How to Put Together a Small Scale Solar System

How can you use solar panels to power a few lights, run a fountain or charge some tools? It seems like a simple question, and yet I can’t tell you how many books/magazines/websites I’ve combed through in search of a basic tutorial for anything less than wiring up a whole house. Now I know how thanks to a podcast conversation between Eric of Garden Fork and Will of the Weekend Homestead. Will describes how he rigged up a few panels and batteries to power lights and charge tools in his off-grid barn. Check out the show notes for the specific parts Will used to put together his system.

119 A Chat With the Gardenerd

Christy “Garden Nerd” Wilhelmi dropped by the Root Simple compound to talk to Kelly and I about everything from loquats to bees to climate change. You can find her blog posts, podcast, YouTube at Gardenerd.com. She is the author of two books, Gardening for Geeks: DIY Tests, Gadgets, and Techniques That Utilize Microbiology, Mathematics, and Ecology to Exponentially Maximize the Yield of Your Garden and 400+ Tips for Organic Gardening Success: A Decade of Tricks, Tools, Recipes, and Resources from Gardenerd.com. During the podcast we discuss:

If you’d like to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected]. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. Closing theme music by Dr. Frankenstein. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.

118 Eric of Garden Fork on Old Houses, Queen Bees and Ramps

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On this week’s episode of the podcast Eric Rochow of Garden Fork returns to talk about the struggle of owning an old house, raising queen bees and the over harvesting of ramps. During the show Eric mentions:

If you’d like to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected]. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. Closing theme music by Dr. Frankenstein. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.

117 Raw Milk with David Gumpert

On this episode of the podcast (much delated due to home construction projects) we talk to journalist and author David Gumpert about the controversies surrounding raw milk. David was a staff reporter with The Wall Street Journal and a small business editor of the Harvard Business Review. He was also a senior editor of Inc. David is the author of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights, The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights and the Raw Milk Answer Book. You can find his blog and sign up for his newsletter at The Complete Patient. One of the things that comes up in the conversation is the dairy episode of the Netflix documentary Rotten. David posted a review of that episode on his blog.

If you’d like to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected]. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. Closing theme music by Dr. Frankenstein. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.

116 Being the Change with Peter Kalmus


On this episode of the root simple podcast Kelly and I speak with climate scientist Peter Kalmus, author of Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution. Peter was a guest on episode 39, but we thought we’d bring him back because much has changed in climate science and, spoiler, it’s pretty scary. But there’s also some hopeful things to talk about including Peter’s new book.

Peter Kalmus is an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, with a Ph.D. in physics from Columbia University. He lives in suburban Altadena, California with his wife and two children on 1/10th the fossil fuels of the average American. Peter wanted me to remind listeners that the ideas and opinions he expresses in this interview are his. Peter is not speaking on behalf of NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or the California Institute of Technology. During the podcast we discuss:

Peter’s website is beingthechangebook.com and you can interact with him on Twitter @climatehuman.

If you’d like to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected]. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. Closing theme music by Dr. Frankenstein. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.