How to Plan a Vegetable Garden

...Action is in cooler Northern California) I decided to treat the late summer/early fall as our “winter”. Growing vegetables in the hot, dry late summer here in Southern California is, frankly, a pain in the ass and water intensive. It’s a time when I’d rather just take a break from vegetable gardening and just grow a bunch of drought tolerant sunflowers, amaranth, cowpeas etc. On the other hand, winter here is the best time...

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Only at Home: Huntington Ranch Symposium Nov. 18

...ions, and Botanical GardensSan Marino, CA Marking the second year of Ranch operations, this one-day symposium focuses on aspects of urban agriculture that can’t be duplicated in commercial settings. From the use of gray water irrigation systems to growing offbeat edibles, learn how to harvest the unique potential from your home garden. From 8:30am to 5:00pm. Featuring: Master gardener Yvonne Savio, native plant specialist Lili Singer, the g...

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Growing Greens Under Fruit Trees

...s taken last weekend, you see a field of: mallow daikon radish arugula mustard  vetch calendula cabbage Except for the vetch, which helps build soil, all are edible and nutritious. It was grown with almost no supplemental water. Labor involved removing unwanted grasses in the first year and spreading seeds. And all of these plants readily reseed themselves. Depending on your climate, the plants you use for this strategy could vary, but the i...

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How To Design a Garden Step II: Using Google Earth to Draw Up a Plan

So you’ve set the goals for your garden, as we outlined in a post earlier this week, and you’re ready to start putting pen to paper. Google Earth makes it easy to quickly create a plan to scale. Zoom in on the space you want to garden and print out an image. Next, take separate sheets of tracing paper and use them to map out: your goals existing conditions such as trees and buildings future plantings where water flows when it rain...

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Finding an Urban Homestead on Craigslist

...-fryer (one of us is a southerner). We are not a co-op – we cook our own meals and live our own busy lives, but we all pitch in to maintain our little homestead. If you don’t mind occasionally turning the garden water on, feeding the chickens, and turning the compost, then this could be beautiful. If you like to drink Budweiser and watch teevee at 3 a.m., well, you can do that in the comfort of your room. Your roommates will be a...

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Cooking With Heritage Grains: Sonora Wheat Pasta

...Yesterday I made pasta with Sonora wheat using a recipe by Whole Grain Connection founder Monica Spiller. You can find the recipe and others on sustainablegrains.org. To make this eggless pasta, all you do is combine heated water, Sonora wheat and salt and run it through a pasta maker. The result? A pasta with a pleasing nutty flavor and a beautiful light brown color....

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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...

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Building With Adobe

Architect and Root Simple friend Ben Loescher, along with Kurt Gardella, is teaching a class on adobe construction. I’m going to attend the second day, November 6th, and hope to see some of you there. Adobe has a storied past and a promising future in the Southwest U.S., in my opinion. Here’s the info on the class: adobeisnotsoftware is pleased to host Kurt Gardella for the first in a series of classes on adobe construction within C...

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Urine as a Fertilizer

concentrations in urine samples were low compared with other organic fertilizers, but copper, mercury, nickel and zinc were 10–500 times higher in urine than in precipitation and surface waters. In a pot experiment with15N labelled human urine, higher gaseous losses and lower crop uptake (barley) of urine N than of labelled ammonium nitrate were found. Phosphorus present in urine was utilized at a higher rate than soluble phosphate, showing...

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