Blueberries in a Self Watering Container


It may not be pretty but Homegrown Revolution has blueberries.

To grow blueberries in a warm climate such as Los Angeles you’ll need to choose a heat tolerant southern highbush variety. Southern highbush blueberries are hybrids that don’t require the winter chilling of their northern relatives. Blueberries also need cross pollination so they should be planted in pairs. We mail ordered two different varieties, “Oneal” and “Misty” in bare root form earlier this year from Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply.

Blueberries require an acidic soil, of the sort you’d find in a wet forest climate, so we planted them in a self watering container with a home made soil mix made up of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 wood chips and 1/3 azalea mix.

Their special soil requirements and shallow roots make blueberries an ideal plant for self watering containers. And attention apartment homesteaders–blueberries will work nicely on that south facing balcony.

It’s Official: The End is Near

Cheese doodles sandwiched by two images from a Qatar Airlines ad

Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that the price of corn has got so high due to its use for ethanol, that farmers are resorting to feeding livestock, “cookies, licorice, cheese curls, candy bars, french fries, frosted wheat cereal and peanut-butter cups.”

GARLAND, N.C.–When Alfred Smith’s hogs eat trail mix, they usually shun the Brazil nuts.

“Pigs can be picky eaters,” Mr. Smith says, scooping a handful of banana chips, yogurt-covered raisins, dried papaya and cashews from one of the 12 one-ton boxes in his shed. Generally, he says, “they like the sweet stuff.”

Mr. Smith is just happy his pigs aren’t eating him out of house and home. Growing demand for corn based ethanol, a biofuel that has surged in popularity over the past year, has pushed up the price of corn, Mr. Smith’s main feed, to near-record levels. Because feed represents farms’ biggest single cost in raising animals, farmers are serving them a lot of people food, since it can be cheaper.

Connecting the stories and ads in the WSJ is our favorite game to play in the morning over our coffee. We’re not alone in playing this game. Richard Jackson, Director of the CDC National Center for Environmental Health connected the dots with stories in the WSJ during a brilliant lecture we heard earlier this month at a public health conference (read one of Dr. Jackson’s papers on our screwed up built environment here). Jackson held up the morning’s paper and pointed out that separate stories on childhood obesity, air pollution and suburbanization are all related.

Today’s WSJ is a reminder of how this associational game increasingly paints a picture of a mad and dystopic science fiction reality. Along with the story on feeding livestock junk food, we have a story on Fermat Capital Management L.L.C., a money management firm led by a biophysicist that sells bonds, “linked to natural catastrophes, such as hurricanes”. So called “catastrophe bonds” are a method for insurance companies to ease the danger of losses on an uncertain future of global warming related natural disasters such as hurricane Katrina. On another page we find an ad for “America’s newest stars” Qatar Airway’s direct service between Washington D.C., New York and Doha. Together these stories and ads indicate a country so hooked on driving that our business and government power elites jet off to Qatar to cut deals with corrupt and homicidal oil interests while simultaneously sacrificing our agriculture to our gas tanks, all the while covering the environmental consequences with increasingly exotic financial instruments.

Madness! We fear comrades, that it’s time to prepare,.

Our Favorite Searches


Homegrown Revolution occasionally gets a laugh reviewing the search phrases that land people on this blog. At times the phrases resemble a kind of random internet haiku. We thought we’d review a few of them and respond.

“is Roundup bad for cats”

YES! Roundup, Monsanto’s ubiquitous herbicide, is bad for all living things.

“how to survive living out of your car”

We’d suggest a subscription to Dwelling Portably for answers to that.

“how to make methamphetamine using a 5 gallon bucket”

Can’t help you there, but we can suggest a healthier use for a 5 gallon bucket.

“pizza dough peak oil flour”

It may be shameless promotion, but we think we’re the only source for a pizza recipe for peak oil fans. Of course, sticklers for detail will point out that we did not grow and grind our own flour. We’ll get to how to do that soon.

injera get bad without refrigeration”

We made a very successful batch of the Ethiopian bread injera back in March without any refrigeration involved. In fact refrigeration would probably prevent it from fermenting as it’s supposed to. Comrades, it’s time to overcome your food safety paranoias!

“Accidentally flushed tampon applicator”

Our favorite search phrase, and in fact something we’ve witnessed first hand when we paid a visit to a sewage treatment plant back in February.

Flexible PVC Pipe for Greywater

Following up on an earlier post about using your washing machine’s greywater in your garden we thought we would revisit the sexy and exciting world of flexible 1″ pvc pipe and other exotic plumbing materials to be found in the isles of your local pool and spa supply shop–the unlikely go-to source for greywater revolutionaries. Flexible pvc pipe is probably the easiest way to run washing machine waste water out to your plants, just like you would with a garden hose. But garden hose could burn out your washing machine’s motor because it’s too small and has a tendency to kink up, hence the need for flexible 1″ pvc.

Another handy item from the bourgeois land of pools and spas is the swing check valve which will keep waste water from flowing back into the machine and gunking up your clean clothes. We hope graphic designers will appreciate (or perhaps not) those glowing blue drop shadows, but we digress. Apparently, this back-flow problem is not an issue with all washing machines so we’d hold off on getting one of these slightly expensive things until you know it’s an issue.

We’ve already discussed the not-safe-for work-sounding “three way diverter valve” which seems like something this business located in our neighborhood might carry (NSFW!). The tree way diverter valve, you may recall, is a way to send that greywater temporarily back to the sewer should the need arise. Another, much cheaper way to divert grewater is with a duo of two way valves. The radical Greywater Guerrillas of Oak-town show you how to do this on their fantastic website (which seems temporarily to be under construction–check back later).

So when the inevitable zombie hordes cause chaos across the land, just remember that you can scavenge hot tub parts in their wake to run your greywater system.