Mellow Yellow: How to Make Dandelion Wine

...will think you quaintly eccentric for foraging blossoms on your hands and knees. Note: collect blossoms (without the stem) that have just opened and are out of the path of insecticides and pesticides. So here’s how I make dandelion wine… I pour one gallon boiling water over one gallon dandelion flowers in a large bowl. When the blossoms rise (wait about twenty-four to forty-eight hours), I strain the yellow liquid out, squeezing the remaining li...

Continue reading…

A Rocket Stove Made From a Five Gallon Metal Bucket

...iece of 4″ vent pipe and a 90º elbow, I made the chimney. See the pdf for the exact dimensions. I traced the outline of the vent pipe on to the lid of the bucket and cut this hole out with a jig saw. Tin snips would also have worked. Using the vent pipe as a guide again, I cut out a 4″ hole near the bottom of the bucket. I used one part clay (harvested from the yard) to six parts vermiculite as my insulation material. Mixed with...

Continue reading…

USDA Releases New Hardiness Zone Map

The United States Department of Agriculture has just released a new zone hardiness map that reflects both a warming climate and new algorithms that take into account things like terrain, and proximity to bodies of water.  The map is also now searchable by zip code. You can access the new map here: http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb . For the background on how this map is different from the previous (1990) version, the USDA has a press...

Continue reading…

Cooking With Heritage Grains: Sonora Wheat Pasta

Once you start working with heritage grain varieties it’s hard to go back to the few choices in the flour aisle we have at most supermarkets. I managed to get my hands on some Sonora wheat a few months back and have been experimenting with it ever since. Traditionally used for tortillas, it’s also great for pancakes and bread. Yesterday I made pasta with Sonora wheat using a recipe by Whole Grain Connection founder Monica Spiller. Y...

Continue reading…

Broadleaf Plantain

...impact thusly: In turfgrass they form dense clumps that give poor footing for athletic fields and golf courses. The plantains have a texture and color that varies from normal turf cultivars, and their flower stalks extend above the turf, reducing its aesthetic quality. Frankly, SurviveLA applauds anything that will cause golfers to slip and fall. The world’s 35,000 golf courses use enough water each day to support 4.7 billion people. Pow...

Continue reading…

Hexayurt

...inflatable satellite dish). Designed by software engineer Vinay Gupta, who is working on this project full time, the “Hexayurt” costs somewhere between $200 and $500 to build, and requires only six cuts for each unit. The Hexayurt stacks flat for easy deployment in emergencies. Gupta has a suggested “Infrastructure Package” which includes heat, lights, water purification, and a composting toilet bringing the cost up somewh...

Continue reading…

LA’s Parkway Garden Dilemma: Not Fixed Yet

...edible?” Allow growing plants over 4-inches without permit fees. If plants are not allowed to go to flower they have little benefit to pollinating insects and birds. And we don’t need more lawn mowers and leaf blowers in this city. Get rid of the permit fees. Why should someone be charged to do the right thing, i.e. plant an attractive set of either edible or drought tolerant plants? There’s currently no permit fee to plant a wa...

Continue reading…

Getting Hardscaping Right

A water feature at Keeyla Meadows’ garden in Berkeley. One of the many lessons I learned on the tour I took of Bay Area gardens as part of the Garden Blogger’s Fling is that you’ve got to get the hardscaping right before even thinking about plants. When I asked garden designer Keeyla Meadows about the large stones in her garden she told me that they were craned in above the house. It was clear that at some po...

Continue reading…

Smurfs Team Up With US Forest Service

...cording to the Hollywood Reporter Sony’s work on this campaign was done “pro bono.” Of course, they do have a Smurf movie coming out this summer. The DiscoverTheForest website explains it all: As inhabitants of the forest, Smurfs are the perfect ambassadors for forest recreation. As these new PSAs remind us, the forest provides benefits such as clean air and fresh water, and provides children with the ability to explore, use the...

Continue reading…