Problems Part I

The road to urban homesteading ain’t smooth and involves more than a few potholes along the way. Some of those potholes will swallow a bike tire while others are big enough for a Hummer. But with persistence it becomes easier to deal with the occasional bump, lessons can be learned and future mistakes avoided. With the popularity of our earlier blunders post, I’d like to begin regularly sharing problems as they develop. Here’s...

Continue reading…

Polyculture

Here at SurviveLA we are experimenting with something called polyculture in the the garden. We read about it first in the worthy permaculture guide, Gaia’s Garden, by Toby Hemenway. Polyculture is the practice of planting a community of interrelated, interdependent plants, mimicking in your garden (in our case a raised vegetable bed) the complex relationships that are found between plants in nature. In the case of food crops, a polycultu...

Continue reading…

Moringa!

...from more mature pods and eaten like peas or roasted like nuts. The flowers are edible when cooked, and are said to taste like mushrooms. The roots are shredded and used as a condiment in the same way as horseradish, however it contains the alkaloid spirochin, a potentially fatal nerve paralyzing agent, so such practices should be strongly discouraged. The leaves are highly nutritious, being a significant source of beta-carotene, Vitamin C, prot...

Continue reading…

Broadleaf Plantain

...cooked. The seeds can also be eaten either raw or roasted, though we should note that they have a laxative effect (nothin’ wrong with that!). The plant can also be used to treat wounds, by soaking the plant and applying it to the injured area. A tea can be made of the leaves that will treat diarrhea. Broadleaf plantain was apparently one of the first so-called “weeds” introduced to the New World by the Europeans, which is why th...

Continue reading…

Hexayurt

...re 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 somewhat, but still much less than FEMA’s $30,000 trailers. While not the most thrilling video (at least as compared to this), thanks to the wonders of y...

Continue reading…

Essential System #5 – First Aid Kit

...urs for a distracted and overworked doctor. Which is why, once again, we’ve relied on the world of mountaineering to inform our choice of first aid supplies. The assumption with a first aid kit in the wilderness is that it will be quite a while before you can be reached by a paramedic. But first some disclaimers – we are not medical experts here, and this first aid kit is in a “first draft” status. We welcome any suggestio...

Continue reading…

Get Off Your Ass and Plant a Survival Garden!

Tired of going to the market to buy crappy vegetables that taste out of season no matter what time of year it is? Tired of garlic from China and grapes from Chile? Why waste land, if you have it, on things you can’t eat? And why not have some fresh produce on hand in case of the inevitable zombie invasion. Now, vegetable gardening takes some practice and unfortunately very few books deal with the specifics of Los Angeles’ unique Medi...

Continue reading…

Nasturtium “Capers”

Nasturtium grows like a weed here at the SurviveLA compound. We don’t water it, though if we did we might have a larger crop. The nice thing about Nasturtium is that the entire plant is edible – both the leaves and flowers have a strong peppery flavor and the flowers brighten up the Spartan salads we chow down on in the late spring. Once you plant this stuff, at least here in Los Angeles, the thousands of seeds it produces guarantee...

Continue reading…

Kent’s Composting Tips and Secret Weapon

Today in our continuing dialog on composting, a guest post from Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition board member, Kent Strumpell who we met up with at this week’s inspiring LACBC awards gala: I’m sure there are more correct procedures, but this is what I’ve found works. I use a compost bin that has direct soil contact. I think this allows the introduction of soil organisms and serves to drain the pile if it gets too wet. I’ve done this same proc...

Continue reading…