Q&A SESSIONS

Confessions of an Urban Homesteader

Oh! I see on your posts you’re placing blueberries out. Do you place blueberries directly in ground or in large planter? What soil & amendments are used to give em the acidic soil they love? Also am looking forward w/ curiosity to the journaled romantic liaisons of the developing goat project in coming new year. A big high 5 to you all & Keep on Urban Gardening the Planet :). David

A. Very funny. Breeding (wooing) season starts in fall, not sure how the liaisons will be arranged since the potential suitor is a little over an hour away (one of the disadvantages of living in a conglomerate city as massive as LA LA Land ). Of course they could bring the handsome devil here… we’ll see.

As for the blueberries we are putting them in pots directly into the ground. To enhance the acidity of the soil coffee grounds work well.

Oh, and thanks for the greens – the animals just love ’em.

I’m not sure if your posted this before, but would you please share your homemade w.w. flour tortillas. thanks and I really enjoy reading your journal. your my daily inspiration. – Mandi

A. Thanks for you positive comments Mandi. Sorry it took awhile, but here’s the recipe you requested.

Flour Tortillas3 cups flour (can use 1/2 white 1/2 whole wheat)1/4 tsp baking powder (works just as well without this for an unleavened bread)1/4 tsp salt2 tsp warm (not hot) waterHave a cast iron skillet on stove heated until really hot while you prepare the tortillas. Do not use oil in skillet.Mix dry ingredients above, then add warm water and mix lightly with fork. Take lightly floured hand and shape, kneading lightly, into a ball. Dough should feel soft and pliable.Form into a log shape, then cut 12 circular pieces for 12 tortillas. Lightly flour a board with cornstarch (not flour) and roll our each circular piece into a thin tortilla. Carefully place into skillet and cook. You will see the tortilla rise some. After a short time, flip the tortilla over and cook other side but for an even shorter time. Small brown specks should be forming on the cooked sides. Best eaten right away.You will never go back to store bought tortillas – ever again. Try adding some herbs (cilantro!) in the dough for variety.

I’m curious about your answer to the health insurance question. Does that mean 1) you forego check-ups and medical treatment for disease or injury altogether, or 2) if and when you need it, you will pay cash or 3) you will expect others to pay it for you (taxpayers, charities, family, or whatever)? Unless you can afford all possible medical care out of pocket, doesn’t going without health insurance make you more dependent not more self-sufficient? Ann

A. God willing, we’ll never have to but yes if it comes to it will pay for alternative/homeopathic treatments. We have been truly blessed with good health so far.

I’m wondering, have I missed the “how you grow your soil” Post?

I wonder what y’all do to prepare for the next crop and do you ever let the beds go fallow or grow a green manure? – Lee

A. Sorry, Lee, do you post a question about soil? I must have missed it. Or I could have posted it?

What was grown in the beds for the season is turned over and composted right back into the bed once the crop is done. Completing the growing cycle, by returning back to the soil what the soil gave to the plants. We have a outlines of the beds which are numbered and rotated so that the beds are growing different crops throughout the season/yearly.

Since you are taking questions, I have one for you. When you are trying to start a new plant from an existing, what kind of rooting medium/growth hormone do you use? This spring I’m going to try starting some new plants of rosemary and lavender from my extremely happy outdoor plants, but I don’t want to use the chemical stuff if I can avoid it. And it’s my understanding that starting them from seed is extremely difficult.

A. For a natural rooting method try willow bark

It’s quite simple, all you need is a bunch of willow stems, put them in water for about 24 hours. The active ingredient found in willow stems is rhizocaline, a substance which is the active ingredient in many proprietary ready-made hormone rooting powders and solutions. Then dip your cuttings into this solution.read more

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  1. bibliotecaria says:

    Thank you very much for your explanation of the rooting hormone. I’ll do my best to try it out — once I find a willow tree!

  2. David says:

    I’ll second that, quite a handy tip on the willow tree rooting tonic. Merci beau coup! My garden neighbor might have a friend w/ a tree so I can try it out w/ some cuttings. What other surprise tips you all have up your gardening sleeves? Can’t wait to read :).