What we can do about climate change

Climate change feels massive, however the government report issued last Friday drives home the point: we need to change in a massive way in response. In addition to changing the way we do business, the way we do agriculture, and the way we organize people (i.e. governmental response), we need to change our expectations and

Origami Seed Envelopes

Here’s how to make an instant seed envelope out of any square of paper.

If you’re a crazy seed-saving person like myself, this will come in handy. You can use any scrap of paper, grocery store receipt, newspaper, junk mail, whatever you have around at the moment. For purposes of this explanation, I’ll use a piece of printer paper with my Cityscape Seeds template printed on it.

(at the bottom of this post, you’ll find a link to download a free template)

I’m speaking at the National Heirloom Festival

In less than a month, the National Heirloom Festival will be held in Santa Rosa. Are you going? This celebration of seeds and vegetable plant diversity is lots of fun!

And this year, I will be speaking!  I’ll talk about Cityscape Seeds, the micro-scale seed enterprise that Matt VanDiepen and I have run (selling seeds at Mar Vista Farmers Market) for the past four years. And I’ll talk about Seed Saving in the City: what’s special about it, what are the advantages, and what you need to pay attention to in order to get reliable seed.

Earth Day – free Soil ebook!

In celebration of “Earth Day” weekend, you can get my Soil ebook for free! The Secrets of Soil Building – Learn how to care for the Earth (the soil) today and every day. The coupon code for the free ebook is GJ98G (not case-sensitive). The direct link is https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/566895 This special pricing is good through Friday April

Climate Rally – Feb 3

Help protect our beaches and our climate: So Cal 350 Climate Action is organizing a rally at the Santa Monica Pier on Saturday Feb 3. The rally is to stop offshore drilling. When: Saturday, 3 February 2018 10AM to 12Noon Where: Santa Monica Pier (north – or west – side), Santa Monica, CA 90401 Multiple

It’s Garden Planning Time

I know, I know, it’s the middle of the holidays. But garden catalogs are pouring through my mail slot, and that means it’s prime time for planning your cool season garden.

After the winter solstice, all those cool season veggies will flourish, and you’ll have amazing harvests. Kale. Collards. Favas. Peas. Chard. Parsley. Cilantro. The list is long and yummy!

Here are a few of the garden-planning  tools we offer — all of them customized for our Los Angeles growing conditions!

Greener Gifting

We’re sure that you — like us — have been trying to Simplify your life. Perhaps you’re simplifying because of the economy. Perhaps you’re simplifying because you’ve become aware of the burden that excess consumption is placing on our planet, and on people in third world nations.

This holiday season, we invite you to join us in this different, more meaningful approach.

Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce recipe

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, several people enjoyed my photos on Instagram of pomegranate processing. Some people begged for the recipe.

The original recipe was something my sister made up years ago, to cope with an over-abundant harvest of pomegranates. Since each of us have pomegranate trees, this Pomegranate-Cranberry Sauce has become standard in our family. And boy, is it GOOD!

It does take a bit of labor, however.

To make Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce, you have to start by processing the fresh fruit. Then you have to make the pomegranate molasses. Lastly, you make cranberry sauce.

Pomegranate molasses can be found in Middle Eastern grocery stores. It is a staple product in several cultures. Or, pomegranate molasses can be made from pomegranate juice you buy in a health food store; there are several recipes on the internet. But we homemake it from our fresh fruit.

Here’s how to DIY, for those who are still interested.

How to make thermal drapes

The heat wave this past week really got to me. We don’t have air conditioning in our home, and even if we did, it would be great to insulate our windows to reduce the load on the a/c units and power supply. That’s why I got busy yesterday on a project I’ve meant to do for quite some time: making insulated drapes.

As climate change’s weather weirdness intensifies, we’re likely to get MORE of these intense heat days. So now is the time to begin preparing your home. Plan for hotter in everything you do, from which fruit tree varieties you plant, to what drapes you choose, to installing awnings and shade sails. In the coming decades, temperatures will go up! (Here are more low-tech things you can do to prepare your home for heat)

You can buy thermal drapes online, but they’re heavy, saturated with some kind of weird plastic, and they look like a throwback to the 1970s. And they’re expensive. No thanks.

I wanted more interesting fabrics, and a lower sticker price. Luckily, there are several stores nearby which sell end-lots of upholstery-weight fabric. (A fun one is Fabric Planet on Lincoln Blvd. in L.A. They also have it at -urk- Joann’s).

The thermal drape I make is like a sandwich: decorative fabric, thermal barrier, and liner fabric.