvested wet, such as watermelons, need to be washed with water before drying and storing. Tomato seeds need to be fermented in water for a few days before drying. 8. Storage Moisture is the enemy of seed storage. Those packs of desiccant that c...

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Induced Demand

Image: Wikipedia. I was on the phone the other day having a conversation about greywater with a person enrolled in an entrepreneurial program. She asked me an excellent question: did having a greywater system cause me to use more water? She was alluding to a concept known as induced demand. In other words, when you have more of something you use more. Buy a hybrid car and you end up driving more miles since you don’t pay as much for gas. B...

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Artificial Turf: Is It Ever a Good Idea?

Another winning product from the folks at Monsanto. In the midst of a drought, our local Department of Water and Power is offering a $3 a square foot rebate for residents and businesses who remove their lawn in favor of less water hungry plantings. Those dollars add up if you’ve got even a modest sized backyard. But the devil is always in the details. While the LADWP has some very good information on lawn alternatives as well as training c...

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Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land

...a hungry future. To solve this puzzle, Nabhan takes a look at at existing desert agriculture, from the Sonoran desert to China to Oman. From the ancient past right up into the present, humans have been cleverly managing their water, soil and plants to gather harvests from some of the most inhospitable places on the planet. We have much to learn from them. Over and over he points out that we’re not meant to replicate the exact methods of the...

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Bean Fest, Episode 3: Bastardized Puerto Rican Beans

...dinner. Slow is the only way…. Everything tastes better with a heavy dose of expectation…. The bean does not humor any shortcuts. Soak (at least) overnight. Start cooking pre-soaked beans in lightly salted water (or broth, if you’ve got it lying around and feel decadent). Give them a bit of a head start before you start the rest of the dish. • I made this with black beans (though later he says he usually uses pintos o...

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