Fall Garden

If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.” Napoleon Hill (American author, 1883-1970)

The fall garden starts to take shape. With nothing but warm temperatures and brilliant blue skies, it’s time to “make hay while the sun shines.”   I know I’ve been quoting Ms Laura Ingalls a lot … hmmmmm.

Last night two of us urban homesteaders went to a party for the publication of the book ‘Hometown Pasadena’ at a private estate in Altadena.   When one of the authors, who’s a fellow knitter, introduced us to someone, she tried to describe to them what we do. “They farm their land, grow their own food,” she said and then she stopped. “Better yet, why don’t you describe what you do,” she turned and said to me.   “Think Laura Ingalls 21st century” I said. Of those listening to my explanation of who I am and what I do, a few got it while others looked a bitpuzzled.    We get that look and expression a lot.  You mean you don’t have a job, a real job. You don’t work at an office like normal people.   What do you do again?   Can’t blame them, because if you are different, it scares them to think you are not like them stuck in the system.   You don’t even have to say anything apposing their world view, just living a simple life, being an urban eco pioneer and you are looked at as weird or even radical.

Out & About

PTF outreach continues to grow (thanks to everyone’s support)    Such important outreach takes time away from the urban homestead so it’s a blessing to be supported by generous readers who are helping us “grow the future

This Saturday evening a few members of PTF will be at showing‘Homegrown Revolution’ after a downtown LA screening of the dire peak oil classic documentary ‘End of Suburbia.’  
Unfortunately, we’ve been told that space has already been filled so we cannot announce or invite any others to attend.

Speaking of the‘Homegrown Revolution’ thanks to a kind offer from a kindred spirit living in Mexico, the piece now hasSpanish subtitles. Thank you, Sol & Samuel, for your enthusiasm and in spreading this sustainable revolution. Look for a small package in the mail to show our appreciation.

:: Field Hand Appreciation ::

Reader, PH, $150.00 donation is greatly appreciated. Thank you and our family wishes you a most blessed and bountiful harvest season.


I can say the new improved PTF website is going to have a whole section dedicated to featuring all the hundreds of comments and emails we’ve answered over these last seven years.    Well, I’ve only collected a few hundred emails so far, still have all Jordanne’s city animals questions and 2004-2001 emails to go through.   In time…

:: ATTN ::

Also, for those kind folks who are helping with the editing. I could use some help entering these new ‘Answers’ into the new format. LMK if you are able to help.  Thanks a bunch!

Q. Back in September you mentioned building a new animal building. Have I missed pictures of the finished project? – Kristie

A. Our feathered friends new digs is a regular looking shed with a door and small window. I did post a photo of the chickens(Oct 25th) using thenesting boxes in their new house.   We still have yet to build the new goat house, we have to move the bees first.

Q. What variety of lima(pole or bush) does good here in zone 10a-b, of southern California? I would like to try them next year. Ever try garbonzo’s btw? Feel a hummus dipping spree coming over me,lol. Bon Appetite :). – David

A. Thanks, David, for your question.  How’s your community plot going, got all your fall crops in yet? The pole lima beans we purchased a few years back from (I think) Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.   Ever since then, we’ve saved our own seeds so they’ve adapted to our garden/So Cal climate.   If you like a few, you could buy a handful or two from the urban homestead’s chief seed keeper … Justin.

We’ve been gardening here on the property for nearly 20 years now I do remember growing garbanzo beans one/ a few years. I’ll have to ask the resident urban farmers how well they did.   We are suckers for hummus also. Garbanzo beans are simply addictive and delicious.  Hmmm, I wonder if we still have space for a bed or two.

Q. I really enjoy your site and reading your blog. I especially like reading what you do day to day and what you eat.I am trying to avoid plastics. Do you know of alternatives for freezing food?I repackage foods into glass jars and use vintage glass containers in the fridge. What do you do? – connie

A. Thanks, Connie, for your positive comments and question.  We, too, like to avoid plastics when we can; however, I do have to admit that I when it comes to freezing food, I have committed an eco sin and for penance I will eat nothing but trombonico squash for three days….   Joking aside, one has to be careful with glass:

“Glass jars can also be used to store frozen foods, but they should not be used to store liquids. If you use glass jars, be sure to choose the wide-mouth, dual-purpose jars that are for freezing and canning. These jars are specially made to withstand freezing and boiling temperatures.The wide mouth of the jar allows easy removal of partially thawed foods and gives room for expansion during freezing. Leave at least 1 inch of headspace (the unfilled space above food or liquids in jars or freezer containers) for expansion. Also, new lids should be used each time and rinsed in cold tap water before applying to the mouth of the jar.” – National Center for Home Food Preservation

Because of lack of freezer space I do use (and re-use) plastic bags and recycled yogurt containers.   Normally, I rather preserve food by canning, fermenting or even drying but this year some days I got sooooo busy that I choose the quick & easy route – freezing.    Like in years past, we do hope to rely less and less on this modern form of preservation, opting more towards old fashioned ways of preserving food.

Q. How do you like your James Hand Washer? I’m curious how well they work. – Joyce

A. Thanks for your question, Joyce.  The handwasher is great for small, light loads like shirts, kitchen towels, undies, etc.   We’ve hooked up the drain to a garden hose which sends the used water to water our edible fruit trees.


  1. Anita says:

    We are renovating an old house that survived the tornado that destroyed 95% of our town… we are using your yard as a guide to the yard! Ours is just a bit smaller, and our city code prohibits anything in the front yard that grows over 1 foot tall, but we are planning on having as little grass as possible… and producing as much edibles as possible!
    Could you recomend some herbs or other plants that would grow under the 1 foot limit? We thought about putting vining things like cucumbers and pumpkins there are just letting them run along the ground…

  2. connie says:

    Love the pics of your back yard/growing area. Everything looks so tidy and healthy. Do you have a plat or drawing of the layout of your yard posted anywhere on the site? Keep up the great work; you are an inspiration to us all.